Port Eliot Festival - a packed house in the stunning Round Room venue.
Rory Spowers of The Re-Generation , in discussion with Jojo Mehta, co-founder with the late Polly Higgins of the Stop Ecocide initiative, exploring how changing the rules of the game enables a deep shift in humanity’s relationship to Nature
Over the last few centuries, humanity has separated itself from nature to such a degree that we seem intent on destroying the very systems that support life itself, through our relentless economic activities to supply passive ‘consumers’.
Nature has become merely 'natural capital'. But should we not see the destruction of rainforests, biodiversity, clean water sources and a stable climate, as atrocity crimes on a par with genocide, but of the natural world?
This is the premise upon which barrister Polly Higgins and activist Jojo Mehta founded the Stop Ecocide: Change the Law initiative to establish ‘the Missing International Crime of our Time’.
Joining The Re-Generation founder Rory Spowers, Jojo Mehta explain the power of this one simple law to stem the tide of corporate destruction, realigning human law with a higher, universal law - and how you can be part of that.
Rory Spowers - Founder and Editor
Jojo Mehta talking on the Forge Stage at Boomtown fair, about Stop Ecocide: Change the Law - just before Xavier Rudd - Official - Official came on stage.......& she gave him an #earthprotectors tshirt!
💚& gratitude to Xavier and Boomtown for this!
Here's the song:
An #EarthProtector sent in this great reggae track with a big earworm of a hook - think it could be the #festival song for next year?
Rough demo bit.ly/2KBpbGm - interested in doing a remix? get in touch, its waiting for a #reggae star & some big dub bass on that chorus!
The work and legacy of visionary, Earth Lawyer Polly Higgins is being continued by her growing team based in the UK, The Netherlands and internationally.
Polly’s colleague and co-founder of Stop Ecocide: Change the Law, Jojo Mehta is co-ordinating the team.
Film by Andy Squiff
Polly's is included in contribution to a book called "Letters to the Earth"
"HarperCollins has acquired world rights to a collection of letters from the arts sector and wider public urgently responding to the climate crisis.
With an introduction by Dame Emma Thompson and notable contributions from Yoko Ono, Mark Rylance, Kate Tempest, Laline Paull, Richard Holloway, Daniela Torres Perez (co-founder of UK Student Climate Network), Simon McBurney, Matthew Todd, Polly Higgins, Dr Gail Bradbrook and Caroline Lucas MP.
The book will also include words and illustrations by CILIP Kate Greenaway prize-winner Jackie Morris.
The public are invited to continue writing and sharing their letters in the run up to the anthology's publication on 14th November.
The book will be published on recycled paper, with all royalties going towards ongoing creative campaigning for environmental justice."
"This autumn, as Extinction Rebellion ramps up international activities, The Global Climate Strike calls on children and adults alike, and the movement of climate and ecological declarations widens, a collection of Letters to the Earth will be published by HarperCollins - letters from the arts sector and wider public urgently responding to the climate and ecological crisis.
Published in partnership with the climate and ecological movement Culture Declares Emergency, the letters will be co-curated by novelist Anna Hope, director Jo McInnes and theatre-maker Kay Michael, with an introduction by Dame Emma Thompson. The anthology will be published this November, as the public continue to write and share their letters. The book will be published on recycled paper, with all royalties going towards ongoing creative campaigning for environmental justice.
Earlier this year Culture Declares Emergency invited the British public to put pen to paper and write a letter to the Earth. The invitation was open to all – to think beyond the human narrative and bear witness to the scale of the crisis. Letters of love, loss, hope and action were written by over 1000 people worldwide – from school children to great grandparents, authors, scientists, nurses.
Letters to the Earth weaves the voices of children and the public together with notable contributions from Yoko Ono, Mark Rylance, Kate Tempest, Laline Paull, Jay Griffiths, writer Nick Drake, Rob Cowen, Richard Holloway, Daniela Torres Perez (founder of UK Student Climate Network), Simon McBurney, Matthew Todd, Polly Higgins, Dr Gail Bradbrook, Farhana Yamin, Jem Bendell, Joanna Macy and Caroline Lucas MP. The book will also include words and illustrations by CILIP Kate Greenaway prize-winner Jackie Morris. Together they are an invitation to consider how this existential threat affects the way we live our lives and the action we take.
