Polly Higgins

Ecocide-the fifth international crime against humanity

“‘Examples of ascertainable ecocide affecting sizeable territories include the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest, the proposed expansion of the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada and polluted waters in many parts of the world, which account for the death of more people than all forms of violence including war‘ – Polly Higgins, Eradicating Ecocide, 2010, p.63

“The above statement is a startling statistic at odds in how we may conventionally view war. Yet acknowledging the enormous and accelerating violence and destruction to humans, non-human species and our sustaining habitats as war is a critical step if we are ever to halt such activities. It is this key concept that drives UK lawyer Polly Higgins in her work to make ‘Ecocide’ legally recognised by the United Nations as the ‘5th international Crime against Peace‘. This would mean it would have the same status as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression.”

Update: Mon 30 Apr. 2012: Polly Higgins is launching a new book ‘Earth is our business – changing the rules of the game’, due out May 2012.

I copied this statement from a blog that recently found mine. It will be the first blog to which I will “subscribe,” rejoicing that we are united, we have been united all along, and we are beginning to find each other and come together, to support each other in little ways and bigger and really big ways.

We are starting to come together and there is no way we could do it without each acknowledging the necessity of the other to work together for survival at a time when our presence on earth has become so complicated and difficult to understand. No one mind, opinion, expertise is “right,” but many are wrong, and our responsible discernment is essential. Look at my masthead on my newsletter (available on my blog under PDFs, on the right). Science, rule of law, education, compassion. It MUST be all — or we cannot nurture anything — science, rule of law, education, compassion. And I intended those four to be minimal, so as not to be too overwhelm the message, but we also need a heavy infusion of the arts and of crafts, including how we treat the mother earth with our tools and our presence.

PostCarbon Institute writes about these things as chapters, written to complement each other in the book and blog, and the conference of The Economics of Happiness — and also from early days, the yearly conferences of Bioneers. Nobody can write about all those things at the same time, but when we write about one we must remember the others, and equally the levels of organization to which they must apply. The individual, the commons (society), and the whole earth ecosystem.

Once time on a bus in Greece, lost, tired, trains all down, riding on a bus, I met a woman who was studying international law. Her work and her vision for the future deeply impressed me, but I lost track of her address. Now, I am so thrilled to be in touch with the “rule of law” element that has been so very much lacking from our American scene. I am not denigrating the presence — for example Friends of Earth, and Democracy School — and many other similar efforts. But we finally are coming together down here where the people are, and, frankly, those who choose not to join us will be “left behind,” in the fact-based sense of the term.

Even the corposystem. I assume the corposystem is trying very hard to ignore Polly Higgins‘ initiative to the rule of World law. And when it becomes world law, will continue to ignore it. However, I can tell you from personal experience — with the rule of law there is a handle with which to accomplish the task. Without the rule of law, we are pretty much on our own against the illegal behavior of a power such as the corposystem. To get the law requires responsible, discerning citizenship by people who care about the future generations and are willing to think deeply about our fact-based reality on this earth. Conscientious citizens, supporting people like all those mentioned in this blog, and our well-considered local actions — we can build a better future than any corposystem debate can even imagine.

http://www.celdf.org – Democracy School