Humanity is at a crossroads, says environmental lawyer, Polly Higgins in her book, Eradicating Ecocide. One route is to carry on as before, treating our planet as something to be bought and sold as private property to the highest bidder; the other is to acknowledge that our lives depend on a delicate ecosystem and that we all have responsibilities to each other, our habitat and future generations.
Exposing the truth behind the laws and inadequate voluntary codes favoured by companies to protect their silent right to extinguish life, Polly advocates that a new crime, Ecocide, be recognised as a 5th crime against peace, to prevent the damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems.
The Mexican Gulf oil spill is a compelling reminder of why such a law is urgently needed, the book argues. Governments, businesses and financial institutions have all bought into turning a blind eye to the destruction of the planet when economic interests are at stake. Peace, Higgins proposes, is unachievable while the rules of the game continue to protect commercial interests of profit, at a price to the environment that we cannot afford.
Providing a comprehensive legal overview of the past 200 years, Eradicating Ecocide explains the crime of Ecocide, how it will apply and who can stop the ecocide, for present and for future generations. Laws from other countries, which have been successful in curtailing the power of governments, corporations and banks, are included with analysis of the duty of care required – a duty, Polly says, that is owed to the public and the global earth community. The book is a crash course on what laws work, what doesn’t and what is needed.