Tag Archives: Environmental Crimes

Dark places


I was member on a panel a few months back to discuss the theme of ‘dark environments’. The panel was run by the Stout Centre for New Zealand studies and was part of their ‘Stranger than Fiction’ series. Each panel featured members from very different disciplines, and the idea was to see how different scholars made sense of various themes.

I figured I got my invite for the ’dark environments’ panel because I’m a ‘green’ criminologist who studies environmental harm. Semantics and all that. But it got me thinking about our discipline and how the concept of dark environments is meaningful to criminology in a bunch of different ways, but also how it serves as a useful reminder about what it is that we are charged with doing.

We study dark environments all the time: city streets where the lights go out; night-time economies and the illicit drug cultures that thrive there; silenced stories of sexual violence; redacted and archived abuses by the state; shady deals between traders at the borders; concrete fortresses at the edges of our cities and towns. One could go on. Continue reading Dark places

Show Me the Maui … Show Me the Money

DairyNZ recently claimed that a Greenpeace advert, on the impacts of industrial dairying on our waterways, was inflammatory and provocative. The advert argues that the New Zealand government allows the dairy industry to make our rivers unswimmable and undrinkable. In a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which wasn’t upheld, DairyNZ contended that Greenpeace acted inappropriately and misled the public. Even if Greenpeace were stretching the truth, the outcome from another set of recent exchanges about an environmental issue would suggest that the dairy industry can probably relax.

Since 2012, the government has been making annual ‘block offers’ to oil and gas companies. A ‘block offer’ is an area of land and/or sea designated by the government as a possible area of exploration for oil and gas reserves. Companies bid to be granted permits to ‘explore’ in sections of the block. Block Offer 2014 included parts of a Marine Mammal Sanctuary which shelter the endangered Maui’s dolphin.

Environmental groups argued that the government was behaving recklessly, essentially sacrificing an endangered creature to help prop up the fossil fuel industry in making the block offer. Government figures responded by saying that there had been no sightings of the Maui’s dolphins in the area. Indeed, then Conservation Minister Nick Smith said: “show me the Maui”. Continue reading Show Me the Maui … Show Me the Money