Why earth destruction is a crime

Our world knows four international crimes: war crimes, genocide, torture and crimes against humanity. Spanish examining magistrate Baltasar Garzón and Scottish lawyer Polly Higgins believe that this list of serious violations of international law should be expanded with a fifth: ecocide. Will Higgins and Garzón eventually succeed in gaining enough support to get recognition for ecocide?

Scottish Polly Higgins was laughed at when she first proclaimed that the Earth needs a lawyer. That those who cause ecological destruction should be held accountable, and therefore be sued, summoned and punished. Originally a trial lawyer, Higgins now entirely devotes her life and work to the Earth, as a legal eco-activist. Since 2011, she has been leading the international movement against ecocide. This is the large-scale destruction of our ecosystems.

VPRO Backlight follows Polly Higgins and her ‘earth guardians’ on their missions throughout 2015, a year that, more than any other year, offers a ‘window of opportunity’. Including Baltasar Garzón (jurist), Michael Baumgartner (campaign manager Greenpeace Switzerland), Bronwyn Lay (environmental lawyer, Australia).

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