Polly Higgins’ book Eradicating Ecocide has been met with great enthusiasm since its publication in September. The author’s fellow environmentalists agree that her proposal to create a law against ecocide is necessary to put a stop to the systematic destruction of our planet, and most importantly they see it as feasible.
In a review for the Sierra Club BC’s blog, Ana Simeon writes:
‘The beauty of this proposal is how it uses what is already there – the UN framework, the international criminal law as it has developed since World War II, and the trusteeship concept. Ecocide as a fifth crime against peace would be easily administered by the International Criminal Court without creating new structures or adminsitrative bodies. A simple expedient, yet how revolutionary!’
Treehugger.com writer Matt McDermott recognises that ‘big shifts in international law can happen’, citing the drive to criminalise genocide, which originated several years before the law was implemented in the aftermath of the Second World War, and the abolition of slavery: ‘Higgins makes a very compelling case that society has made similarly large shifts in thinking just in the past 150 years, with the abolition of slavery.’ Similar, that is, to the large shift in thinking that will be needed to put a stop to ‘wholesale environmental destruction.’ No-one is pretending that this will be an immediate transition but, says McDermott, this ‘is where Higgins stands out, advocating several steps towards legal abolition of the sort of pollution we now see as commonplace.’ She ‘makes a good moral and logical argument that the only way we are truly going to stop ecocide is to make it a serious crime.’