Polly Higgins (EarthTalks)

Award-winning author, barrister & ecocide law expert

Polly stepped out of her career in London as a successful barrister to put her skills into use for just one client – the Earth. Walking away from a hugely lucrative career, Polly took up the mantle as an ecological lawyer to advance the international crime of ecocide. Building on her professional experience in court and her legal rigor, in 2010 she presented to the United Nations her proposal for ecocide to become an international crime (ecosystem destruction caused by corporate and State action), to protect the Earth and communities on the front-line of ecological and climate ecocide (ecosystem loss or damage caused by corporate and State in-action). Her not-for-profit, Ecological Defence Integrity, brings together lawyers, experts and judges internationally to advise on Ecocide law.

“My life-force is what informs me – and that is based on my conscience. It is my conscience that says I have a choice: to protect our Earth or to let it be destroyed.  For me it is unconscionable to walk away.  That is why we named our mission Mission Lifeforce – where you can sign up and become an Earth Protector too.”

Advocating for a law to protect the Earth

To advance ecocide as a crime, Mission Lifeforce was created. Mission Lifeforce is a growing international movement of Earth protectors based on a legal document, the Earth Protectors Trust Fund document. Going beyond first generation crowdfunding, this is the first time that a trust fund has been apostilled across the world to crowdfund for a new law to be put in place. Funds are ring-fenced, trusteeship is open to all regardless of age and jurisdiction.

Building a global community of conscientious protectors for the Earth acts as a safeguard for small nation States; countries that are at the frontline of climate change suffer some of the worst excesses of climate ecocide. You can become an Earth protector here.

You can read more about ecocide law at

Polly can be found on twitter @PollyHiggins and occasionally on facebook.


Polly is rethinking law from one simple overriding principle: ‘first do no harm.’  Ecocide, like apartheid and genocide, is a crime of serious magnitude. Ecocide crime is often referred to as missing State crime, corporate crime, eco-crime, leadership crime, a crime against peace.

 You can read more about Polly and ecocide crime on the Eradicating Ecocide website; you can watch the Advocate for the Earth documentary made by VPRO (the Dutch BBC) – a short 15 minute version is available in Dutch (captions in Spanish can be turned on) and you can be part of the growing movement of Earth Protectors.


Polly is the 2017 prizewinner of the Slovakian Ekotopfilm Award; she recently ranked as No.35 in Salt magazine’s 2016 Top 100 Inspiring Women of the world list and was the 2016 recipient of Polarbröd‘s Utstickarpriset for Future Leadership. She was the holder of the 2013/14 Honorary Arne Naess Professorship, Oslo University (non-academic); the keynote Rachel Carson Speaker for the 50th Anniversary Memorial Lecture (both in London and in the Netherlands); a recipient of the Honoris Causa Business Doctorate from the Business School of Lausanne, Switzerland; winner of the Peoples Book Award (non-fiction) for Eradicating Ecocide (2nd Edition published in 2015) and author of Earth is our Business. In recognition of her advocacy, she is hailed as ‘One of the world’s top ten visionary thinkers’ by the Ecologist Magazine.  She is the founder of the Earth Community Trust, co-founder of the Earth Law Alliance.

You can read more here.


Polly loves seaweed, raw chocolate and organic whisky – and sharing them with friends; biodynamics, flipping normatives, asking big questions and creative out-of the box thinking. She has a deep love of beauty in nature and in art and is greatly inspired by 17th Century Dutch art (discovered when she was an Erasmus student in Utrecht) – Cleasz Heda’s still life paintings, the Austrian artist and ecologist Hundertwasser, to name a few.  Would love to explore the remaining great wildernesses of the world.