Eradicating Ecocide: Laws and Governance to Stop the Destruction of the Planet Paperback – 9 Sep 2010
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‘Eradicating Ecocide highlights the need for enforceable, legally binding mechanisms in national and international law to hold account perpetrators of long term severe damage to the environment. At this critical juncture in history it is vital that we set global standards of accountability for corporations, in order to put an end to the culture of impunity and double standards that pervade the international legal system. Polly Higgins illustrates how this can be achieved in her invaluable new book.’
Bianca Jagger, Founder and Chair of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation
About the Author
Polly Higgins is a barrister, international environmental lawyer and activist whose exhaustive research lays bare why peace is unachievable whilst we have laws that protect the rights of corporations to destroy the planet. Advocating a new crime of Ecocide: 'to cause damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems' she launched a campaign in April 2010, thisisecocide.com. The Ecologist Magazine voted her one of the "Worlds Top 10 Visionary Thinkers," and she has been nominated "The Lawyer for Planet Earth" by the 2010 Performance Awards.
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The beginning of the book offers an overview of the history of fossil fuel usage and the birth of the corporation. We learn of how coal helped fuel the rapid growth of the British Empire and then how oil helped the US become the powerhouse that it is today. We also learn how corporations grew to become so powerful. How they are free from legislation meaning that to this day they have the power to cross borders, abuse human and environmental rights, and cause vast destruction without being held accountable or punished.
Higgins reminds us of the silent rights - e.g. the right to pollute - which seem to be destroying our planet. She argues we must stop viewing the world as an inert thing waiting to be owned and exploited and instead should treat it as a living thing which should be enjoyed for its sake and allowed to flourish. Rather than owners of the planet we should become its guardians, and we must not forget that with rights come responsibilities - the responsibility to ensure people can enjoy a clean and healthy environment, that ecosystems are protected etc.
Thus, it is with this backdrop that Higgins introduces Ecocide - the mass "damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems 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 severely diminished". She argues this should be made the 5th Crime Against Peace. If made law it would have the power to halt extremely damaging practices at source.Read more ›