This episode introduces us to someone who is taking an intriguingly novel approach to tackling Climate Change. Louise works for Stop Ecocide International, an organisation which is attempting to criminalise “mass destruction to ecosystems” at the International Criminal Court.
Louise’s love for nature came at an early age when she spent time rock-climbing and kayaking with her father. Her father also instilled in her a sense of global awareness and responsibility. For example, he insisted that she always ate her food, even though full, because “every 5 seconds a child dies of hunger on earth”.
In adulthood, Louise travelled to Canada to find out more about what was happening in other parts of the world. She spent time with the indigenous communities there and observed their artistic and cultural practices. She learnt that, for indigenous people, land was extremely important: “they have a strong sense of belonging to the land, it informs their cultures in so many ways”.
Later that year, Louise was in Berlin when she heard the news that a pipeline was in the process of being built in North Dakota in the United States. The proposed pipeline would run across the Missouri River and would directly impact many of the native tribes who still lived in that region as it would threaten their water supplies. In this issue, Louise saw the opportunity of combining her interests in indigenous rights and climate justice and she decided to become part of a campaign to protest against the pipeline.
She protested outside of the US Embassy in Berlin and a sizeable crowd came to join her. “We used the slogan Water is Life to emphasise the importance of having access to clean water… Europeans take this for granted but as soon as it’s threatened, we take this seriously.” Louise and the protestors were clearly able to have an impact as one of the two major German banks which had been planning to fund the project withdrew their support following two weeks of protests. President Obama would also later abandon the project. Naturally, Louise and the protestors were initially elated as a result of their success. But the following Trump administration would unfortunately reverse course and the pipeline was eventually built.
This has not deterred Louise, however. Stop Ecocide was started in 2017 and it has since focused on directly impacting national and international legislation. The organisation defines ecocide as “Unlawful or wanton acts committed with knowledge where there is a substantial likelihood of severe and either widespread or long term damage to the environment being caused by those acts”. Countries such as Belgium have already included this in their penal code. The next step is to make this law applicable globally.
Describing what motivates her, Louise says “I’m passionate about justice… I want to make the world a better place for everyone and all species on earth. I’ve been blessed with an able body and bright brain, so I want to make the most of these gifts.” Such gifts Louise chooses to bestoy for the benefit of the planet that we all must safeguard for the sake of our future.