“I began to realise that rights in isolation are not enough. If you have rights, there are corresponding duties and obligations – it’s like two sides of the coin. And what gives enforcement to your rights are the responsibilities that are put in place in criminal law. So, your right to life is governed and protected by the [law against] murder, or homicide – or, at a collective level, genocide.” — Polly Higgins
Polly Higgins died on 21/4/2019 aged 50 but not her work. Ecocide is her legacy to all of us, let’s honour it.
Let’s turn this sad event into a celebration of the wonderful woman she was and her brilliant work she did as a barrister for the environment by telling everyone about the ecocide law. Thereby we can become enough to insist that all our governments across the world recognise it as a law. Ecocide is her legacy to all of us, let’s honour it.
For all those who haven’t heard about Polly Higgins and her ecocide law let’s start with a short introduction. You can find more about Polly Higgins and the ecocide law on her website. As Polly Higgins was a barrister she used her expertise to engage in protecting our environment. She was so much committed that she gave up her house and her job to focus on saving our planet and thereby human kind. Thus she developed the ecocide law which would recognise harming our environment as a criminal act on an international level that allows to prosecute it. Therefore, she intended that ecocide law should be a part of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court – besides genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression – where those core crimes are established. It is important that it becomes a part of an international law as those who commit these crimes act globally and are not prosecuted by their countries or any other country. Polly Higgins considered ecocide as a crime against humanity and so it should be recognised and prosecuted. It is now our task to bring her ideas and work to life.
Most of the actions destroying the planet we are all a part of are carried out by a small group of rich people. Some examples of destruction are already mentioned by George Monbiot in his wonderful Guardian article about Polly Higgins. These few people do it for their personal advantage and as Naomi Klein convincingly explains in her books these people not only cash in for example on the oil they also take the destruction of our environment and the thereby resulting chaos into account. It is called disaster capitalism and of course they profit from the destruction they cause as well. Until now they get away with ecocide as there are no laws to hold them liable. This has to change. MORE