TRIBUTES have been paid to the pioneering campaigner and barrister Polly Higgins, an influential member of the green movement, who has died aged 50.

Ms Higgins led a long campaign for "Ecocide" to be recognised as a crime against humanity.

Ecocide is described as "loss or damage to, or destruction of ecosystem(s) of a given territory (ies) such that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished."

The multi-award winning Scottish lawyer was the author of the book, Eradicating Ecocide, first published in 2010.

She believed there should be a law against Ecocide that would make corporate executives and government ministers criminally liable for the damage done to ecosystems that would "protect the earth."

The much-praised lawyer, based in England, wanted Ecocide to be added to the list of international crimes at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.

Ms Higgins, who studied at Aberdeen University, Utrecht University and the University of Glasgow, once said: "The Earth is in need of a good lawyer."

Recently she said in an interview: "There are millions who care so much and feel so powerless about the future, and I would love to seem them begin to understand the power of this one, simple law to protect the Earth - to realise it's possible, even straightforward.

"I wish I could live to see a million Earth protectors standing for it - because I believe they will."

Tributes have been paid to Ms Higgins, who died of cancer, online.

Naomi Klein, the activist and writer, paid tribute on Twitter, writing: "So sad to hear of the loss of Polly Higgins. She devoted her life to changing broken laws that have failed so miserably to protect the natural systems upon which we all depend. Her work will live on."

George Monbiot, leading environmental writer, said Ms Higgins was "wonderful, world changing" and hoped her life's work would continue and succeed.