The remarkable Polly Higgins is my guest today. I had become aware of her work several years ago then heard her talk in Brisbane in early 2014. As a life long student of Buckminster Fuller, Polly is a trimtab, taking what might look like a very small action that will have massive implications for the long term health of Earth. I simply love her work. She has a deep respect for business which is rare for someone so passionate about the long term health of Earth.

Bio, in Polly’s words

I am someone who cares deeply about the Earth. I’m also a lawyer who loves the Earth. It’s not often lawyers talk about love – and it can feel strange to do so. However, I believe love and law can be brought together and when the two meet, the potential to create new laws that put people and planet first is born.

I’m rethinking law; my vision is a world that works from one simple overriding principle: ‘first do no harm.’  That is a world where people are thriving in harmony with nature. I believe in well-being for all beings and I apply permaculture principles to new law.

My latest book is I Dare You To Be Great. Due out on the 1st of November 2014, you can pre-order it here.

I have also written Eradicating Ecocide and Earth is our Business – both of which examine in depth the power of a law of Ecocide to enable individuals, communities, governments and NGO’s to bring to court prosecutions to examine the evidence of a given Ecocide and have the support of the law to prevent, prohibit and in some instances pre-empt the mass damage and destruction that is causing or is likely to cause significant harm.

In recognition of my services to the Earth, in 2013 I received Honoris Causa Business Doctorate from the Business School of Lausanne, took the seat as the Honorary Arne Naess Professor at Oslo University, was named the Earth’s Lawyer by the Change Awards and ‘One of the world’s top ten visionary thinkers’ by the Ecologist Magazine.

My current focus of enquiry is on leadership crime, closing the door to dangerous industrial activity and creating a legal duty of care.

Much of my time is put to best use writing, speaking and advising on an international law of Ecocide. I advise at all levels; governmental, legal and non-legal. I connect with a wide-range of organisations, NGO’s and lawyers. I am a barrister, author and Chairwoman of the Eradicating Ecocide Global Initiative. I co-founded the Earth Law Alliance and I am a leading advocate for Earth law.  You can read more about my work here.

I love nature and I seek out the wild.


Show notes

*Bringing the law of ecocide into International Law, this will create a level playing field right across the board.

*CEO’s and directors must determine if there activity is going to cause harm, and if so, it becomes criminal activity

*Those who move fast will have first mover advantage.

*5 year ecocide amnesty period – allows the time to train people up in new skills

*Currently we have treaties, conventions and protocols, which do not have any enforcement mechanisms. So zero consequences if you do not follow through.

*Criminal law has consequences. Ecocide will be part on International Criminal Law.

*The law will apply to CEO’s, Heads of State etc.

*The law at the moment is to put the shareholders first.

*Politicians are falling into the trap of putting profit first. This is short term thinking. They are saying this is a ‘good’ harm, because it helps the economy today.

*In criminal law it is an aggravating feature if you are making money out of something that is causing harm. There is no such thing as a good or bad harm. There is simply harm.

*Why have we become so numbed out about the harm we have been doing to the Earth?

*Got expelled from school for standing up to a teacher who was bullying a child.

*Morally what we are doing to the Earth is a crime.

*The law plays catch up with where the society is going.

*Assistance is required for companies during the transition.

*The flow of investment won’t touch a company that is undertaking criminal activity.

*”The Earth is in need of a good lawyer.” How do we create a legal duty of care for the earth.

*A quester asks a big question.

* Propose that this law is tabled in the next year, 2015, and be fully operational in 2020. It requires one Head of State who is a signatory to the Rome Statue to call for this to be amended.

*Keeping this out in the public domain in a big way. Ecocide was to become an international crime between 1985 and 1996 when it was removed during a closed door meeting.

*Ecocide was proposed in 1972, and perhaps even earlier.

*”Had I known what was going to be involved I would have said no way.”

*”My way of being is aligned with my way of doing.With what I value in life.”

*Daring myself to be great. Believe there is something greater at play. It has been an exploration of what it is to dare to be great.

*When human law is aligned with spiritual law then harmony shall prevail.

*First do no harm and when we do that all that flows from it can only be beautiful.

*”Thinking dutifully, acting beautifully.” Arne Naess

*From significant harm to significant harmony

*Ecocide is a trimtab

*Inner ecocide

*Where do you choose to put your energies in life? Align with what you care about and what you are doing. How to fast -track…

*The eye of the storm, in the middle of deepest doubt…go back to first principles.

*Enough….there must be another way. Calling in the help. Where can I go here? The help comes from deep within. Allow yourself to feel that deep pain. Now how can I use my unique skills to take this forward?

*Getting better at feeling, not just feeling better. If we do not feel we numb out, and our decision making becomes corrupt.

*Corrupt = cour (the heart) rupturing of the heart. The inability to feel.



Polly Higgins

Rome Statute

Eradicating Ecocide

Arne Naess

Deep ecology

Buckminster Fuller

I Dare You to Be Great, book



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