B-WEL bid could put destroyers in the dock

Polly Higgins.
Polly Higgins.

A new group could be set up by townspeople seeking to make the destruction of the ecosystem into an international crime against peace.

The suggestion was made during a speech by Polly Higgins in the second evening lecture at Ashlyns School, organised by sustainability group Transition Town Berkhamsted.

Trained barrister Polly described how she gave up pursuing personal injury claims in the courthouse ‘to become the lawyer for the Earth’.

She now hopes to get ecocide – the term given to the intentional destruction of ecosystems – made a recognised crime by 2020.

The 130 people in her audience were definitely impressed and suggested setting up a new group to show their town’s support for her campaign.

It would be called B-WEL: Berkhamsted Wants Ecocide Law, following on from the recently-formed group S-WEL: Stroud Wants Ecocide Law.

Polly said ecocide was an international crime against peace from 1972 to 1996, when the UK, USA and Netherlands lobbied it to be dropped.

Leader of Transition Town Berkhamsted John Bell said: “The law can and should be passed.

“There are 121 countries signed up to make it so. All that is needed for it to be tabled is for one of those countries to put it forward. To do so, they need a mandate from their people.”

He said B-WEL would help provide this, though the group is still in its infancy.

He said anyone interested in the idea should visit www.transitionberkhamsted.org.uk to find out more.