Environmental lawyer Polly Higgins, best known for campaigning for ‘ecocide’ to be recognized as a crime against humanity, has died from cancer aged 50.
The British barrister gave up her high-level job and sold her home to dedicate herself to her cause, lobbying legislation makers and writing the book Eradicating Ecocide, among other actions.
She inspired people with her words, including: “It’s about how we harness our own life energy. Do we decide to remain complicit in a world that is destructive or decide that we will stand up collectively and align with a greater force? It’s a higher force, a higher energy that will protect the lives of millions on the future.”
Defining ‘ecocide’ Higgins said it is ‘the extensive damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems’.
“Existing law does not go far enough in terms of stopping serious harm, ecological harm and climactic harm,” she added.
“We’re talking about criminal law here, so you’re looking at CEOs, directors, ministers, heads of state, who can be held to account within an International Criminal Court.”
Polly Higgins’ TEDx talk
‘Inspired by her’
Many have paid tribute to Higgins’ vision and tireless efforts, with Greenpeace Camden writing: “Many of us all over the world have been sending dear activist and earth mother Polly Higgins our love and healing over this past month.
“Polly left her body yesterday on Easter Sunday with the International Rebellion going strong. Polly for me embodies so many qualities we need more of in the world. Sending so much love today to all who knew or were inspired by her.
“We have been so inspired by Polly’s courage and outlook in general but of course in relationship to this diagnosis and her willingness to share what is happening for her and open to up receiving so much healing and love from everybody. She really shows what being a leader based in feminine principles is, and how we can move forward and create a beautiful future.”
Extinction Rebellion also shared a tribute, tweeting: “We’d like to hold Polly Higgins in our thoughts tonight. An incredible person and barrister who dedicated her life to create an international crime of ecocide. Her legacy to humanity and Earth will live on through us.”
Vegan journalist George Monbiot added: “I’m very sad to hear that the wonderful, world-changing Polly Higgins has died. Let’s ensure [her work] continues – and succeeds
Journalist Lucy Siegle wrote: “So very sad to hear of the death of the great Polly Higgins who campaigned tirelessly for ecocide law. 10 years ago I first interviewed her. She said that people must take the law into their own hands to give the planet a voice. That’s precisely what is starting to happen today.”