AN environmentalist is urging the justice secretary Robert Buckland to protect three Pacific islands from the effects of climate change.

Swindon Climate Action Network member John Ranford has written to the MP calling for an ecocide law to prevent people from damaging or destroying ecosystems.

“Our Commonwealth island states of Vanuatu, Kiribati and Tuvalu are already experiencing the devastating effects of climate change.

“These low-lying island nations are being slowly submerged as the sea levels rise. Recently at a meeting at the Hague they called for the creation of a new international crime of ecocide,” he wrote.

John lived on Tuvalu as a toddler while his parents, Brian and Peggy, were stationed there as missionaries.

He remembers the waves coming right up to the grass of the island creating small pools of water where he and his three brothers - Paul, Peter and Mark - would play.

But he realised half-a-century later that the salt water is poisoning the crops and some islanders are escaping to Fiji as their home is being gradually submerged under the water.

The activist, who lives in Swindon, wants oil spills in the sea banned and the destruction of the islands’ rainforests halted.

John said: “Nature is a precious resource which is a finite thing.

“Tuvalu’s forests are limited, they are being destroyed by fires, it won’t return for decades, and in the meantime that CO2 the trees would have taken is going into the atmosphere.

“The basic concept of ecocide is that individuals, nations or companies should be banned from destroying the ecosystems.

“Whether it’s plants, animals, roots, and the destruction of rainforests we want it to be made illegal. And we want the spillage of oil in the sea to be made illegal, it results in millions of birds being covered in tar and dying because of it.

“It’s all a complete disaster and for some reason there’s not a law against it. It’s vital we do this, it’s as important as genocide.”

SCAN has asked the justice secretary to consider fast-tracking a substantial increase of the £9.2bn already pledged by the Government for home insulation on our own shores.

And he wants the UK to support the island nations and lead the international community to agree a new international crime of ecocide.

The Swindon MP Mr Buckland plans to meet with John to discuss the issue.

He said: “I meet with Swindon Climate Action Network group regularly and I am in the process of organising a meeting with them to further discuss this issue, as well as other local and national environmental issues.”