Green criminology

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  • Created by: Lucy123x
  • Created on: 02-06-16 10:07

what is green crime?

  • takes harm as its central concept 
  • refers to harm done to non human animals 
  • eg illegal dumping of toxic waste, destruction of rainforest 
  • radical because interested in cause and consequences of harm, even when legal 
  • just as concerned with harm to plants and animals aswell as humans 


  • anthropocentric view- human centred, right to put economic growth before enviroment  
  • ecocentric view- enviromental harm hurts humans too 

Traditional criminology

  • only studies patterns and causes of law breaking 
  • many of worst environment harms are legal, so green criminology focus is much wider becuase of the interest in 'harm'
  • eg they ship e-waste to developing world and dump it becuase the country often lacks the legal legislation for it and safety standards are non existent 
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globalisation and green crime

Globalisation- refers to increasing interconnectedness of societies, what happens in one area can shaped by distant events and vice versa 

green crime global crime because

  • TNCs operate globally, so impact on environment can be global
  • carried out by powerful interests, eg Oil and Chemical TNCs working with coorporation of nation states and powerful elites 
  • eco-centric view sees humans and the environment as interdependent so hurting environment hurts humans too
  • single eco system, all things are interconnected and interdependent, harm to ocean, air, water means reduced quality of human life wherever in the world 
  • EG Cherenobyl 1986 nuclear reactor disaster, spread thousands of miles across europe leading to ban on sheep farming in some areas of Britian. 
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  • this approach sees starting point as laws regarding environment concentrate on the violations of them 
  • they state 'environmental crime is an unauthorised act that violates law'
  • the say there are national and international laws and regs that lay down limits of harm
  • in this tradition, can document and explore the reasons for breaches of law, like traditional criminology approaches law breaking 
  • therefore Bhopal disaster explained using this approach is that its te failure of the US company to ensure correct maintenance was carried out. 
  • Greed and efficiency, the explanantion uses broad approach used by those to explain WCC
  • BRAITHWAITE & DRAHOS criticise the approach for ignoring ability of powerful groups to frame law in a way that benefits them and their interests 
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CHUNN et al (2003)

  • green criminology is more radical because it looks at notion of harm, not criminal law
  • laws differ state to state, no consistent global standard 
  • harm should be what has a 'negative environmental impact' even if labelled legal 
  • Chunns writings are simialr to Marxist writers because they see law as reflecting the interests of the poweful groups in world/society, having th ability to label certain types of activities 
  • green crimo's see large TNCs closely involved with influencing what is regarded as legal 
  • SO TNCs and nation states use this influence to decide how to to define environmental law 
  • therefore exlanation of Bhopal disaster is that TNC decision to locate dangerous chemical plant in country with cheap labour and little law enforcement regarding worker safety 
  • located where poor people lived, where cheap labor can be obtained and where little likelihood of oppositon to situation of plant 
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  • late modern society- tech created new 'manufactured' risks 
  • many involve harm to environment so consequences for humanity 
  • risks are increasingly on global scale 
  • technological advances solved the issue of scarcity, not enough resources   
  • but outcome of production of goods and services has been massive damage to environment, new forms of danger/risks not seen before 
  • eg nucleur energy generated power output yet faced with threat of malfunctioning (Cherenobly)
  • Beck argues risks are now different used to be outcomes of natural processes, now manufactured by humanity 
  • Beck argues failure to grasp true causes, 'loss of sociological thinking' most thinking about environmental risk is characterised by a 'lack of social thinking'
  • not TNCs fault but lack of green studies in sociology  
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NIGEL SOUTH(1998) : explanations of green crime

Primary green crimes 

  • result directly from destruction and degradation of earths resources
  • eg air pollution, deforestation, species decline and water pollution
  • all above are currently legal, south believe with amount of harm the cause, should be included under traditional criminology 

Secondary green crimes 

  • floating of rules aimed a preventing or regulating environmental disasters 
  • South say inclde hazadous waste and orginised crime, state violance against oppositional groups 
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Transgressive criminology

green criminology is transgressive

it oversteps the boundaries of traditional criminology including new issues

green criminology it critisized for making subjective value judgements about what is wrong 

debate within society asto whether criminology is too narrow 

we now look at why some break the law and others dont and who and why laws are made so

now surely issues of harm should be explained more fully 

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