The award winning author, barrister and international ecocide law advocate passed away on the 21st of April. Higgins, a British barrister, led a decade-long campaign for “ecocide” to be recognised as a crime against humanity.
She was diagnosed last month, at the age of 50, with an aggressive cancer and given six weeks to live.
Polly had been campaigning to make ecocide an international crime and had launched a push for businesses to be made liable for any harm they do to the environment.
She presented her proposal for ecocide to be recognised as an international crime to the United Nations Law Commission, describing it as ‘one simple law to protect the Earth’.
She gave up her job and sold her house to finance the campaign.
Polly was also author of “Eradicating Ecocide” and created the first non-commercial trust fund for Earth Protectors.
The Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative (GRLI) announced the news of Polly’s death on twitter, posting: “A sad day and big loss to our community. Polly will be sorely missed but always remembered for her incredible work.”
Simon McBurney wrote: “Polly Higgins has left us. Inspirational friend, campaigner, lawyer, she dedicated her life to hold those committing ecocide to account. We must finish what she started.”
Women’s Voices Matter tweeted: “May her legacy live forever.
“Her dying wish was that we all sign up to Stop Ecocide: Change the Law.
“Everyone can sign up as an Earth Protector via https://www.stopecocide.earth/ ”
Stroud MP David Drew added to the tributes, saying: “Like so many people in Stroud, and indeed across the globe, I was sad to learn of the death of pioneering climate campaigner, Polly Higgins.
“Polly chose to make Stroud her home. This is a town which has a proud history of being at the forefront of change – and change is essential.
“The climate crisis is quite simply the biggest issue of our time. The growing cacophony of voices calling for action – from the Extinction Rebellion campaign, to Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and Mark Carney – must not continue to be ignored.
“Climate change has been ignored by this government, which has eroded support for renewable energy. It is little wonder that frustrations are running high.
“I support the calls for proper government recognition that the crisis exists and the need for urgent action.
“Climate change is also a consequence of an economic system based on inequality. Taking the economy out of the control of the super-rich and creating a fairer more equal society will also create a greener world.
“Polly led the way, with her imaginative approach to valuing our environment. I have no doubt that Stroud people will continue to build on her legacy and she will remain an inspiration to us all.”
Details of Polly’s funeral have now been announced: it is set to take place on Friday, May 3 at 10am. This will be followed by her burial in Slad, close to where she lived. Everyone is welcome at the service.
Polly requested that nobody should wear black.
Only a few words about this: Why do the good, useful and hopeful people go out of the live so early?
And the assholes, the torturers, the criminals live long and have so much time to destroy life and nature?
This is an injustice that we experience more often and that offends us deeply.
Thank you for everything you have done for nature and animals, Polly.
We will not forget you and we will continue to fight as you would have done.
My best regards to all, Venus