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May 15, 2018 / C H Thompson

Green crime – revision notes with evaluative points

Defining green crime

Green criminologists have devoted most of their attention identifying different types of environmental harm. This is because, unlike other perspectives of crime eg Marxist, White argues green crime has no supporting theory – ‘there is no green criminology theory as such’, White (2008: 14) just green perspective focusing on environmental harm.

White identified two views of environmental ‘harm’:

  • Anthropocentric -> this is a harm centred view of environmental harm. It argues that humans have the right to dominate nature for their own ends and put economic growth before the environment.
  • Ecocentric -> humans and their environment is interdependent, so environmental harm hurts humans too.

White, 2008, goes on to say, capitalist ideology is responsible for a large amount of environmental harm.

South identified two types of green crime:

Primary green crime ->

  • these are crimes that result directly from the destruction and degradation of the earth’s resources,
  • and inflict harm on people because of damage to the environment .g. air pollution, deforestation, water pollution, crimes of species decline and animal rights.

Secondary green crime ->

  • Secondary, or “symbiotic green crime is crime that grows out of the flouting of rules that seek to regulate environmental disasters” (Carrabine et al. 2004: 318). South provides two examples of secondary crime.
  1. State violence against oppositional groups’, such as when the French government bombed the Greenpeace ship ‘Rainbow Warrior’ to prevent its anti-nuclear campaigning activities.
  2. Their second example is ‘hazardous waste and organised crime’, such as when Mafia-esque organised crime outfits help corporations side-step strict laws about pollution and disposal of hazardous waste by accepting money to take such waste away – no questions asked.
  3. An example is the dumping of hazardous waste by Trafigura -> the company brought and disposed of toxic waste in Africa, when it could have been safely deposited of in Europe, however it would have cost more. The fumes were dumped next to a remote village and caused the 2000 residents to fall ill, farms to be abandoned, and families destroyed


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