Polly Higgins Speaking Tour (Australia, New Zealand): Eradicating Ecocide – Laws and Governance to Prevent the Destruction of our Planet

Regular readers will know I’m keen to see society structured in a way that prioritises people and place over corporations and short-term, profit-centric, economic-growth-focussed idiocy. Whilst politicians are arguing over debt ceilings, corporate tax exemptions, how much more money to magic up and the impossibility of continuing economic growth whilst feigning action on our multi-faceted environmental and resource woes, Polly Higgins is urging a new set of precepts that would shift our present, shallow priorities and bring our ailing planet in from the cold.

We do not live on an inflatable earth, and as I tried to express in The Roots of Change – in Ourselves, or Government and Industry?, we can work to be as self-reliant as possible whilst being zealous grass roots activists facing water cannons and jail time, but until we recognise that, presently, corporate CEOs are legally obliged to plunder the planet in the interests of their shareholders, and find a way to overturn this self-destruct mechanism, ultimately our work and our best intentions can mean little to naught. Essentially, we’re swimming against the tide, when we should be harnessing the tide….

You cannot have a healthy quarter acre of land around you if the rest of the biosphere is in meltdown, and no matter how much we might wish it wasn’t so, permaculturists are still a bare minority, hardly registering on the radars of your average Joe Citizen. In short, bottom up action needs to be supported and incentivised by top down legislation, and such legislation needs to recognise that our atmosphere, our forests, our soils and our water tables are the property of no-one and everyone — humanity as a whole — rather than a privately owned cookie jar to be raided by an ‘elite’ of self-interested corporate captains.

Polly Higgins, voted by The Ecologist as one of the world’s top ten visionary thinkers, is a UK-based Barrister who has taken a very unique stand — that of making our Earth her client. Acting in Gaia’s defense, Polly is pressing the UN to add the crime of Ecocide to the current four international Crimes Against Peace: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, War Crimes, and Crimes of Aggression. If destroying our home was made illegal, corporate CEOs would find externalising the true cost of their business activities a venture that could see them behind bars, instead of earning them bonuses as it does today.

Polly is presently on a speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand, working to grant legal protection for our Earth, the foundation of all that we are and have. If you can make any of the following dates, you’re encouraged to do so:

  • Thursday 1st September, 9.30 – 11am, Otago University
    How the Crime Of Ecocide Would Apply in National Jurisdictions – Especially New Zealand
    Seminar Room 5, Faculty of Law, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Thursday 1st September, 12 – 1.30pm, Otago University
    The Law of Ecocide
    The Moot Court, 10th Floor, Richardson Building, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • Friday 2nd September, 12:30-1:30pm, Wellington
    Making Ecocide a Crime
    Spectrum Theatre, Cnr Customhouse Quay & Johnston St (access off Johnston Street), Wellington, New Zealand
  • Sunday 4th September 1- 9pm, Auckland
    Eradicating Ecocide
    Earthsong, 457 Swanson Road, Ranui, Waitakere, Auckland
    Please email Helen McNeil, bagend (at) clear.net.nz to book a place ($20 includes dinner)
  • Monday 5th September, 7 – 9pm, Auckland University
    Ecocide, the missing 5th Crime Against Peace (Facebook), Auckland
    Lecture Theatre 260-098, Owen Glenn Building, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
  • Thursday 8th, 10.45 – 12.00, Sydney International Environment Conference, Sydney, Australia
    Using Law to Protect the Environment
  • Friday 9th, 11.15 – 12.00, Sydney International Environment Conference, Sydney, Australia
    Campaigning for a Climate Change
  • Saturday 10th, 10 – 11am, Brisbane Writers Festival
    Green by Degrees
    The Studio, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Sunday 11th, 10 – 11am, Brisbane Writers Festival
    Within the Law
    The Edge, State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
  • Monday 12th, Cairns: times and venue to be confirmed
  • Tuesday 13th, Cairns: times and venue to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 14th Cairns: times and venue to be confirmed

More on Polly: