Developing the work on the concept of ‘earth’ that I am currently undertaking, my RGS-IBG paper this year is on ‘Terricide‘, a concept taken from Henri Lefebvre’s De l’État. In De l’État, Lefebvre suggests (Vol I, p. 39) that he takes this from Jean-Clarence Lambert, in Opus International, no. 50. I’ve looked at that issue of Opus International, and while there are three short pieces by Lambert, nothing is on terricide. Clarence’s website doesn’t offer any help. So I’m wondering if Lefebvre did take this from Clarence but another source; or from a source he mistook for Clarence; or misremembered it entirely. This is unfortunately all-too-common with Lefebvre’s references – the work that went into the notes for Key Writings and State, Space, World was extensive.
There are very few places anywhere that the notion of ‘terricide’ is ever discussed. But as well as being the name of a video-game and a metal band, the word ‘terracide’ does appear to be used in a few more instances…
James A. Tyner’s The Killing of Cambodia: Geography, Genocide and the Unmaking of Space has the term in the back cover blurb, and at least one review, though it does not make an appearance in the text itself. Of course, related terms such as urbicide are increasingly commonly used to describe the targeting of the environment (see, for example, Martin Coward’s Urbicide: The Politics of Urban Destruction or Stephen Graham’s Cities Under Siege: The New Military Urbanism).
Lefebvre means this term in a way that is rather more concrete and specific: the actual killing of the earth or the death of the planet through nuclear war, and especially through the imbalances created in the move from the “(bounded [limitee]) rationality of the state to the irrationality of the state system” (De l’État Vol I, p. xv; State, Space, World, p. 98).
From a more environmental point of view, Ron M. Linton’s 1970 book Terracide: America’s destruction of her living environment; and Hubert Reeves’s more recent Terracide (a translation of a book originally under the title Mal de terre) looks at similar issues.