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“The Rights of Nature and the Crime of Ecocide” Philippe Sands and Jonathan Bate in Conversation  

Does nature have rights? Should there be a crime of ecocide, environmental destruction, to set beside genocide and crimes against humanity in international law?  

Time: Thu 2022-10-13 16.30

Location: Digital and the Science Gallery, Great Maze Pond, London (opposite the Shard). 

Video link:

Language: English

Participating: Philippe Sands and Jonathan Bate

Few questions could be more important in our age of cataclysmic climate change and biodiversity loss. In this lecture, Professor Sir Jonathan Bate will trace the history of the idea of “the rights of nature” back to the revolutionary period of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and Professor Philippe Sands QC will explain the work of the international panel of legal experts, which he co-chaired, to develop a legal definition of ecocide.

The lecture is organised by King’s College London Faculty of Arts & Humanities and Arizona State University (ASU), generously supported by the Aurora Trust and the Tedworth Charitable Trust. It marks the beginning of a major collaboration between King’s and ASU in the field of Environmental Humanities.  

Professor Philippe Sands, QC is professor of international law at University College London. He appears as counsel and advocate before many international courts and tribunals, and is the author of many books on international law, including Principles of International Environmental Law (CUP, 4th ed., 2018, with Jacqueline Peel). His other books include East West Street (2016, Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction), The Ratline (2020) and, recently, The Last Colony: A Tale of Exile, Justice and Britain’s Colonial Legacy (2022). He serves as President of English PEN. 

Sir Jonathan Bate, FBA is Foundation Professor of Environmental Humanities at Arizona State University and a Senior Research Fellow in English Literature at Oxford University, where he was formerly Provost of Worcester College. The author of twenty books,several of which have won major prizes, he is a world-renowned expert on Shakespeare, the Romantic movement and, notably in The Song of the Earth (2000) and Radical Wordsworth (2020), ecological approaches to the arts and humanities. Knighted by the Queen for his services to literary scholarship, his most recent book is a memoir called Mad about Shakespeare

Belongs to: Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment
Last changed: Oct 20, 2022