Earthrise: Mock Trial for Ecocide

Big Thinker: Polly Higgins

In most countries the environment has no legal rights, but environmental lawyer Polly Higgins is trying to change that.

In April 2010, Polly Higgins, a Scottish lawyer, proposed to the United Nations that ‘ecocide’, the mass damage or destruction of ecosystems, be classed as a crime under international law, alongside genocide, crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes.

Polly has gained worldwide acclaim for her work, and her latest project has been to set up a keenly anticipated mock trial to examine how an Ecocide Act would play out in practice.

Al Jazeera’s Russell Beard joined Polly at London’s Supreme Court, where two senior barristers and their teams were preparing for an event that could pave the way for dramatic changes to the way ‘eco crimes’ are prosecuted.