Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood calls out politicians on the ‘ecocide’ cause by placing business ahead of the planet
By Sophie Yeo
Vivienne Westwood has blamed “pathetic” politicians for ruining the planet, and backs a law to make environmental destruction a crime.
Speaking at an event on a former Royal Navy warship in the Thames, the British fashion designer delivered a stinging critique of the UK’s mainstream political parties, which she said are “all the same” in putting business ahead of the planet.
“What’s good for the planet is good for the economy, what’s bad for the planet is bad for the economy. As soon as you start to put those things into practise you get different values, a fairer system of politics, everything,” she said.
Westwood spoke in support of the End Ecocide campaign, which needs to collect a million signatures by Tuesday in order for the proposal to be formally considered by the European Parliament. The petition, spearheaded by Prisca Merz, has currently collected around 100,000 signatures.
Following on from an idea introduced to the United Nations by environmental lawyer Polly Higgins, the campaign aims to get the European Union to recognise ecocide as a fifth international Crime against Peace.
The proposed Ecocide Act would outlaw “extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been severely diminished; and or peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of another territory has been severely diminished.”
Westwood highlighted the technique of drilling for shale gas, also called fracking, as an example of the kind of environmental destruction that the new law would ban.
The designer was present at the anti-fracking protests that took place in Balcombe last summer, alongside Brighton’s Green Party MP, Caroline Lucas.
The fashion icon accused David Cameron of “bribes” with his latest scheme to roll out fracking through allowing councils to keep 100% of the business rates generated by the industry.
She also spoke out against the development of the tar sands in Alberta, Canada – a highly polluting source of energy, which has interrupted the lives of the country’s First Nations people.
“Once government stops giving assets to companies and corporations, then the world will really change,” she said.
“It wouldn’t be that money goes to only a few people. This is the stupid formula that the world is locked into – that every politician supports business. It’s called the trickledown theory, it’s supposed to help everybody and it’s becoming more and more obvious that this is absolutely not true.”
“Politicians are locked into this age-old thing where they’re destroying the earth and they think it’s the best thing because they’re not thinking. They’re all stuck in the box, and I’m afraid our earth is round and alive and they can’t keep doing it.”
Westwood reserved particular vitriol for opposition Labour leader Ed Miliband, whom she called a “pathetic creature”for not speaking out against fracking in the UK.
Labour supports drilling for shale gas as long as questions over safety and environmental safeguards are addressed.
Westwood added that at the next election she plans to vote for the Green Party. “For me that is my only choice,” she said. “It’s not a wasted vote.”
With under a week left to collect 900,000 signatures on the petition, the End Ecocide campaign is unlikely to succeed in reaching the European Parliament, but Merz says that the campaign won’t stop there, and that they will continue to pressure the EU through alternative routes.