Ecocide

The neologism Ecocide can be used to refer to any large-scale destruction of the environment. [Random House (2006) "Unabridged Dictionary" ] An early reference in 1969 described it as "Ecocide - the murder of the environment - is everybody's business." [ Encyclopedia Science Supplement 1969 ] The term was also used in relation to environmental damage due to war such as the the use of defoliants in the Vietnam War. [Modern warfare equals environmental damage. USA Today Magazine, January 2008, Vol. 136 Issue 2752, p6-6,] Ecocide is also a term for a substance that kills enough species in an ecosystem to disrupt its structure and function. [cite book
last = Cunningham
first = W
authorlink =
coauthors = et al
title = Environmental encyclopedia
publisher = Gale
date = 1998
location = Detroit
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0-8013-9314-X
] An example would be a high concentration of pesticide due to a spillage.

Many, for example the U.S. environmental theorist and activist Patrick Hossayin Unsustainable A Primer for Global Environmental and Social Justice, Zed Books: London, 2006,see 'Ecocide' and 'Toxic Planet', pp. 22-34.] believe that the human species is committing ecocide, via industrial civilization's effects on the global environment. Much of the modern environmental movement stems from this belief as a precept. CriticsWho|date=May 2008 of the belief in ecocide usually assert that human impacts are not sufficiently serious as to threaten the Earth's ability to support complex life.

A weaker definition of ecocide is that in which an organism destroys ecosystems other than its own. (e.g. cancer). For example, it could be said that during the Precambrian era, blue-green algae committed ecocide upon the prevailing reducing-chemistry-based ecology, by releasing oxygen into the environment. Organisms to which oxygen was a poison, died off, while the algae and other organisms adapted to and created a new oxidation-chemistry-based ecology.

According to this interpretation, humankind may be committing ecocide upon various ecological systems around the world, but the 'deaths' of these minor ecosystems do not materially impact our own survival. In this view, ecocide (of rainforests, coral reefs, the polar pack ice, island habitat zones, etc.) may be regrettable aesthetically or morally but not materially and economically.

At the heart of the ecocide issue are practical and moral questions: is human activity destroying the ecological support system for our own survival (is global ecocide actually happening)?

ee also

*Ecophagy
*Ecotage
*List of environmental issues

References

Further reading

*cite book
last = Franz
first = Broswimmer
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = Ecocide: A Short History of Mass Extinction of Species
publisher = Pluto Press
date = 2002
location =
pages =
url =
doi =
id =
isbn = 0745319343


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • écocide — [ ekosid ] n. m. • 1972; de éco(logie) et cide ♦ Didact. Destruction méthodique de la flore et de la faune. écocide n. m. ECOL Destruction systématique du milieu naturel. écocide [ekɔsid] n. m. ÉTYM. 1972; de éco o …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Ecocide — Écocide Un écocide est un acte de destruction d un écosystème, notamment par l exploitation excessive de celui ci dans le but de subvenir à d autres processus ou systèmes (écophagie). Par exemple, l assèchement de la mer d Aral est due aux… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ecocide — ☆ ecocide [ē′kō sīd΄, ek′ōsīd΄ ] n. [ ECO + CIDE] the destruction of the environment or of ecosystems, as by the use of defoliants or the emission of pollutants ecocidal adj …   English World dictionary

  • Écocide — Un écocide est un acte de destruction d un écosystème, notamment par l exploitation excessive de celui ci dans le but de subvenir à d autres processus ou systèmes (écophagie). Par exemple, l assèchement de la mer d Aral est due aux prélèvements… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • ecocide — noun Etymology: eco + cide Date: 1969 the destruction of large areas of the natural environment especially as a result of deliberate human action • ecocidal adjective …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • ecocide — ecocidal, adj. /ek euh suyd , ee keuh /, n. the destruction of large areas of the natural environment by such activity as nuclear warfare, overexploitation of resources, or dumping of harmful chemicals. [1965 70, Amer.; ECO + CIDE] * * * …   Universalium

  • ecocide — noun The complete destruction of an ecosystem due to human activities. It may result from exploitation of resources, nuclear warfare or the dumping of harmful chemicals. See Also: ecophagy …   Wiktionary

  • ecocide — destruction of the environment Killing and Killers …   Phrontistery dictionary

  • ecocide — e·co·cide || iːkəʊsaɪd n. destruction of the environment …   English contemporary dictionary

  • ecocide — noun destruction of the natural environment, especially when wilfully done …   English new terms dictionary


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