Segments in this Video

Making Ecocide an International Crime: Polly Higgins—Introduction (01:16)


Silver Donald Cameron introduces "the lawyer for the Earth" and explains ecocide. Higgins fights to have the U.N. recognize ecocide as a crime against peace.

Law of Ecocide (04:16)

An American magazine labeled Higgins as one of the top 10 most unreasonable people in the world. Higgins wants the law to supersede corporate profit obligations; the law creates a legal duty of care to people and planet before profit. Higgins believes the law encourages innovation.

Absolution of Corporate Responsibilities (04:19)

Higgins cites an 1886 Santa Clara case that declared companies have the same rights as blacks; it created an imbalance in justice. Under criminal law, the court has the power to close a company.

What is Ecocide? (04:45)

The term ecocide provides practical application and legal definition. Higgins defines ecocide as extensive damage or loss of ecosystems and explains the two types. International criminal law is at the top of the crime hierarchy.

Statute of Rome (03:39)

Higgins states that the Rome Statute is a separate document from the Rome Treaty. She explains the codification document and its purpose. A just system can be applied to getting an ecocide amendment to the Rome Statute.

Checks and Balances of Political Rule (05:10)

The Green Interview team found that several legal processes compensate for the failure of democratic processes. Higgins cites the importance of the rule of law; the ecocide law is about state and corporate crime. Hear an example of how the ecocide law works in practice.

Rome Statute Mechanism (04:47)

The United States is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, but George Bush could be prosecuted for war crimes if he travels to signatory states; a case must be prepared and ready for indictment if he should arrive. The ecocide law would affect non-signatory states.

Forced Innovation (03:44)

The law of ecocide affects the flow of money and enables investment in innovation. Higgins cites the U.S. government's actions during WWII that forced the mass production of planes. The "can do mentality" can be applied to the law of ecocide.

Crimes against Nature, Human Rights, and Future Generations (04:34)

Under the law of ecocide, sates that fail to stop dangerous industrial activity or fail to provide assistance will be held accountable. Higgins considers the human right to life, environmental rights, and long-term impacts in context with ecocide.

Ecocide, an International Crime (05:16)

The law would force chemical companies to be careful about what they release into the environment; it encourages biodiversity programs. Ecocide cases are a matter of evidence, not opinion; harm can occur in many ways and be hidden.

Previous Ecocide Attempt (05:16)

In the 1990s, ecocide nearly made the list of international crimes. Higgins reflects on what happened; UN documents revealed that corporate lobbying may have been the reason for failure. Ecocide law activism is increasing.

Engaging the United Nations (04:06)

In 2010, Higgins proposed that an international law of ecocide be made a crime against peace. She explains the steps she took to make the proposal; the legal system is accessible to everyone.

Rights of the Natural World (03:44)

Higgins reflects on the momentum of ecocide law support. Millions of people understand the fundamental relationship between humans and the natural world.

Leading the Way (02:09)

A state must push to make ecocide the fifth crime against peace. Higgins reflects on Bolivia's role and discusses participating in a mock tribunal.

Internal Ecocide and Global Consciousness (05:46)

Internal ecocide describes patterns of harm that exist in our lives and prevent us from stepping into our greatness. Higgins considers perceptions that non-climate experts, including the faith community, may have about speaking out against climate change. Climate justice is about the duty of care.

Fighting Limitations (04:50)

Many people believe that without specialized knowledge, they should not speak out against climate change. Higgins considers the Urgenda climate case and why ecocide was removed from two documents in 1996. Ecocide law is a legacy issue.

Earth Law (00:51)

Cameron recaps Polly Higgins' credentials and suggests other Green Interview programs.(Credits)

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Making Ecocide an International Crime: Polly Higgins

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $169.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $254.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



This episode of the Green Interview features lawyer Polly Higgins, who in 2010 proposed to the United Nations that a law of Ecocide to be classed as the 5th Crime Against Peace. She defines ecocide as the “extensive damage, destruction to or loss of ecosystems of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished." The term inhabitants here includes ALL living beings, not just people. Higgins has been a vocal spokesperson on Earth Law for a number of years and is recognised as an expert in her field. She argues that current environmental laws aren’t working because they haven’t been able to protect the environment against severe degradation. She also says the laws that govern corporations put profit first: a company has a legal duty to maximize its profits to its shareholders and that a law of ecocide would supersede this and impose a provision that makes us look to the consequences of the profit-making activity.

Length: 69 minutes

Item#: BVL139602

ISBN: 978-1-64023-780-3

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video customers.