Grace Pengelly, Assistant Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins says, ‘These letters are in conversation, they talk to each other, plot rebellion and conspire about something called hope. They document the global, intergenerational conversation about the future of our earth that we are all a part of – between children and grandparents, politicians and activists, scientists and playwrights. Collectively, they dare us to imagine a new story, one that rethinks and re-imagines how we do everything.’
Anna Hope, Letters to the Earth team member and novelist says, ‘I can’t think of another volume that has such potential to move, challenge and console us in these times of crisis. The writing in Letters to the Earth - much of it from children - does not shy away from the terrifying scale of the threat we all face, and offers no easy answers, but there is wisdom in these words. These are dark times, but this collection is a small fierce light – that may just help us to find our way home.’
Jackie Morris says, ‘Letters to the Earth is a collection of heart-songs to our planet. Written at a time when we have a choice to face the knowledge that humanity have, by their actions, done incredible damage to the ecosystem, and at a time when we have a last chance to make a change. They are not a call to arms, but a call to link arms and work together, using all of our imagination to find ways to cure, to heal both ourselves and the earth.’"
Australia trying to make up for opening new coal mines? Mopping the floor with the tap running?
We trust the Pacific Forum this week is going to be looking for more concrete solutions than this.
Ecocide law can turn off that tap.
Jojo says: "Really psyched I get to speak on stage this eve right before Xavier Rudd at Boomtown... I'm such a fan, he is so on message... "
The blue boat, named 'Polly Higgins' by Extinction Rebellion, in honour ofPolly Higgins Earth Lawyer - 1968-2019 - is now on display in the grounds of the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich / Royal Museums Greenwich
“A boat used during protests by Extinction Rebellion is now on display at the National Maritime Museum.
Activist group Extinction Rebellion used the boat during their summer 2019 protests calling for urgent action on climate change."
International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples - 9 August 2019
"Indigenous peoples and other local communities have long argued that they play a central role in safeguarding more than half the world’s land, including much of its forests. The world’s leading climate scientists agree."
Esquire is talking about this? Mainstream!
"The oil giants might finally pay for pulling the biggest hoax of all"
Fiji speaking out:
"'Fight for our lives': Fiji calls world leaders 'selfish' as it lays out climate crisis blueprint"
The ‘Polly Higgins’ on display at the Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich - how about that?!
We look forward to providing them with some more detail about why she was named that way...
“A boat used during protests by Extinction Rebellion is now on display at the National Maritime Museum.
Activist group Extinction Rebellion used the boat during their summer 2019 protests calling for urgent action on climate change.
The blue boat, named 'Polly Higgins' after the environmental campaigner and barrister, is now on display in the grounds of the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.”
Monbiot is spot on as usual.
Corporations normally fund laws.
It's time for US to fund one that WE want - that will actually protect the planet rather than fuel the fires.
"Extinction Rebellion and Polly's work (Stop Ecocide) are very intimately linked spiritually, emotionally and in friendship, in love, in solidarity and also very practically" (Dr Gail Bradbrook)
Incredible few days at Green Gathering ! Absolutely brilliant festival in Chepstow.
BIG thanks to 'Speakers Forum' who welcomed us and let us set up base camp.
We met some incredible people, made friends, established contacts and welcomed new #earthprotectors.
Co-Founder Jojo Mehta gave an amazing talk on Sunday to a packed marquee.
Law in many parts of the world really is UPSIDE DOWN.
Support an international law of ecocide to make it clear that the real crime is destroying the natural world, not standing up to defend it.
Co-founder Jojo Mehta spoke to the crowds and the Stop Ecocide team shared information from base camp in the campaigns field.
The amazing artwork entitled 'Pollywood' created by Jules Ellison was also displayed at base camp and stopped may passers by in their tracks!
When agriculture sees ecocide law approaching it will massively incentivise positive change in land use.
