Polly Higgins is a international environmental lawyer, barrister and initiator of Planetary Rights. In November 2008 Polly was invited to address the United Nations on the call for a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights, the 'hard law' to provide global governance and restoration for the planet at the UK & Northern Ireland conference on Climate Change. The initial rights presented are the right not to be polluted, the right to restorative justice and the freedom to a clean and healthy environment, which apply to all beings.
For the past three years she has worked closely with TREC a network of scientists and engineers, to help advance the concept of building concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in the desert to provide the world with clean electricity. Polly has lobbied and advised on EU and international legislative frameworks required for the implementation of CSP, is a Founder Member of the DESERTEC Foundation and now sits on its Supervisory Board.
As a consequence of this experience Polly formulated the idea of implementing a duty of care for the planet, which in turn led her to recognise the need for a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights. After addressing the United Nations in November 2008 Polly founded the campaign Trees Have Rights Too in order to gain global support for a Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights. Polly is an advocate for the integration of Earth Jurisprudential principles into global governance systems.
More recently Polly has expanded the declaration into a wider all encompassing declaration, entitled the Universal Declaration of All Beings. This is a 'soft law' Declaration, which has come to be more commonly referred to as The People's Declaration. It is a guidance document setting out the values, responsibilities, rights and freedoms for all. It is based on the commonality of all beings, transcending all religions and belief systems. It can be applied individually and collectively, as well as nationally and internationally. See Trees Have Rights Too for fuller details.
In April 2008 Polly also founded WISE Women in Sustainability and the Environment – an international network set up to provide a voice for more women in the environmental field, brings together women who are working on sustainability and environment related issues. The Wise Women Speaker Database promotes Wise Women with particular expertise in related areas.
Recently voted, in March 2009, by The Ecologist magazine as "One of the Top Ten Visionaries to Save the Planet" for her work on Planetary Rights, Polly is a renowned international speaker and expert on the integration of Earth Jurisprudential principles into global governance systems.