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April 21, 2021

Polly Higgins – Eradicating Ecocide

I was lucky enough to hear the amazing Polly Higgins in March 2014, in little old Mullumbimby, NSW. More used to addressing the United Nations, and recently sharing the stage with Peter Garret at WOMADelaide, this woman knows how to engage a crowd intelligently and inspirationally. Her lauded TEDx series of talks are also hugely popular, exposing her to an international audience, but to hear Polly Higgins on how we could possibly save the world in a small country town civic hall was an absolute privilege.

Polly Higgins

If you don’t know Polly Higgins, pay attention. Hers may be one of the most important voices on the planet right now. A Scotswoman that lives in London, Polly is a barrister, author and international environmental lawyer that loves raw chocolate and organic whiskey, while advocating an alternative approach to preventing the destruction of our planet – an approach that just might work.

Instead of our laws protecting the property rights of the few, Polly’s proposition is to shift international laws that impose responsibilities, duties and obligations for the benefit of the many – by protecting the rights of our planet.

Polly has been voted by Ecologist magazine as one of ‘The World’s Top 10 Visionary Thinkers’ for her work advancing the Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights. She has also famously submitted a second proposal to the United Nations: the Crime of Ecocide.

Polly’s intelligent, plausible approach has importantly garnered attention from mass media, including The Guardian, TIME Magazine and various other mainstream / conservative publications. This is significant as it ensures her message is more than preaching to the choir. As a legal expert on the law of Ecocide, Polly’s books Eradicating Ecocide and Earth is our Business promote the concept of Ecocide as a crime and affirms humanity’s right to life, nature’s right to endure and the guarantee for future generations right to a sustainable life on this planet.

Speaking exclusively to Eco Citizen Australia, I asked Polly what world leaders she thought are most likely to come to the aid of the planet? Her succinct answer was: “Those that care.” According to Polly, “All governments have received a Concept Paper on the law of Ecocide. Over the past two years I have legally advised UN ambassadors, senior legal advisors and ministers of state from 54 governments.”

But how in practical terms how could ecocide be policed I asked Polly. Would it require a new international court? “As an international crime all member states that are signatories will have to amend their own law to include the crime of Ecocide, and will at first instance have to by law prosecute in their own national courts. Where a nation state either is unable to or unwilling to prosecute, then the International Criminal Court can be used.”

When I asked Polly what is the best way readers of Eco Citizen Australia can assist in achieving the ending of ecocide by 2020 (her personal goal)? Her reply was to visit: eradicatingecocide.com/what-you-can-do/

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