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Emanuel Kreike (Professor of History; Acting Director, African Studies, Princeton University)
Princeton University historian Emanuel Kreike considered the history of environmental degradation in the context of mass violence in his talk, “Environcide: Environmental Warfare as a Crime against Humanity and Nature” (21 October 2021). In examining the impact of conventional war on society and the environment, he distinguished between crimes against culture and those against nature. While international crimes against civilians are the subject of human rights law, with genocide at the apex, environmental warfare belongs to a separate realm of law that has never been prosecuted successfully although current initiatives are underway to have ecocide and wartime environmental destruction recognized as crimes against humanity. Kreike proposed the term environcide to describe the destruction of environmental infrastructure, which he defined as neither solely a gift from nature nor a human artifact but occupying a middle ground between nature and culture.