Rights of Nature – Amazon Rainforest Wisdom Immersion

An Invitation to Journey With Us, January 2014

Amazon forestThe fundamental principles encapsulated by Rights of Nature ─ of Mother Earth ─ are deeply rooted in the ancient wisdom of indigenous peoples. The Achuar and Kichwa peoples of the Upper Amazon of Ecuador maintain their ancient traditions living in harmony with their rainforest home.  It is no accident that in 2008 Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize Rights of Nature in its Constitution.

We are extending a special invitation to Rights of Nature, Rights of Mother Earth advocates and individuals who are looking to understand the essence of the movement on a deeper, more personal level.  Join us on a rare opportunity to travel with global Rights of Nature leaders: Cormac Cullinan, South African environmental attorney and author of Wild Law, Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network and Robin Milam, Administrative Director for Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, on an intimate rainforest immersion journey.  We travel at the invitation of the indigenous peoples of the upper Amazon in partnership with The Pachamama Alliance. This unique journey is an opportunity to experience the Rights of Nature movement at its source while visiting with indigenous peoples in their ancestral rainforest homes.

Tiinkias eyes We will visit the iconic Kichwa community of Sarayaku and Achuar communities around the remote Kapawi Lodge. These communities have taken bold, internationally acclaimed stands to protect their rainforest home and preserve their ability to live in harmony with nature.  Throughout our journey, we will engage in a multi-faceted examination of our relationship with the natural world, the recognition of Rights of Nature, and what it means personally, as a society, and globally to restore our natural balance with Mother Earth, Pachamama and all life.

Each of us has unique gifts that are indispensable to the success of humanity at this time of unprecedented challenge and opportunity. You’ll return from your Journey with greater awareness of these very gifts and how to use them to make a difference, having been freshly recalibrated to the rhythms of the natural world. Join us on what is surely to be a life altering journey.

Learn more about our itinerary and overall journey on Pachamama’s website at: http://www.pachamama.org/pachamama-journeys/2014-journey-dates/january-17-to-january-28-2014.

huazin at KapawiThe Pachamama Alliance and its sister organization, Fundación Pachamama supported the inclusion of Rights of Nature in Ecuador’s Constitution and are founding members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.

Journey Leader, Robin Milam first journeyed to the rainforest with Pachamama in 1997 and has been leading Pachamama Journeys for many years.  Participants have claimed “this is a journey of many lifetimes“.

Interested? Contact Robin at nature@therightsofnature.org or the Pachamama Journeys team and explore what this journey could be for you.

Stories from Around the World

We invite you to share your stories about Rights of Nature. Tell us examples of how rights of nature are being recognized in your community or around the world.

Please enter your story as a comment.  We reserve the right to edit stories out of respect for our broader earth community.

John Perkins speaking on Rights of Nature in Romania

Chief Economist and New York Times Bestselling Author, John Perkins traveled through Romania speaking about creating a socially just, environmentally sustainable and spiritually fulfilling future for our world.  In this interview with Alexandra Postelnicu, John speaks about the importance of recognizing Rights of Nature in Romania and around the world.

Chevron and Fossil Fuel Industry and Nature’s Rights

Sunday, October 5, 2014 a peoples’ tribunal convened by the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance found Chevron, its Richmond refinery and the fossil fuel industry guilty of “violations to human rights and rights of natural ecosystems.”  The Bay Area Tribunal puts forth a new vision of living in harmony with the earth and the natural world through recognizing the rights of nature. The rulings call for defining new economic models, social systems and governance structures to create a new path forward that recognize the interdependencies of humans and earth systems.

A distinguished Tribunal panel of judges included Carl Anthony, architect, author, urban strategist, co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project., Courtney Cummings, Bay Area Native, indigenous leader and Bay Area activist; Brian Swimme, author, professor and founder of the Center for the Story of the Universe; Bill Twist co-founder and CEO for the Pachamama Alliance and Anuradha Mittal founder and executive director Oakland Institute.  The judges shared opening statements before the Prosecutor and Defense presented their opening positions.

