Letter to the editor

Definition of 'ecocide'

John Anastasio described “ecocide” in his guest opinion column of July 8. My letter provides a definition of the term and introduces the Earth’s Lawyer.

The term was first recorded in 1970 at the Conference on War and National Responsibility in Washington, where a new international agreement to ban ecocide was put forward.

The legal definition of ecocide proposed, to the United Nations in 2010 by UK lawyer Polly Higgins, was: "The extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) 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 or will be severely diminished.“

Polly Higgins was named the Earth’s Lawyer by the Change Awards and selected as ‘One of the world’s top ten visionary thinkers’ by the Ecologist Magazine. Her current foci are on leadership crime, closing the door to dangerous industrial activity and creating a legal duty of care.

She is a barrister (Scotland), author and chairwoman of the Eradicating Ecocide Global Initiative and co-founder of the Earth Law Alliance.

Joanna Niemann


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