Ecocide: The Earth needs a Lawyer

Does the Earth need a lawyer?

This was the question posed at a public talk from Polly Higgins, organised by the Sustainable Earth Institute.

Polly Higgins, originally a barrister practising in London, now uses her legal skills for just one client – the Earth. She advocates for a law that creates a legal duty of care by putting people and planet first. A law that prohibits extensive damage, destruction to or loss of human and non-human life: a law of ecocide.

This talk is part of a series of public events organised by the Sustainable Earth Institute, aimed at increasing awareness and knowledge about a range of global issues affecting society and the environment.

Watch the video

"When you have knowledge of something there is a beauty in it because it gives you a choice. Do you to just accept what is and remain with it, or do you choose to do something else instead?"

At the public talk, Polly spoke about her proposal to expand the remit of the International Criminal Court to include ecocide as an international crime (to stand alongside genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes of aggression) will ensure global governance and protection against some of the most egregious crimes.

Watch the video on our YouTube page, or listen to the podcast.

Environmental and Marine Law research

With close links to regulatory bodies, academic networks and local practitioners, research within the Environment and Marine law theme at Plymouth complements the wider research strengths of the University and is both interdisciplinary and applied in its focus. Find out more about our research.