Prosecutor Linda Sheehan

Click for Tribunal story

Citing the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Prosecutor Linda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center outlined violations of nature’s rights and human rights by the Chevron refinery in Richmond and the broader fossil fuel industry. Ms Sheehan also outlined violations of the rights of communities to freely govern their own well-being, especially in light of Chevron’s controversial new expansion project, its support for specific Richmond candidates for local election, as well as questionable new legislation that would allegedly prevent full public transparency of industry operations.

Furthermore, Ms Sheehan asserted that the overarching governance and economic systems at large are co-conspirators in the violations of nature’s rights, human rights and community rights.

She challenged the judges to find that new laws, economic models and governance structures are needed to create a new path forward and urged that Chevron and the fossil fuel industry be required to support the emerging efforts to redesign legal, social and economic systems to recognize rights of natural systems and systemic solutions.

For the full story and videos of the hearings, visit Chevron and Fossil Fuel Industry – Peoples’ Tribunal on Rights of Nature 

Re-Visioning Our Relationship with the Earth: Lessons from ‘Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions’

Deeply aware of the crisis of socio-ecologic injustice created by a dominant system that values growth and profit above all else, an extraordinary group of panelist gathered to speak out at ‘Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions’ in New York City on September 22, 2014. The event, presented by WECAN International and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature as part of the mobilization surrounding the People’s Climate March and U.N. Climate Summit, focused on the need to redesign our social, political, economic and legal structures to function with respect to the rights of the Earth and the knowledge systems of the original stewards of the land, the worlds indigenous peoples.

Osprey Orielle Lake opening Rights of Nature NY “If our environmental law system was working we would not be in this crisis,” explained Executive Director of WECAN International, Osprey Orielle Lake, in her opening statement. “Our current laws do not stop pollution, they ‘regulate’ it and allow it to continue. We must disrupt this broken framework.”

Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network), Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange), Gloria Ushigua (Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador), Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center), and Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Indigenous Environmental Network) joined Lake to expose fundamental flaws in our current laws and management schemes, while presenting bold strategies for re-visioning these paradigms. The issue could not be more critical, speakers explained, as a shift to a system that treats the Earth as a rights bearing entity is a requirement for any genuine solutions to the climate crisis.

Rights of Nature Panel NY Church Center

Tom Goldtooth NYTom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network took the floor first, focusing on the need to learn from and re-allign with indigenous knowledge systems which conceive of the Earth as a vibrant, living Mother who must be cared for and respected. Tom explained how many climate action plans currently being considered, such as REDD carbon projects and biotechnology schemes, continue to violate the laws of nature and rights of the Earth in attempts to divide, conquer, and profit, ultimately making them false and highly destructive proposals. He emphasized that communities across the globe must reject twisted climate policies which continue to commodify and manipulate, instead coming back to “our true nature of working in harmony with Mother Earth.

Linda Sheehan Earth Law CenterLinda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center spoke next, reaffirming and expanding up Tom Goldtooths sentiment that our plans of action, movements, and policies must function with respect to the Rights of Nature.

According to Linda, our current legal structure overwhelmingly views the Earth as an entity to be traded, exploited, and degraded, leading to the continued failure of environmental law and policy. “We think we can chop up nature, we can control it. This is simply a misunderstanding,” she explained.

Working to challenge this flawed vision, Linda and allies at the Earth Law Center have been working with groups across the U.S. to create and instate new laws that put the rights of the Earth and communities above those of corporations, including notable successes in Santa Monica, California this year.

Gloria Ushigua - Sapara NYFrom the frontlines of the fight to end fossil fuel development in the Amazon Basin, Gloria Ushigua of the Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador shared her story next.

“We are here to defend our rights, our spirits, our forests,” Gloria explained, highlighting the ways that indigenous communities across the world, embedded firmly in a tradition that sees the Earth as a flourishing and living being, are already challenging conventional models and leading the way towards climate solutions

Gloria’s words however, also functioned to shake up the conversation as she explained how, despite the fact that the law in Ecuador officially gives rights to Nature, massive corporate and political violations continue. Thus, she implored, changing our legal framework much be but the first step, to be followed up with ceaseless civil society action to insure that those rights are respected on every level.

Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange  - NY Climate Summit on Rights of NatureShannon Biggs of the Global Exchange spoke next, expanding upon Gloria’s declaration that systemic change in climate solutions and our relationship with the Earth must come not only at the policy level, but at the level of communities and individuals across the globe.

“It all comes down to community, it is up to out communities to be stewards of the land,” Shannon explained, “we must challenge unjust law that says nature is property.”

Shannon continued on to detail the concrete ways that the Global Exchange and its partners are working to expand local ability to implement and enforce the Rights of Nature, focusing on community applications of these principles as tools for climate resiliency and the protection of the Earth.

Casey Camp Horinek-NYCasey Camp-Horinek of the Ponca Nation and Indigenous Environmental Network took the floor as the final presenter of the day. Her speech was one of hope, explaining to the audience that while the task of uprooting and re-visioning the dominant system seem daunting, this is only so when constrained under the false impression that politicians and economists are the center of ultimate power.

“If the sun did not rise today, would you be here? If you did not have a drink of water, would you be here today? THAT is the true power,” Casey explained, the audience erupting in applause.

Following the series of presentations, audience members and speakers engaged in a question and answer session that kept many enthralled in discussion for more than an hour after the official end of the event. Expanding upon earlier discussion surrounding mal-alligned climate policy that seeks to control and subdue nature, Linda Sheehan poignantly remarked, “they call it ecosystem management as is the earth has been unruly. No. We need to regulate ourselves.”

Notebook full of inspiring quotes, bitts of wisdom, strategies, ideas and tools, I set out after the event, eager to return home and start building alliances and making plans to enact the Rights of Nature in my community.

For more information about the Rights of Nature movement, check out: therightsofnature.org/ and wecaninternational.org/pages/rights-of-nature-international-advocacy-trainings

Also follow the Women Speak: Climate Justice and Solutions blog.

Submitted by and photos by Emily Arasim, WECAN International Special Projects & Communications Coordinator

2014 Women’s Congress for Future Generations November 7-9

Future First 2014 Women's Congress Nov 7-9, 2014 Minneapolis, MN

Why Are Women Standing Up To Protect the Planet?

Women are coming together now because we know we must. Strong women fought for equal rights for all of us. Now, we’re in a new phase in which we are taking seriously our responsibility for things we must change. We are determined that our grandchildren and their children will not look back and say “But you knew what was happening to the environment and you didn’t take action? What were you thinking?”

  • Do you believe we’re at a tipping point in being able to prevent the slow, persistent devastation of our planet?
  • Do you want to learn how to have heart-led conversations about climate change – without having to know all the facts?
  • Are you ready now to stand up for what you believe and value?
  • Do you want to link arms with others to help protect our planet from destruction?

We now know that the very foundation and source of our lives, our health, our children’s health, and our economy are all in danger if we do not take action now.

What do we know?

The planet’s diverse ecosystems are collapsing. The plight of the bees, the butterflies and now the birds – even our beloved Loon – are evidenced in major population decline.
Fracking is heralded as key to our nation’s clean energy future despite ample research evidencing the serious long-term consequences to the land, water and air – and to our health.
The oceans are in danger; as carbon emissions go up, the heat is warming the oceans and causing untold damage.
The many chemicals we now are exposed to are responsible for much of the disease in us and in children. The very womb is now toxic in too many ways.

The good news is, more and more people are waking up to this truth each day and asking themselves:

  • What is my role?
  • What can I do in order to look future generations in the eye and say:  Yes, I did know what was happening and I took action?
  • How then shall I stand up to protect the planet?

Great events culminating in big ideas change the course of history – Think Seneca Falls, The March on Washington and the more recent People’s Climate March. The Women’s Congress is such an event, whose bold ideas and actions can change the course of history.

YOUR voice is needed at the Women’s Congress for Future Generations. Check here for more details.

The time is now. Men, you’re encouraged to attend, too! Join us!

