EndorsementsMaking Ecocide a crime has support from many different spheres of influence, including: environmentalists, peace organisations, the legal profession and politicians. Read on to find about more about what people say about Eradicating Ecocide.
Environment & human rights
Nnimmo Bassey, chair of Friends of the Earth international and Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action
I fully believe in this cause. Making ecocide a recognised law will place a cap on the irresponsible actions of fat cats who hide behind corporate shields to destroy lives and harm the planet.
Polluting nations and corporations are engaging in acts of aggression against nature and against humanity. These are extreme acts of mass destruction that may affect the planet in cataclysmic ways. These acts must be recognised for what they are and duly punished. This Ecocide law may be the only way to make climate criminals rethink their crimes of commission and omission.
Jane Goodall, Primatologist, founder Jane Goodall Institute and UN Messenger of Peace
The concept of Ecocide is long overdue. It could lead to an important change in the way people perceive – and respond to – the current environmental crisis."
Vandana Shiva, physicist and environmental activist
The Ecocide trial is a very important step in waking us up to the violence which is the foundation of the current economy. We need another model that is non-violent, a model which makes peace with the earth. Ecocide must stop. The ideal of limitless growth is leading to limitless violations of the rights of the Earth and of the rights of nature. This is ecocide. We need to stop the destruction of the very basis of life on Earth and of human survival.
Pablo Solón Romero, Bolivia's former chief climate change negotiator said
Think on the people not on business. You are responsible for what can be the biggest genocide and ecocide of the 21st Century.
Francesca de Gasparis, Green Belt Movement, Director of the European Office
We have reached the point in history where it is impossible to ignore the widespread damage we, the human race, are causing the Earth. Establishing Ecocide as a crime is an essential and timely step which will allow the international community to hold to account those who undertake the most environmentally-destructive acts
Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture Magazine, co-founder of Permanent Publications & The Sustainability Centre.
We need brave and bold solutions to counter widespread habitat destruction and escalating climate change. Polly Higgins' campaign to make Ecocide an international crime holds the key for humanity to change direction and invest in a more stable, equitable future that will benefit us all. Business as usual is no longer a viable option for us or the planet. It is now critical that we adopt Ecocide as an international law.
Maude Barlow, activist, author and former senior advisor on water to the UN General Assembly
Unlimited growth assumes unlimited resources, and this is the genesis of Ecocide. To feed the increasing demands of our consumer-based capitalist system, humans have seen nature as a great resource for our personal pleasure, convenience and profit, and not as a living ecosystem from which all life springs. The move to commodify all of nature is the next step in its destruction. The earth is not ours to plunder. Nature has rights as surely as any that exist.
Jon Love, Programme Director Pachamama Alliance
The proposed ecocide legal framework that comes from Polly Higgins can be a critical step toward a just, sustainable and thriving way of life for all. It is clearly a moral crime to destroy Earth's life-generating capacity and eliminate the diverse life-forms with whom we share this planet. It should be a legally recognised crime as well.
Jonathon Porritt, founder director of Forum for the Future, former Chair of the Sustainable Development Commission
Once upon a time people did grievous harm to the environment without fully understanding the consequences of their actions. That defence is no longer available, and that sure knowledge we now have entails equally sure moral obligations. In this context, the idea of establishing the crime of Ecocide is both timely and compelling.
Daryl Hannah, actress and environmental activist
Ecocide is a crime against ALL life! Big respect & love
Vijay Mehta, chair of Uniting for Peace
The catastrophic degradation of environment, destruction, damage or loss of ecosystems is happening on a mass scale everyday as more and more carbon emissions are emitted by the ever increasing industrial output in our world. The best way to overcome it is to adopt Poly Higgins proposed Law of Ecocide for the safety of future generations.
Dick Hazlehurst, Rotary Peace Fellows co-ordinator
On behalf of the Rotary Peace Fellows who have studied, and who will in future study, at the Rotary Peace Centre at the University of Bradford, England, I write to offer our collective voice in support of the message you are to give when you speak at the World Peace Conference in Berlin on 26th August 2011. We wish you every success in your campaign for the Law of Ecocide to be recognized as a crime against peace. We share your concern and fear for the future of humanity and for all life on our planet, and we hope that the United Nations and, taking a lead from them, all nations will take action to slow and, eventually, reverse the horrifying damage which we are all, collectively, wreaking on the world.
World Peace Prayer Society European Division:
The World Peace Prayer Society welcomes the campaign of Mrs Polly Higgins for the Law of Ecocide to be recognised as a crime against peace. One of our activitites is to pray for the peace of nature and we therefore support her efforts to stop the severe damage to our environment and wonderful planet. May Peace Prevail with Nature - May Peace Prevail on Earth.
Jill Gough, National Secretary CND Cymru
A Law of Ecocide could be a genuine way towards the rebalancing of our values and bringing to human consciousness the fact that the most important things in the planet cannot be bought or sold. All life and earth are connected. If humans continue to damage the planet, whether for multinational profit or by conventional or nuclear war cannot continue, conflict will become more likely and will eventually destroy all life. A Law of Ecocide is a brave first step. We must act now.
