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Green Criminology in International Perspectives  

Ekaterina Gladkova, Alison Hutchinson, and Tanya Wyatt

Green criminology is now an established subfield of criminology. Having emerged in the 1990s, green criminology has rapidly grown, particularly in the last 10 years. Scholarship remains rooted in the critical and radical traditions that inspired its creation and challenge the orthodoxy of most criminological scholarship. This means that research in green criminology does not stick within the confines of only what is deemed criminal by the state but also uncovers harmful and injurious behaviors, particularly of the powerful, such as states and corporations. These once-hidden harms are approached from an environmental justice perspective that exposes the injury and suffering of marginalized people and also to the environment itself (ecological justice) and to nonhumans (species justice). More recent iterations of green criminology feature culture in addition to political economic explanations of crimes and harms against the environment and other species. Both theories of green crimes criticize capitalist societies and the ongoing problems of commodification and excessive consumption. In addition, new contributions, particularly from the Global South, are challenging the hegemony of Western criminological and environmental discourses, offering new (to the West) insights into relationships with nature and with other people. These studies have the potential to shape new prevention strategies and intervention mechanisms to disrupt green crimes and harms. This is urgent as the magnitude of environmental degradation is increasing—ranging from the threat of climate change, the possible extinction of a million species in the near future, and the ubiquity of plastic pollution, to name just a few forms of environmental destruction that humans have been, and are, perpetrating against the Earth.

Article

Nonspeciesist Criminology, Wildlife Trade, and Animal Victimization  

Ragnhild Sollund

The development of green criminology is the background for nonspeciesist criminology, which is a field through which the harms of legal and illegal wildlife trade can be conceptualized. While humans to varying degrees are ascribed status as victims of crimes and harms, to a far less degree is this the case for animals and the natural world. A hierarchy is present in terms of who legitimately has the right to claim victimhood, who is ascribed victimhood, and for whom this is not accepted. Those who suffer most from abuse and exploitation may be the last to be regarded as victims, and this is consistent with them being powerless. This is the case for the animals who are victims of wildlife trade. In the field of green criminology, a critical victimology that includes animals is employed, which sees behind power structures, such as those reliant on anthropocentrism and speciesism. A critical victimology takes into consideration perspectives such as a being’s sentience and intrinsic value, relying on concepts like eco justice, species justice, and environmental justice. Within this framework, rather than regarding nonhuman animals as property, it is accepted that they suffer from human destruction of habitat, from being forced into industrialized meat production complexes and abattoirs, and wildlife trade. Different forms of wildlife trade are expanding, whether the animals are taken for the bushmeat trade, for experimental and medical use, for trophies, or as pets. While humans and nonhuman animals are similar in their ability to experience joy, social bonding and suffering, and have an interest in living unharmed, their species affiliation determines what legislation comes into play, if any. Responses to wildlife trade are largely anthropocentric, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and too weak.

Article

Environmental Crime  

Carole Gibbs and Rachel Boratto

Environmental crime is a complex and ambiguous term for several reasons. It is sometimes used as an umbrella term for crimes related to biodiversity, wildlife, animals, natural resources, hazardous waste, banned substances, and environmental quality, but scholars have also developed typologies to capture the unique dimensions of each form of environmental crime. Disagreements regarding whether to distinguish violations of environmental laws (addressed via civil prosecution or administrative actions) from environmental crimes (criminally prosecuted), and whether to also consider environmental harms (legal activities that harm the environment) or environmental risks produce further confusion. The range of offenders also complicates this concept, as individuals, groups/networks, and powerful organizations commit environmental crimes. The degree of harm created by each actor may, or may not, be equivalent. Given the complexities of this area of study, scholars have developed and/or tested a wide range of theoretical perspectives on and interventions to address environmental crime. Consistent with conceptual disagreements, these theoretical frameworks and corresponding interventions vary (arguably the most) based on whether the dependent variable is environmental crime (as defined by law), or environmental harm or risk defined using other criteria. However, multiple theoretical perspectives/interventions are also examined within research on these broad categories of environmental crime, harm, and risk. In order to capture the breadth of research on environmental crime, we narrow the focus of this article to pollution related crimes (e.g., hazardous waste, banned substances, environmental quality). In the following article, we offer further detail regarding conceptual discussions, legal complexities, types of offenders, types of crime, and research on this subset of environmental crimes.

Article

The Harms and Crimes Against Plant Species  

Esteban Morelle-Hungría and Pablo Serra-Palao

In the 21st century, the socio-environmental crisis is not limited to the quantitative analysis of the biophysical conditions on a global or sub-global scale. Individual species are directly affected by the “dynamics of the Anthropocene”: climate change, extreme weather events, deforestation, the acidification of the oceans, pollution, the use of pesticides, and many other anthropogenic pressures. All of these pressures have serious implications for individual species. Among all these affected species, this entry focuses on plant species. The Anthropocene dynamics and their associated impacts on individual plant species can be perceived at a number of different levels and with varying degrees of intensity and severity. In green criminology, the conceptual complexity of the distinction between environmental damage and crime has been widely debated, mainly due to their different politico-legal responses. For this reason, it is essential to provide an overview of environmental harms and crimes that affect plant species. To achieve this, the analysis begins with a theoretical foundation of green criminology, outlining its origins, multiple definitions and perspectives, ethical foundations, and justice frameworks. From this green criminological perspective, the scientific literature on a selected list of harms and crimes against plant species is reviewed using a holistic and interdisciplinary approach.

Article

Environmental Crime in Latin America and Southern Green Criminology  

David Rodríguez Goyes

Latin America has been the site of extensive raw material extraction ever since its colonization by Europeans in the late 15th century. Throughout this period, large-scale resource extraction and associated practices—agroindustry, deforestation, disposal of waste and dangerous substances, industrial fishing, mining, and wildlife trafficking—have been the cause of widespread environmental crime and social conflict in Latin America, harming ecosystems and human and nonhuman species. Environmental degradation has simultaneously triggered further crimes such as the establishment of illegal markets and the creation of monopolies that control natural resources. Furthermore, environmental victimization has heightened social conflict in Latin American societies. Latin American criminologists began paying attention to environmental destruction and socioenvironmental conflicts in Latin America in the 1970s, but anglophone criminologists paid little if any attention to these criminologists for at least four decades. But the recent maturation of Southern green criminology has seen an increased focus of criminological research on environmental crime in Latin America. Latin American criminologists have exposed instances of primary, secondary, and tertiary green crimes in Latin America, and by so doing they have added depth to the formulations of anglophone green criminologists. Southern green criminology is concerned with the sociocriminological study of environmental crime in the Global South, while being attentive to (a) the legacy of colonization and North–South and core–periphery divides in the production of environmental crime, (b) the epistemological contributions of the marginalized, impoverished, and oppressed, and (c) the particularities of the contexts of the Global South. Southern green criminologists are currently producing innovative academic knowledge about the causes of, consequences of, and potential responses to environmental crime in Latin America.

Article

Habitat Loss  

Mònica Pons-Hernández

Habitat loss refers to the disappearance of natural environments that house specific plant and animal species. Habitat loss encompass three main types: habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation. Habitat destruction involves extensive devastation of natural environments, habitat degradation results from the depletion of vital resources like water and food, and habitat fragmentation refers to the conversion of large wild areas into smaller ones. All forms of habitat loss are endangering species’ survival. Primarily driven by human activities, the loss of habitat adversely affects terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Land conversion for agriculture, mining, and urban development leads to the loss of forests and other habitats. Aquatic environments also suffer habitat loss caused by dredging, pollution, or waste. Moreover, climate change, a consequence of global warming, further intensifies habitat loss. Droughts, floods, wildfires, and changing water conditions impact both terrestrial and aquatic habitats. Although the link between habitat destruction and criminology may not be immediately apparent, its harmful effects make it of interest to criminologists. Green criminology’s focus on harms, along with crimes and the impacts of these harms toward all species and environments, makes habitat loss of key interest for criminology. Habitat loss falls under the scope of green criminology because of its effects on ecosystems, humans, and nonhuman species. It is important to note that habitat and biodiversity loss are deeply intertwined. The case of the European eel illustrates the (slow) violence linked to habitat loss and its effects on biodiversity. European eels face multiple threats due to habitat destruction, fragmentation, and degradation. The construction of weirs and dams is one of the major factors that negatively impacts eels. It restricts their movement and blocks both upstream and downstream migration routes, destroying and fragmenting their habitat. As a migratory species, freedom of movement is crucial for their survival, making the presence of these barriers a significant concern. Additionally, global warming and ocean modifications further degrade eels’ habitats, affecting the survival of larvae during their drift and silver (adult) eels during their spawning migration. Furthermore, the introduction of nonnative species and the increasing contamination levels in eel habitats also contribute to their degradation, posing another danger to the species’ survival. Overall, European eels are a landmark opportunity to highlight the diverse range of causes of habitat loss and the (slow) violence ingrained in it.