The Role of Denial in the 'Theft of Nature': Comparing Biopiracy and Climate Change

Tanya Wyatt, Avi Brisman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
21 Downloads (Pure)


Since its inception, green criminology has highlighted, examined and analysed environmental degradation and destruction. The ‘theft of nature’ is both an example and a driver of illegal and ‘lawful but awful’ acts and omissions that degrade the environment. Even though this theft is widespread and sometimes well known, it persists because powerful actors put forward an influential narrative of denial that obstructs interventions. This paper explores the role of denial in two thefts of nature—biopiracy and climate change—and compares and contrasts the manifestations of denial that contribute to their continuation. We consider the ‘appeal to higher loyalties’ (economic interests over environmental concerns), and discuss the implications if such denial goes unchallenged and remains the central narrative.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-341
JournalCritical Criminology
Early online date14 Sept 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Sept 2016


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