Michael Mansfield QC, leading human rights lawyer said
The problem in the past is that if you hold a company responsible [for environmental destruction], who sits in the dock? All the court can do is fine the company if it has transgressed. Who pays the fine? We do, because they pass the cost of the fine onto their customers - so it does not have very much effect, at all. But who is responsible? There are real people in the company and the object of the Ecocide act is not just aimed at companies it is aimed at individuals... individual responsibility is the only way there will be any change.
Andrew Waite, environmental lawyer, former Vice Chair for Western Europe of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Commission on Environmental Law and former President of the European Environmental Law Association, said
I think it's a good idea to make Ecocide a crime, it's a good idea of the very highest level of crimes, the most serious crimes, and also it should be imposed as a crime in cases where people have been negligent or were at fault in some way.
Melanie Strickland from Wild Law UK
I see the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and Earth Rights very much going hand in hand with Ecocide, like two sides to one coin. This campaign from what I've seen of it so far is very effective and the people involved in it are extremely committed and the best people to take this forward.
David Hart QC, environmental lawyer and barrister, said
It's an idea that just has to come, really [criminalising ecocide]. It's turning something which humans as a whole regard as a crime into something which is internationally recognised.
Michael Stewart SC, past President of the Australian Bar Association, said
That [the injustice of companies recognised as a 'legal person'] seems to be exacerbated in my mind by the fact that what seems to be the major right of the corporation to make profit at a cost to everything else. The major principle, the first principle, the one to which all others bow, is the accepted obligation of the company and it's directors to profit.
Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice and WFC councillor, said
If people of the Stone Age had been able to cause damage to the environment and to our generation, we would have condemned them as savages, brutes and barbarians. Our generation and particularly those who are specially entrusted with the care of the environment will have to answer before the bar of history for our default and abuse of trust.
Simon Hamilton, Co-Founder and Director, The Hamilton Group
Having devised and organised the Ecocide Mock Trial at The Supreme Court of the UK, I have got to know the arguments for and against Ecocide. I am convinced that making Ecocide a Crime against Peace will make Heads of State and those who run corporations think very carefully about authorising activities which might lead to major environmental damage. Building Restorative Justice into the proposed Ecocide Act as part of the sentencing process can only help to bring greater understanding and awareness of the need to change thinking and raise awareness of the damage done to humans and non-humans in the pursuit on non-sustainable extractive processes.
Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion and former leader of the Green Party of England and Wales, said
Establishing the law of ecocide would signal a major breakthrough in the way we deal with crimes against the natural world. Polly Higgins’ groundbreaking proposal to list ecocide as the fifth global crime against peace would go a long way towards deterring and holding to account CEOs, companies and nations which cause, in Higgins’ words, "the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory... to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished”. Ranking ecocide alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression, and war crimes would empower the courts to charge chief executives and members of boards of directors for environmental vandalism. Whether it’s oil drilling in the Arctic, deforestation in the Amazon, or overfishing in the Atlantic, activities which impact severely on global ecosystems would be brought under far closer scrutiny. It could also play a significant role in encouraging companies to drop the dirty, polluting industries of old, and invest in the clean technologies and renewable energy solutions of the future.
Kennedy Graham, New Zealand parliamentarian wrote
There is a gathering movement to make ‘ecocide’ – the mass destruction of the natural environment – a crime in international law. Friends of the Earth have suggested that, “ecocide law may be the only way to make climate criminals rethink crimes of commission and omission”. A leading campaigner, Polly Higgins, toured New Zealand earlier this year. But ecocide might be more pertinent to corporations or individuals – it’s a stretch to capture national leaders criminally on climate change.
Michael Meacher, MP and former Environment Minister, said
"There are some things we simply should not do; leave quite a lot of oil deep in the ocean or destroy vast quantities of boreal forest or pristine wilderness... in order to extract that increment of oil. There is a red line in politics, it has not yet been applied to the environment. This is what an Ecocide law will do.
Keith Taylor, MEP
We see destruction and devastation of our planet on a daily basis. These are crimes against the environment, against nature, and in turn against humanity. It is time for these to be recognised as crimes in law, which is why I support Polly Higgins and her Law of Ecocide."
Kriton Arsenis, MEP
Ecocide is the missing fifth Crime Against Peace
Casper ter Kuile, campaigner and co-founder of UKYCC
When we start to understand that crimes against nature are crimes against ourselves, then we will be able to achieve sustainability. I hope Ecocide will help us get there.
Jake Leeper, Co-Director of UKYCC
It is clear that establishing Ecocide as a crime is an important step on the path forward to a clean, just future. Responsibility for our actions must be taken today and not just passed on to future generations. It is important to remember that this is not just about numbers and targets but is about people’s lives, communities, and the places we live in."
Religion & spirituality
Ervin Laszlo, President, Club of Budapest
In these days when the human impact on the environment is becoming everyday more evident and proves to be not only damaging to our surroundings but a serious threat to human life and survival, it is imperative that we should declare Ecocide a Crime Against Peace.
I'm supporting Polly Higgins on her big big idea of making Ecocide a Crime Against Peace. It should be a crime because what we call the environment is our universal body; the trees are our lungs, the rivers our circulation. If our trees didn't breathe we wouldn't breathe; the air is our breath. It's our body that we are killing and that's why we need to make it a crime."