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Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume. 34, Number 14. July 21, 1971


Banner for Ecoside article

Twenty-five years ago the dawn of the atomic era marked the beginning of man's ability to terminate all life on this planet. During the last five years the perfecting in Indochina of the techniques of ecocide marks another major step along the terminal path of aborting millions of years of evolution.

Genocide as developed by the Nazis involved the mass extermination of entire human groups. Ecocide as developed by the US military carries this a stage further for ecocide involves the destruction of the living environment which would sustain groups as yet unborn. It is defined more fully by Barry Weisberg as "the premeditated assault of a nation and its resources against the individuals, culture and biological fabric of another country and its environs" ("Ecocide in Indochina: The Ecology of War", San Francisco, 1970). The use of this technique of total war in Indochina has resulted in "the most extensive premeditated ecological catastrophe in the history of this planet" and it was his first-hand awareness of the scale of this catastrophe that prompted the Professor of Biology at Yale University, Arthur W. Galston, to propose early last year an international agreement outlawing this form of warfare. For parts of Indochina this is too late; the devastation wrought by saturation bombing and chemical poisoning is such as to make reconstruction in any meaningful sense impossible for decades.