Episode 36

Jojo Mehta: Stop Ecocide


August 12th, 2020

1 hr 4 mins 52 secs

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About this Episode

If damaging our environment were made an actual crime at the international level, then corporations, private interest groups, and individuals could be held accountable. We would therefore drastically reduce the incidence of mass damage and destruction of ecosystems that is currently taking place globally. Jojo calls this harm ecocide and right now, in most of the world, it is legally permitted. But it’s possible to change the rules and it’s high time we did. Listen in as Jojo and I talk about her work to make the destruction and plundering of nature an international crime at the International Criminal Court.

With degrees from Oxford and London Universities and a background in communication, entrepreneurship, and on-the-ground environmental activism, Jojo Mehta has a unique reputation for “getting things done,” and likes nothing better than working to unusual parameters. She is a natural leader as well as a compelling public speaker and advocate. Alongside barrister and legal pioneer the late Polly Higgins, Jojo co-founded the Stop Ecocide campaign in 2017 to support the establishment of ecocide as a crime at the International Criminal Court. Since Polly’s death in 2019 she has co-ordinated the growing international team engaged in this highly focused mission and is Chair of the Board of the Stop Ecocide Foundation in the Netherlands, which now manages the campaign. Jojo is a key spokeswoman for Stop Ecocide and has contributed to law conferences, environmental summits, festivals, and climate rallies as well as podcasts, interviews, and articles for publications and broadcasters ranging from Extinction Rebellion to the BBC World Service and from the Ecologist to the New York Times.

Show Notes:

  • Jojo's team works with international criminal lawyers, researchers, and diplomats to amend International Criminal Law.
  • Greta Thunberg was awarded the first Gulbenkian Prize for Humanity and donates €100K to the Stop Ecocide Foundation.
  • ECOCIDE, committed over decades, has created the climate and ecological emergency that we now face.
  • The biggest combined threat to biodiversity and climate on the planet is deforestation, especially of tropical rainforests that harbor the richest ecosystems and actively moderate the global climate.
  • Jojo first recognized her personal desire to get involved at a deeper level when she realized that even her 5-year-old daughter could feel the devastating impact of pollution, deforestation, and fracking. She decided to get involved in a deeper way, which led to meeting Polly Higgins.
  • Climate and ecological emergency is the result of many years of these harmful industrial activities. Most of the risks have been known for decades by the companies choosing to continue these practices. The responsibility lies with decisions made at the top of industry, finance, and government.
  • As citizens, we can and must take responsibility for what we eat and buy, but ordinary citizens do not make those high-level investment and policy decisions. Ordinary citizens cannot, therefore, be blamed for ecocide.

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