Earth is Our Business
By Polly Higgins
Review by Zarmina (Law)
I came across the concept of “ecocide” in BBC’s Law in Action podcast, which immediately ignited my interest in this previously un-codified crime and led me to read Earth is our Business (Polly Higgins). Higgins outlined the practicalities of creating sustainable governance in order to protect our future, through using the law. It follows the reasoning of legal scholars as to why ecocide should be added to the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC), becoming the fifth crime against peace. This fascinated me as it appears to blur facets of the legal system and demonstrates how the law is not invariable. The rising advocation of sustainability in the 21st century has perhaps catapulted the creation of this law and heightened my interest in this type of book. A seismic shift in international law would now be necessary to ensure consistency in the punishment of ecocide, as well as clarity on the legal duty of care humanity shares for the planet. This book emphasised to me that it is more important now than ever for it to be codified considering the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changes’ most recent report (in 2022), calling for a ‘code red for humanity’ due to the depreciating climate. This book hence led me to reflect on whether the law can positively impact climate change, and the extent of the law’s power to help reverse decades of destruction. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are interested in climate provisions and how they may intertwine with other aspects of life, like the law!
Earth is Our Business: Changing the Rules of the Game by Polly Higgins
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Published: 18 April 2023