Book Reviews: Eco-Global Crimes: Contemporary Problems and Future Challenges


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Keywords: eco-crimes, green criminology, environmental crime, animal rights, eco-global criminology and transboundary ecological damage

The rapid and accelerating global deterioration in ecosystem health revealed by surveys such as the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment presents a serious threat to the well-being of humanity and of many other species with which it shares planet Earth. A wide range of academic disciplines from the natural and social sciences have vital contributions to make to the interdisciplinary examination of how this perilous situation can be addressed. In this regard, a goal of this edited collection of chapters (written pre-dominantly by Scandinavian academics) is to introduce a criminological perspective to discourses on the nature and possible resolution of problems associated with ecological harm, and, in doing so, to build knowledge within the field of green criminology by using empirical studies and theoretical discussions to challenge conventional notions of environmental crime. In particular, it aims (hence the title) to further define the parameters of the emerging concept of eco-global criminology, a progression from green criminology that concentrates on the analysis of transboundary ecological damage and the questions of justice that this raises. Key objectives of the book are to direct attention towards actions and situations that could be regarded as eco-global crimes, and to consider whether, and, if so, how the bounds of criminology and understandings of crime should be expanded to encompass them.

The book is divided into three parts, the contents of which seek to capture what is described in Chapter 1 as the 'multivariate character of problems relating to eco-global crimes'. Part 1, following an introductory chapter, provides a theoretical account of eco-global criminology as a distinct area of criminological study-White, the originator of the concept, provides a foundation for the collection in Chapter 2 by denning the subject matter of this new field, and emphasising its concern with conceptualising environmental harm of an ecological and global nature and the types of justice (environmental, ecological and species) that this engages. Larsen further defines eco-global criminology in Chapter 3 by arguing that this terminology better captures the frequently antagonistic interplay between the natural world and human cultures than green criminology. Her chapter goes on to explore some areas that require further devel-opment for a common understanding of what would constitute environmental crime within an eco-global criminology framework. It also presents a basis for classifying environmental harms as instances of eco-genocide. Ystehede concludes Part 1 with a chapter that traces the historical and theoretical roots of eco-global criminology.

The six chapters of Part 2 collectively examine human relations with non-human animals and the related debate concerning animal rights. Chapter 5 discusses the emergence of the animal rights movement and of the concept of speciesism in the 1970s (humanity's understanding of itself as a species apart from all others and the justification that it believes this provides for treating animals as objects) with a particular focus on Animal Liberation, Peter Singer's pioneering book of 1975. The following chapters consider why the use and abuse of animals remains common and publicly acceptable despite the enormous influence of Singer's work, with each of them suggesting that speciesism continues to be the default position in human animal relations. In Chapter 6, Sollund argues that this is partly because of Singer's argument that animals should be accorded similar rights to humans because they are anthropocentri-cally similar instead of valuing them because of their different interests and capacities. In Chapters 7 and 8, Svard and Riise respectively argue that both entrenched conceptions of animal abuse as an abnormal activity perpetrated by a very small minority in civilised societies and of animal exploitation as an unavoidable consequence of human animal relations serve to legitimise ill-treatment. Chapters 9 and 10 argue that the status quo is further consolidated by the association of animal rights activists with criminality under the strong influence of publicity from those with corporate interests in the exploitation of animals for profit and the protection of those interests under criminal justice systems.

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