Redefining Ecocide: Addressing Mass Damage and Destruction

During the Vietnam War, Arthur Galston at Yale University coined the term Ecocide to describe the environmental destruction of the war, including the use of over 20 million gallons of herbicides against forests and croplands in southern Vietnam, southeastern Laos and parts of Cambodia.

Today, there is a new effort to make individuals responsible for the destruction of the environment liable at the International Criminal Court for the crime of Ecocide. In collaboration with the new documentary film, The People VS Agent Orange currently streaming at the Laemmle Theater in Los Angeles, The Promise Institute for Human Rights at the UCLA Law School held a discussion on Redefining Ecocide – answering renewed calls to protect the environment and the life which depends on it.


David Zierler, Historian and author of The Invention of Ecocide: Agent Orange, Vietnam, and the Scientists Who Changed the Way We Think About the Environment 

Kate Mackintosh, Executive Director, Promise Institute for Human Rights, UCLA School of Law. Deputy Co-Chair of the Stop Ecocide Expert Drafting Panel on the legal definition of ecocide 

Pamela McElwee, Associate Professor of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. Author of Forests are Gold: Trees, People, and Environmental Rule in Vietnam

Lindsey Schromen-Wawrin, Shearwater Law PLLC, Attorney for Lincoln County Community Rights lawsuit against aerial spraying of herbicides in timber forests of Oregon. 

Amy Hay, Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Rio Grande Valley. Author of The Defoliation of America: Agent Orange Chemicals, Citizens, and Protests. (December 2021)

Moderated by: William Boyd, Emmett Institute, UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability