13. Green Criminology

Dr. Gregory Simmons, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Positionality Statement

I am a white male who hails originally from the United Kingdom, a key historical centre of colonial and imperial power in relation to what we now call North America and across the globe. When I was 14, my family moved to northern British Columbia, on the territory of the Lheidli T’enneh people, where I witnessed firsthand the effects of colonialism and systemic discrimination against Indigenous peoples. My own privilege was made more apparent to me upon attending university, where the under-representation of Indigenous peoples was a striking reality. After completing a law degree at Osgoode Hall in Ontario, I worked in the non-profit environmental sector. Here, it was brought home how so much of the conflict, disrespect and injustice visited upon Indigenous peoples is rooted in environmental exploitation and how Indigenous peoples were so often on the frontlines of resisting that harm and defending their (often unceded) territory. Later in life, I went back to school to complete a Ph.D. in Criminology at Simon Fraser University, which was informed by this experience. I strive to be alive to and honour such struggles and to forward a green criminological praxis that hopefully can play a positive role in the much bigger process of reconciliation.

Dr. Rochelle Stevenson, Thompson Rivers University

Positionality Statement

I identify as a white, heterosexual, cisgender woman. I currently live in Kamloops, BC, on the lands of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc within Secwépemc’ulucw, the traditional and unceded territory of the Secwépemc peoples. I share my life with my partner, and we are parents to a wonderful Standard Poodle and two adorable cats.

I was born and raised in Oakville, Ontario. My parents were both Canadian-born, as were my grandparents. My great-grandparents immigrated to Canada from Ireland and France, settling in Quebec and Ontario. Despite the fact that neither of my parents had attended university, we enjoyed a great deal of financial and social privilege. It was not until returning to university as a mature student to pursue my degree in Criminology that I truly realized the extent of that privilege. Confronting my privilege was very uncomfortable, but critical to my growth as a scholar and a person. My early studies opened my eyes to the stark contrasts in experience, comparing my own experiences of private ski clubs and private schools to reading about women who didn’t leave abusive relationships because they had no resources. More than once I questioned whether I was in the right space, but my desire to effect change was the driving force to continue.

My research is firmly centred in a feminist space with its anti-oppression framework, paired with the anti-speciesism of the human-animal bond. My work over the past 15 years has centred on the intersection of intimate partner violence and animal mistreatment, recognizing that companion animals are family members too, and domestic violence can include abuse towards animals in the home. My drive for change includes advocating for pet-friendly spaces, such as domestic violence shelters and housing, so that the family (animals included) can remain together while healing from violence. Though this work is emotionally challenging (even heartbreaking) at times, and I consistently wrestle with my own position of relative privilege, my furry family members are my inspiration to keep moving forward to create a safe and inclusive society.

Dr. Mark Vardy, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Positionality Statement

I am a white male born in the Cowichan Valley where I was raised by parents who immigrated from England to Canada to work as school teachers. The intersection of privilege that I occupy became apparent to me when I was raising my daughter as a full-time single parent on a low income. I saw the differences between my ability to navigate social welfare systems and the obstacles that other young single parents faced. While we had similar economic situations, I realized that I had what I later learned in post-secondary was called “cultural capital.” That is, my middle-class upbringing enabled me to express myself in ways that could be understood by workers within the social welfare system. I still see frequent occurrences of white privilege when people seem to grant me a certain kind of status, power, respect or authority that strikes me as an artefact of colonialist cultures of white supremacy. Like Greg and Rochelle, I hope to use my position of privilege to work towards transformative social change.



Green criminology is a perspective that challenges taken-for-granted notions of crime and harm in relation to humans, other species, and the natural world. While green criminology’s questioning of traditional criminological assumptions affords the opportunity to examine Indigenous knowledge, ways of knowing, and concepts of justice through an indigenous lens, to date, the field remains largely grounded in a Western worldview.  Green criminology as a theory holds the potential to include Indigenous knowledge and understanding of the natural world to steward a just and sustainable future.

In this chapter, we first define green criminology and its core components, and outline how green criminology is distinct from environmental criminology. Next, we discuss the three main ecophilosophies and explore various approaches within green criminology.  We then describe environmental victimisation through green criminological perspectives on justice. Throughout the chapter, we provide real-world examples to illustrate the application of green criminological perspectives to current problems, specifically those that impact Indigenous peoples, which demonstrate how these perspectives are interconnected.


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Introduction to Criminology Copyright © 2023 by Dr. Shereen Hassan and Dan Lett, MA is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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