Green Crime and State Crime

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  • Created by: Gabzay
  • Created on: 22-03-14 15:02

Green crime

  • Crimes and/or harms done to the environment, including to non-human animals
  • Linked to globalisation - global threats to ecosystem e.g. air pollution from industry in one country can turn into acid rain that falls in another, poisoning watercourses and sedtroying its forests
  • (1) 'Global risk society' and the environment
  • Risks are on a global scale so Beck describes late modern society as 'global risk society'
  • Beck - most threats to humans and eco-systems are human-made rather than natural disasters
  • In late modern society, increase in productivity and technology has created new, 'manufactured risks' which involves both harm to the environment and have serious consequences for humanity e.g. climate change
  • (2) Green criminology
  • Traditional criminology - only studies the patterns and causes of law-breaking so if pollution is legal, TC is not concerned with green crime
  • Situ and Emmons - define environmental crime as 'an unauthroised act of omission that violates the law' which is good because it has a clearly defined subject matter but is criticised for accepting official  definitions
  • Green criminology - transgressive criminology because it oversteps the boundaries of TC to include the worst environmental harms which are not illegal
  • (3) Two views of harm
  • Nation states and TNCs apply an anthropocentric (human-centred) view of environmental harm that sees humans as dominant to nature and puts economic growth before the environment
  • Green criminology takes an ecocentric that sees humans and their environment as interdependent, so that environmental harm hurts humans also
  • (4) Types of green crime
  • Primary green crimes - result directly from the destruction and degradation of the earth's resoucres
  • South - four main primary crimes: air pollution, deforestation, species decline and water pollution
  • Secondary green crimes - the flouting of rules aimed at preventing or regulating environmental disasters e.g. state violence against oppositional groups such as the French secret service blowing up the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior which aimed to prevent against French nuclear tests in the Pacific
  • (5) Toxic waste dumping
  • Legal disposal of toxic industrial waste is expensive so businesses dispose of it by using 'eco-mafias' who profit from illegal dumping
  • Illegal waste dumping is often globalised: Western busineses ship their waste for processing in Third World countries where costs are lower and safety standards often non-existent
  • In developing countries, they may lack the necessary legislation to outlaw dumping


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