chapter  3
15 Pages

The ordinary acts that contribute to ecocide: A criminological analysis

WithRobert Agnew

Mainstream criminologists focus on the explanation of “street crimes,” such as assault, robbery, and larceny. But as green and other criminologists point out, there are a range of additional behaviors that also cause much harm, often far more serious than that caused by street crimes (e.g., Beirne and South 2007; Gibbs et al. 2010). This chapter focuses on the explanation of one such set of behaviors, the ordinary acts that contribute to ecocide – or the contamination and destruction of the natural environment in ways that reduce its ability to support life (South 2009: 41). These ordinary acts have several characteristics: they are widely and regularly performed by individuals as part of their routine activities; they are generally viewed as acceptable, even desirable; and they collectively have a substantial impact on environmental problems.