Eradicating Ecocide; the woman behind the campaign

24th May 2013
Polly Higgins. Image courtesy of Ivy Press.
Haven't yet heard of the earth lawyer Polly Higgins and the campaign to eradicate ecocide? It's time you were in the know.....

In March 2010 international barrister, award winning author and environmental activist Polly Higgins proposed to the United Nations that Ecocide be the 5th Crime Against Peace. Ecocide is:

"the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been or will be severely diminished."

Polly's campaign to make ecocide a crime subject to trial by jury attracted worldwide attention  year later in 2011, when a mock trial of the CEOs of the oil companies operating in Canada's Athabasca Tar Sands was live-streamed online.

Since then the Ecocide campaign has gone from strength to strength;

  • The University of London has published unseen documents that chart the history of a law of Ecocide - it very nearly became and international crime in the mid-1990's.
  • Polly has travelled to many countries and spoken on many platforms, speaking with and legally advising governments, Ambassadors and the UN.
  • Polly's first book, Eradicating Ecocide: laws and governance to prevent the destruction of our planet won the People's Book Prize (non-fiction 2011) and her second book, Earth is our Business was published in May 2012.
  • Polly was awarded Overall Champion at the People in the Environment Awards 2012 and has been nominated as a finalist for the Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland Awards 2012.
  • Polly has now started a training programme so that others can speak about the law of Ecocide; her Concept Paper, Closing the door to dangerous industrial activity was submitted to all governments around the world.
  • To date Polly has met with Ambassadors, government officials and politicians from 48 countries.


To learn more about the campaign listen to an audio interview with visionary thinker and environmental heroine Polly Higgins, by the Small World Big Ideas project. You can also follow Small World Big Ideas @SWBIdeas



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