Crime, Eco-Policing, and the rise of ‘Green Justice’

Mr Greg Koumouris1, Professor Reece Walters1, Dr Emma  Ryan1

1Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

This article charts a genealogy of eco-policing by examining the histories, moments and movements that have shaped different environment enforcement ideologies and models. This ‘history of the present’ will establish the ‘lines of descent’ and ascertain the extent to which they shape and inform contemporary eco policing endeavours. The article also contextualises global eco policing and legal endeavours within concepts of ‘green justice’.  First coined in 1987 by Thomas Hoban and Richard Brooks; green justice seeks to harness socio-legal analyses with approaches imbued and embedded in environmental science and ethics. Green justice has also embraced psychological debates as ‘conceptions of fairness towards the natural world’. It is important to note, therefore, that the earliest attempts to define and advance a green justice are not solely based in the legal reasoning of judicial officers and their interpretations of environmental law; or in the statutes of politicians; but in the lived experiences, attitudes and interactions of people with their natural world. Subsequent usage of the term green justice have included multifaceted socio-legal approaches that target discrimination of ethnic and marginalised minorities who experience ‘environmental racism and victimology’ and the disproportionate effects of advanced capitalism. Green justice has been used by activists and left scholars to examine environmental injustice, namely, the plight of the poor and powerless at the hands of affluent, industrial economies. More recent usage of the term a green justice has emerged within debates about earth jurisprudence and ‘earth justice’ within a legal sense to champion environmental protection and preservation against state and corporate exploitation. These philosophical and ideological underpinnings of green justice have informed the various eco policing initiatives that this article will examine. As such, it identifies how ‘policing’ continues to evolve in innovative and unexpected ways to address the complex and widespread consequences of environmental crime.


Professor Reece Walters interest and expertise include  Green and Southern Criminology, Crimes of the Powerful, and the Sociology of Criminological Knowledge. He is interested in the ways corporations and governments exploit and compromise the ‘essentials of life’ for power and profit.

Dr Emma Ryan is a Teaching Scholar in Criminology with a long-standing interest in police accountability. Her research interests include media representations of crime, regulation of public space, policing marginalized populations and the history of criminal justice practices.

Greg Koumouris is a Teaching Associate and PhD student, primarily interested in the intersection of crime, media, and environmental harm.


Aug 30 2021


8:00 am - 6:00 pm