In Eradicating Ecocide, international environment lawyer and Ecocide law expert Polly Higgins sets out to demonstrate how our planet is fast being destroyed by the activities of corporations and governments, facilitated by ‘compromise’ laws that offer insufficient deterrence. She offers a solution that is radical yet pragmatic and, as she explains, necessary. Starting with the Mexican Gulf oil spill, a compelling reminder of the consequences of un-checked ecocide, Higgins advocates the introduction of an international Ecocide law.

As the missing 5th Crime Against Peace it would hold to account heads of corporate bodies who are found guilty of perpetrating ecocide. The opportunity to implement this law represents a crossroads in the fate of humanity; we can accept this one change and in doing so save our ecosystem for future generations, or we can continue to destroy it, risking future brutal war over disappearing natural resources.

This is the first book to examine the power of law to change everything. Higgins provides context by presenting examples of laws in other countries and in earlier times in history which have succeeded in curtailing the power of governments, corporations and banks and have triggered change.

Eradicating Ecocide is a crash course on what laws work, what doesn’t and what else is required to prevent the ever escalating destruction. Eradicating Ecocide provides a comprehensive overview of what is required in law in order to prevent ecocide. It is a book unlike any other; based on a principle of ‘first do no harm’, it applies equally to global as well as smaller communities and anyone who is involved in decision-making.

The second edition includes amendments and corrections as well as bringing the book up to date.


Author Details
Polly Higgins was a barrister and international environmental lawyer who demystified our environmental crises from a legal perspective. Advocating a crime of ecocide – ‘extensive damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems’ she had one basic overriding tenet, first do no harm. The Ecologist Magazine voted her one of the ‘Worlds Top 10 Visionary Thinkers’, she was nominated ‘The Lawyer for Planet Earth’ by the 2010 Performance Awards. In 2016 she won the prestigious Swedish prize Utstickarpriset.

Press coverage can be read here.

You can read more about Polly Higgins on her author page.


“At this critical juncture in history it is vital that we set global standards of accountability for corporations, in order to put an end to the culture of impunity and double standards that pervade the international legal system. Polly Higgins illustrates how this can be achieved in her invaluable new book.”
Bianca Jagger, Founder and Chair of Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, Advocate for Crimes Against Present and Future Generations

“A simple expedient, yet how revolutionary! A global standard of care would reconfigure the entire edifice of international justice on the foundation of Earth Jurisprudence… Eradicating Ecocide brims with hope and reads like a mystery novel.”
Ana Simeon, Sierra Club BC

“An examination of international law and how environmental protection has somehow been left by the wayside … [It] asks everyone to re-examine the legal framework within which we are attempting to accomplish this, and provides business leaders with a golden opportunity of making it happen.”
Chris Milton,

“The book in general is a thorough exposition of the litany of seemingly mindless pollution and destruction that no one can deny is happening. Then how small changes in the law can bring about large effects.”
Robin Smith, Real Reform

“Higgins is arguing for the urgent need to develop, adopt and implement radical laws to stop and criminalise the (wanton) destruction of our environment (and that of other living forms) and planetary habitat (or dwelling place)… Polly Higgins’ interventions are most welcome. She should be encouraged to take matters forward.”
Richard Kotter, International Journal of Environmental Studies

“Maybe the most important book for the 21st century!”
“A book of universal influence and initiative that will stimulate the changes the planet needs.”
“An inspiring read to shake us out of complacency.”
Comments from voters in The People’s Book Prize