Vivienne Westwood: Business playing giant game of monopoly with world’s resources

UK fashion designer Vivienne Westwood has criticised business leaders and politicians for large-scale environmental damage, which she says is the result of an "exaggerated focus on profits rather than nature".

Calling for a new law that holds decision-makers in business and government accountable for their role in environmental disasters, Westwood says “Our financial rulers and the politicians who help them are playing a giant game of Monopoly with the world’s finite resources – completely abstract from reality – even though they accept the facts of Climate Change.

“And yet, you can’t play Monopoly when everybody’s dead. They imagine they’ll be the last people. They don’t care so long as they win,” added Westwood.

Westwood is backing environmental campaign End Ecocide in Europe, which is calling for severe cases of environmental destruction to be recognised as crime for which “those responsible can be held accountable”.

The group states: “Today, we live in a world where the “widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment” (Art 8.2 Rome Statute) is a war crime but corporates are free to destroy the earth without facing any legal consequences during peace time. It’s time to update the law and end this paradox”.

According to the campaign, environmental damage often remains unpunished or fines are negligible in comparison to the resulting profits, and are not a large enough deterrent to “dangerous industrial activity”.

Stated on its campaign site, the group writes: “CEOs don’t care about money but they care about their freedom. Companies do not want to be involved in anything illegal. That’s why the group requests a criminal liability for those responsible for ecocide”.

The group is aiming to achieve this through the European Citizens Initiative (ETI), which gives EU citizens the ability to propose new laws. To have a law considered by the EU, one million EU citizens must vote.

However, putting the law of ecocide forward the campaign has received 100,000 votes with the deadline to achieve the target being January 21st.

End Ecocide in Europe director Prisca Merz said: “With this law, we want to shift the consciousness.

“By making their destruction a crime, we recognise the intrinsic value of ecosystems for human and non-human life on earth. We cannot survive without a healthy environment. European citizens understand that immediately and there are many people out there who would vote for this law but haven’t heard about it yet”.

Leigh Stringer

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