The solutions are out there - we need the enforcement to nudge farmers and corporations in the right direction.
You may be joining a protest, a roadblock, an XR action…if so, becoming an Earth Protector has a special value for you.
It provides primary evidence for the courts that you are not a criminal but acting from your conscience to prevent harm (not to cause it).
RIGHT TO FREEDOM OF CONSCIENCE
We all have the human right to act according to our conscience and deeply held beliefs, as long as we are not harming or endangering others by doing so (ECHR article 9, UDHR article 18).
This right was peacefully campaigned for over decades by the Conscientious Objectors of the 20th century who saw the harm of war and wanted no part of it.
When what informs our conscience is sound scientific research, and the desire to protect humanity and the Earth from harm, then exercising that right is not only justified but an act of moral necessity.
In the 21st century, Conscientious Protectors are not only refusing to take part in the harm being inflicted upon the natural world, but feel compelled to take non-violent direct action to prevent it.
Film by Andy Squiff
Stop Ecocide co-founder Jojo Mehta comments on the 'UK government’s problem of perception'.
The UK government just responded to our petition calling for ecocide to be recognised as a criminal offence in the UK - and the response was sadly inadequate to the ecological crisis we face: “The Government neither recognises the term “ecocide” nor does it intend the suggested concept a criminal offence. There are already strong regulations in place...”
Such regulations are inadequately enforced, but the problem is far deeper than lack of enforcement of existing environmental regulations. It's about the inability to understand how intimately not only our health but our survival is linked with a thriving natural world. If environmental regulation was enough we wouldn't be in the mess we're in.
Stopping the harm is not about enforcing the rules, it's about changing the rules, at such a fundamental level that it is about morals and survival. This is the arena of CRIMINAL law. Murder is a crime because we recognise that killing another human being is unacceptable on a moral level and because it protects human life. Ecocide should likewise be a crime because large-scale destruction of nature is not only morally unacceptable but unless we protect ALL life, we cannot protect human life for very much longer, as climate and ecological science are telling us very clearly.
As a very simple example, you wouldn't sit down with a business idea and try to work out how not to kill or seriously harm anybody doing it. There is already an underlying assumption that those are things that have to be avoided and so you don't even contemplate a business based on them. With environmental harm, we go to the government and get permits for it. Can you imagine saying to a government minister "may I have a permit for my new business? it may well involve beating people up on a regular basis and we may kill a number of people in the course of business but it will be great for job creation..."
And yet you can get a permit for fracking. You can get a permit to rig up a 5G communications system which includes chopping down trees wherever you like. You can get a permit to burn any old waste in one big incinerator and create load of brand new dangerous toxins in the process. I'm not even sure you need a permit to put pesticides on your land that destroy whole complex soil ecosystems.
This is how deeply the disconnect is embedded. That is why people are talking climate negotiations and green new deals and ambition and mitigation and litigation. It's all mopping the floor - but perhaps more graphically, it's like arguing over where and how often you can hit a woman without the damage actually preventing her from feeding her children... and how much you have to pay her children if you do. It's BONKERS. "Let's try a bit harder not to suffocate this woman…" WTF?!?!? How are we even having this discussion?
That's the level at which we need to be talking. If we get 100,000 signatures on our petition, perhaps we can begin that conversation in parliament. https://www.stopecocide.earth/blog/the-uk-governments-problem-of-perception
The core team from our non-profit Ecological Defence Integrity met up at the Vanuatan Embassy in Brussels this week for the 39th Anniversary of Vanuatu's Independence.
The garden party was attended by Vanuatan Ambassadors John Licht and Sumbue Antas, as well as Solomon Islands Ambassador Moses Kuni Mose. Tonga and West Papua representatives also attended.
EDI Director Jojo Mehta sampled Vanuatu's speciality (cava, a non-alcoholic herbal traditional drink), and was invited to address the guests on the subject of ecocide law and working with Vanuatu.
His Excellency John Licht paid a special tribute to Polly Higgins as part of the proceedings and welcomed her husband Ian Lawrie QC (present in a personal capacity) in her much regretted absence.