Austria set to lead on global law against Ecocide

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“When I was sixteen I punched my art teacher. So hard he ended up on the ground” is how Polly Higgins ‘Lawyer for the Earth’ begins her new talk about how she as a child stood up to injustice in her school (see her talk at

Polly Higgin’s work on a ‘law to end ecocide’ is also about standing up to injustice, this time for our collective global environment. Her international campaign to end Ecocide is gathering further momentum.

Recently she went to Vienna to give a speech on ecocide to Austrian leaders. Austria was apparently the first to sign the legal campaign against slavery; and the route to end slavery is something Higgins has often referred to in her work on ending ecocide:

‘Polly Higgins and Thomas Linzey, a leading lawyer working in the US, and growing numbers of leading international legal people and researchers, are arguing that in much the same way that slavery and disenfranchisement against women were perpetuated by seeing other races and women ‘as property’, that changing laws to overturn the erroneous idea that natural ecosystems be regarded as property, will powerfully and legally shift corporations away from
committing crimes of ecocide’ (Fitzgerald, 2013).

Its very interesting to see (if you read German) that a motion has already been tabled in the Austrian Government to build cross-party support for an amendment to the Rome Statute (the international framework of global law) to include a law of Ecocide.  Austria’s Green Party have also gone public with their support (they were obviously following Ireland’s lead here 😀 though The Green Party of England and Wales also unanimously adopted a motion to view Ecocide as a crime last September ).

In fact, something I have been meaning to do since successfully having the Irish Green Party Motion to End Ecocide adopted, was to create an easy to read and share pdf of my Eradicating Ecocide in Ireland to make sustainability legal (2013) article. Particularly as I have noticed the Young Irish Greens have mentioned ecocide in their work.

I have done this now and updated the article with recent developments, there is a new video to engage younger people on signing and sharing the petition to end ecocide. You can read, SHARE and download it here

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