Crimes against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment

Crimes against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment

Crimes against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment

Crimes against Nature: Illegal Industries and the Global Environment

Synopsis

The alarming consequences of eco-crime go far beyond the widespread degradation of the natural world; important societal institutions are undermined and negative social and economic impacts also result from garbage trafficking, wildlife trafficking, illegal fishing, and illegal logging. In order to successfully combat these problems, a consistent, international response will be necessary. Crimes Against Nature addresses an important topic that is largely unknown and rarely documented other than in reports published by environmental NGOs and a limited number of academic articles and journalistic accounts. A comprehensive and up-to-date description of each illicit industry is provided, emphasizing the damage caused, the transnational nature of these activities, the roles played by organized crime and public and private elites, and the range of possible solutions. The author addresses the complexity of balancing human concerns with environmental interests and concludes with information regarding promising recent developments.

Excerpt

Perhaps the greatest challenge of the twenty-first century will be balancing human consumption and needs with the sound stewardship of our physical environment. Fortunately, human prosperity and environmental health are not mutually exclusive. The application of private capital, the production of wealth, the advancement of the human condition, and environmental protection are objectives that can and should be pursued with equal vigor, especially as they are endeavors that complement each other. Yet the impediments to attaining these objectives are legion. Identifying and establishing the proper balance will be difficult, and subject to ideological arguments and political fights over definitions of economic, social, and environmental justice. Moreover, population growth, rapid technological advances, the dynamics of global politics, and the liberalization of trade will continue to exacerbate the difficulties in realizing the correct formula for human and environmental advancement. This arduous task is made even more problematic by unscrupulous private elites and corrupt public officials who exploit consumer demand and misapply capital in a manner that depletes natural resources with little regard for sustainability. Subsequent overconsumption unnecessarily drains the natural world of species and materials, and wrecks social, economic, and environmental havoc.

The goal of this book is not to identify or define in precise terms the proper balance between human and environmental concerns, but to describe and analyze illicit and quasi-licit behaviors that confound the search for that balance. Crimes that negatively impact the environment may be categorized in one of two ways: those that cater to the evergrowing problem of garbage production, especially hazardous wastes; and the illegal harvesting or extraction of natural resources. Human . . .

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