VOGUE Feature on Shirleen Chin – March 2020


“El Mundo Es Nuestro” or The World is Ours was a feature article written by Vogue contributor Nuala Phillips for Vogue Espana’s March 2020 issue. The cover of this spring issue was graced by the beautiful, Hailey Bieber (formerly Baldwin). The title page of the article speaks of the importance of fighting for a better planet from each of the women’s perspective, signalling that it’s still not too late.

Quoting former President of the United States, Barack Obama, Nuala writes that “[w]e’re the first generation to feel the effect of climate change and the last generation who can do something about it.” Nuala spoke with seven female environmental activists, including Green Transparency’s founder, Shirleen Chin, who was in Madrid, Spain last December for the United Nations Climate Conference or COP 25. All the women interviewed are activists in their own communities and circles, each championing a cause (or several!).

In the excerpt about Shirleen, she is quoted as saying that, “if we don’t sort out organised crime and corruption, if [corporate mafiosi and the likes] get their way, we will continue to witness environmental destruction.” So many other types of crimes are linked to some of the most devastating and irreversible environmental disasters. This type of politically-motivated or profit-driven crimes are no different than organised crime, which adopts similar bullying, law-aversed and clandestine strategies. We need to realise that law-making is a powerful tool in not only stopping bad behaviour but also a clear signal to nay-sayers that they can no longer hide. This is why introducing the crime of ecocide is important. High-level politicians and corporate elites should no longer get away scot free. Their days of flouting the law are over if ecocide is made a crime. Shirleen also happens to be the Head of Advocacy & Strategic Partnerships for Ecological Defence Integrity, a UK-based non-profit co-founded by the late UK barrister and ecocide law expert, Polly Higgins.

The Vogue interview also highlights some of Shirleen’s other affiliations, mainly Extinction Rebellion in the Netherlands and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature or IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law. Not mentioned directly is Shirleen’s role as expert member for the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime and trainer for the Center for United Nations Constitutional Research or CUNCR’s climate youth ambassador programme. Here’s the full translation of the interview:

SHIRLEEN CHIN

This woman is involved in more projects than you can shake a stick at – in Spain and internationally. Her name is Shirleen Chin (Borneo, 1987).  She’s whirlwind of energy, equally passionate about everything, whether it’s asking if she can take pictures of the photoshoot shoes or working as a scourge of the international corporate mafia. “I am careful, of course,” she says winking an eye. “People are surprised that the same corporate mafiosi that commit other crimes are also the ones behind ecocide, but if we don’t sort out organised crime and corruption, if these people get their way, we will continue to witness environmental destruction. In her diary, which she places on the table while nestling herself on the chair, is the endless list of projects and actions she is working on. “I coordinate Extinction Rebellion legal affairs in the Netherlands; I am also part of the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law; I founded my own consultancy in 2018, Green Transparency; I train young people on climate justice … ”, she lists them without any air of self-importance. “This year I have been very focused on ecocide and trying to raise global awareness for the need for it to be recognised as a crime,” she says. In order to do this, Chin has been focused on raising the voice of the island states “doomed to disappear within 30 years”, she warns.

Categories: Features

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