Clarkson on trial

Berita / Statement / Press Release
Dikirim oleh Dago pada 01 Agt 2007 - 06:12 PM

Clarkson on trial

We need an international environmental court - so that we can prosecute the Top Gear presenter for crimes against the planet.

I have a dream. I dream of putting Jeremy Clarkson on trial for crimes against the planet. A dream to make me sway a little less on my cycle, as I risk death on the roads when yet another SUV driven at speed misses me by millimetres.

The Botswana incident, where the Top Gear team drove over ecologically sensitive salt pans, is just one publicised example of why we need a global framework for environmental law. Mr Clarkson would certainly have to consider pleas, I think, if up on a charge of causing criminal damage to the environment.

While crimes against human rights can be tried before international courts, a global environmental court, staffed by a crack team of ecologists, could do more for sustainability than a billion songs by Sting, whose wife Trudie Styler incidentally thinks that it is green
to take an 80-mile round trip by helicopter to meet Zac Goldsmith.

If we are serious about climate change, such a court is surely inevitable. The Kyoto protocols, to the extent that they work at all, can only function if countries and corporations that defraud the planet by using more carbon dioxide than they have signed up to use face serious legal consequences.

Every day we hear a barrage of green sentiment, but action is not always forthcoming. Why, for instance, was Benny Wenda from the Free West Papua movement not on the stage at Live Earth? Perhaps it was simply too embarrassing to point out that the Indonesian government is decimating the rainforests of West Papua, which it invaded in the 1970s with the aid of British and American weapons.

Rainforests are carbon sinks. For every acre chopped down to make way for mining or palm oil plantations, our ability to deal with climate change diminishes. A strong international legal framework for the environment, backed by green police, would do wonders for the planet.

There are already movements to legally protect species like the great apes, essentially giving them human rights, and a petition is being assembled for an "international declaration of reef rights" to prevent bleaching, over-fishing and pollution of coral. In 1972, a US law expert, Professor Christopher Stone, put forward the idea of giving legal rights to other species in his book Should Trees Have Standing?

Top Gear's assault on the salt pans could provide a test case. I am sure that a good barrister representing the world's tigers might relish the opportunity to cross-examine Jeremy Clarkson over his article, Stuff the tiger - long live extinction, which amounts to incitement to "manslaughter", if not murder, of big cats, in my view.

As well as bodies such as the UK Environmental Law Association, there is the impressively named Center for Earth Jurisprudence. But implementation is the thing. Famously, from the creation of British anti-pollution laws, the Alkali Acts in the 19th century, up to the 1970s, there have been only two or three successful prosecutions. So an international environmental court would need teeth, and a team of inspectors.

There would be obvious problems if the court was established in the US - home not only of Al Gore, but also of the Ford motor company. On the other hand, a spell in a downtown New Jersey jail might allow even the notoriously unreflective Mr Clarkson time to consider the beauty of the salt pan and the majesty of orangutans.

Equally, rather than fly Jezza across the Atlantic, why not try him at Heathrow and rebuild Feltham Young Offender Institution as a prison for eco-criminals? That really would save some CO2 and make cyclists like me feel safer on the roads.


Artikel ini dari KOMUNITAS PAPUA

URL untuk berita ini adalah: