An important message from Mission Life Force, a campaign to realign the law ‘to protect the earth and all who stand for her – a growing movement to help fund a law to make ECOCIDE an international crime – safeguarding our landscapes and communities for future generations and to empower small, climate-vulnerable States who have the incentive – and the ability – to amend international law (but not the funds).’
Here’s a story – a true story – of a small act that nonetheless could have potentially long-term consequences for the law.
Dr. Peter Whittick, rather unexpectedly, found himself one night with a dilemma. Having pulled into a service station, he noticed a drill rig parked up. Now, these rigs are very unusual – they are used to drill deep into the ground for extractive purposes – and this particular one was renowned for being used for fracking in the UK. Dr. Whittick, an academic, recognised it – and could not square it with his conscience to pass on by: he knew what it was and what it was about to be used for.
And, he knew the consequences of fracking. Moreover, he knew that to attempt to do something to bring it to the public’s attention could result in him being arrested as a criminal. And yet, he wanted to protect the public from the harm that this machinery contributes to – a potential looming ecocide, an ecological and a climate crime.
Peter listened to his conscience. At 3.30 in the morning, just before the rig was to be driven off, he climbed the rig and contacted the press. 10 hours later he climbed off the rig and was arrested. You can watch the BBC report here.
Yesterday a District Judge found him guilty. But of what precisely? Of being a Conscientious Protector. He, and others who have the courage to take action to prevent a more serious harm are being criminalised for their actions. Yet the company causing the serious harm is protected in law.
This is the plight of many activists: to stand up to prevent a more serious harm is to be at risk of being convicted whilst the perpetrators of the harm go free. The scales of justice are broken. And this is where we can help: by supporting the protectors.
Standing for Peace: Conscientious Objectors
It’s been done before: Quakers were once criminalised for asserting their conscientious objections to war. Many were sent to prison for their beliefs. Likewise throughout history whenever there has been an injustice, individuals and communities have acted on their conscience to either object or prevent: the abolitionists who stood up against slavery, all who stood with Ghandi, the Protestant reformation, the anti-apartheid movement, women’s suffrage, the American civil rights movement and many more throughout the world.
In World War II, the UK granted conscientious-objection status to pacifists and to all who objected to fighting in WW2. The freedom to assert your conscience was enshrined in law as a universal right. After WW2, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights codified the Freedom of Religion, Conscience or Belief (Article 18). No longer is a conscientious objector imprisoned for refusing to fight at war.
Standing for the Earth: Conscientious Protectors
The challenge we face today is no less: today conscientious protectors are criminalised for protecting the Earth from serious harm. We know this can change.
History shows that when norms are challenged, law at some point must change. Just as generations of reformers and grassroots movements challenged the status quo before us, so too do Conscientious Protectors of the 21st century who stand up to protect our Earth.
We stand for ecological and climate justice – can you help us?
Our team here at the Base have been assisting Peter and other Conscientious Protectors who are willing to stand in conscience in court. And now we want to go to the next stage – by his and other cases going to appeal, we know that their right to freedom of conscience can be heard at the Crown Court (and if need be, at a higher court level). We believe that there is missing law – and by bringing to the fore in criminal courts the right to Freedom of Conscience we can seek justice from higher courts. Will you help us do that?
We seek to cover our core costs, as this work is not covered by Earth Protector Trust Fund monies (which are for the exclusive purpose of forwarding a law of ecocide at the international level), so that our work can continue. Our work with Conscientious Protectors plays a key part in making visible to the judiciary the role of conscience in protecting the Earth, and making visible the harm (ecocide) that can be prevented by acts of conscience.
If you are inspired to help us, please do – you can help fund our core costs by donating via Paypal at the Team page of the Mission LifeForce website, by gifting cryptocurrency or by direct transfer to our non-profit, Ecological Defence Integrity.
For Paypal go to our Team page
UK – Co-operative Bank: sort code 08-92-99, account 69731705
International – IBAN: GB84CPBK08929969731705
With love and determination,
From the Mission Lifeforce Base
May the Lifeforce be with us.