Zhou Jinfeng: From the “Giant Panda in the Cultivated Land”, on Why CBCGDF Has to File EPIL Cases for the Protection of Earthworms

In a recent visit to Siping in Jilin Province, the Chinese leader mentioned the protection of black land and emphasized that effective measures must be taken to protect black land, the “giant panda in the cultivated land.” Why is it called “the panda in the cultivated land”, because black land’s good soil is as rare and precious as the panda. The protection of soil has always been part of agriculture, and the relevant departments have also attached great importance to it, but it is rarely considered from the perspective of “giant pandas”. In fact, “giant panda” refers to an ecosystem.

In the past, soil protection focused on physical and chemical factors such as soil pollution, desertification, compaction, and salinity, but did not fully consider and protect the land as an ecosystem.

Regarding land as an ecological system, we believe that legislation, law enforcement, and public perceptions need to be improved in accordance with the requirements of ecological civilization.

Recently, some experts reported to us that the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has issued 11 national standards for the survey and evaluation of the national ecological conditions, including grassland ecosystems, wetland ecosystems, forest ecosystems… called ecological standards. However, they have not really been treated as individual ecosystems, and they are still divided according to traditional departmental functions.

In the past, our regulations were more divided into administrative departments and industries. However, the idea of ecological civilization emphasizes the community of life and system theory, which requires careful study.

In terms of soil protection, the core is soil ecosystem protection. In addition to traditional methods, such as checking whether the cultivated land is occupied or polluted, the land must be treated as an ecosystem. We have recently noticed that the Ministry of Ecology and Environment has carried out law enforcement inspections on land pollution prevention and control, and this problem still exists.

There are control mechanisms in the natural ecosystem. But our previous attention to biological control is far from enough. Earthworms, the health guardians of the soil, play an important role in this regard. Earthworms are extremely important for the agricultural function of the soil.

If there are no earthworms in the soil, we will face a terrestrial ecosystem that tends to be dead. It has to be said that earthworms play an important role in promoting the formation and function maintenance of soil.

China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF), therefore, wants to protect earthworms by filing an environmental public interest litigation (EPIL) against the manufacturers and E-commerce platforms of the machines and equipment used to capture earthworms by electric shocks.

I would like to talk about our original intention from the above-mentioned more macro and comprehensive perspective, which is why we have to sue these e-commerce platforms that manufacture and trade devices that illegally capture earthworms. It is hoped that the use of legal weapons can solve this problem and arouse public awareness.

The reason why the e-commerce platform was added to the lawsuit is that it is very easy to control these traders through the credit system and real-name registration system; however, currently, the e-commerce platform does not use these methods to stop it at all. This is a great responsibility of ignoring the public interest.

In fact, before the passage of the Electronic Commerce Law, we put forward this concept, suggesting embodying the spirit of ecological civilization and environmental protection, and to emphasize the responsibility of the Internet platform to maintain public environmental interests. Unfortunately, it was not adopted. At present, we have filed three EPIL cases related to earthworms electric shocking machines in the Zhuhai Intermediate People’s Court, and no case has been filed yet.

This is a key case for soil ecosystem protection. It is hoped that through individual cases, we can vigorously promote the study of ecological civilization ideas, and truly protect our soil safety and public environmental interests in accordance with systemic ideas and the requirements of the era of ecological civilization.

Original Chinese article:


By / Yao Jiahui (Intern) Modified / Niu Jingmei






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