WHY WE NEED YOU

The Women’s Congress will focus on the link between our economic systems and the environmental issues of climate change and chemicals.

It connects women from all ages, backgrounds and cultural groups who are concerned about climate change, environmental and economic justice, the health of our children, and who are committed to ending the chemical pollution of our bodies and Mother Earth.

We are standing together, withdrawing our consent to a toxic future, and crafting a new way forward – together. We’re saying ENOUGH to short-term, shortsighted decisions. We must think of the children, the grandchildren and the generations that follow.

The Women’s Congress brings together some of the planet’s best researchers, thought leaders, scientists, activists and artists for an event that will inspire ideas and energize action to truly shift the status quo. It’s an event like no other – you’ll challenge your mind with national and international speakers, workshops and panel discussions. You’ll open your heart with music, art and spoken word. Dozens of leading experts are participating to provide a full spectrum of learning, discussion and ideas – see website for complete speaker list.

At the conclusion of the event, our participants will be asked to bring their experiences, enthusiasm and real actions into communities across this country. For example, we are creating a Kitchen Table Kit, an online, interactive web-based platform of actionable ideas and resources for people facing threats in their own communities or seeking ways to improve their communities. Despite the challenges we face, we are all fully capable of impactful action!

WOMEN’S CONGRESS PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

PRE-CONGRESS EVENTS-Thursday evening and Friday morning.
These events are open to everyone, whether they are attending the full Women’s Congress or not. See website for registration details.
WOMEN’S CONGRESS STARTS: Friday 1:30 and Ends Sunday 12:30
Some Key Speaker and Session Highlights

Sonia Davila-Poblete – The Interconnectedness of All Things
Sandra Steingraber – Climate, Carbon and Chemicals: Finding a Way Forward
Mary Pipher – From Despair to Hope: Reconnecting to the Sacred Web of Life
Riane Eisler – Creating a Caring Economy
Joanna Macy – Deep Ecology (video conversation)
Caucus of All Waters and the Women’s Congress in Session
Celebration of Life – Rachel Bagby, Ilene Evans and Barbara McAfee
Conscious Living, Game Changers, and Setting Goals Going Forward
Sharon Day – Our Call to Action
Closing Ceremony, Ratifying and Affirming the Declaration

2014 WOMEN’S CONGRESS WORKSHOPS
Informative! Pragmatic! Inspiring!

The Heart of Climate Change
An experiential workshop exploring how heart-led conversations and action builds a just and sustainable movement that will change the world.

Community Solar — No Roof Needed
This new model of ownership allows everyone with a utility bill to participate in the solar revolution – making solar less of a hassle, more affordable and accessible to all.

Using our Whole Selves, Our Full Voice to Effect Change
A highly interactive workshop to learn with some of the best coaches in the country; discover together practical and transformational ways to use our voices – an essential skill to effect change.

We are the Water!
Sharon Day, Nibi Water Walks, will engage participants in exploring their own relationship to bodies of water through art and writing. Participants will have the opportunity to express what they are willing to do for their own particular bodies of water.

Beyond the Plate: Working toward a just and sustainable food system
The US food system is far more complicated than most of us know – and many who labor long and hard to produce our food are not sharing in the bounty. Discover how we will all benefit from a more sustainable and just food system. LaDonna Redmond

Fracking, Mining and Pipelines! OH NO!
Should we allow America’s toxic mining into the watershed of America’s beloved Boundary Waters Wilderness Area or Fracking near the Finger Lakes of New York or along the bluffs of the Mississippi? Join activists in a stimulating conversation.

Fuel Change: Divest Invest
The worldwide movement to divest from fossil fuels and invest in our future is a student led movement. Why did it take off so quickly and garner such media attention and success? Come and learn from two insiders in the Divest Invest movement. Patty O’Keefe and Lisa Renstrom.

On the Commons and Rights of Nature
with Robin Milam of the Global Alliance speaking about Rights of Nature

And many other topics and presenters!

“This has everything to do with the fact that we are fulfilling our sacred responsibility for future generations. If we are willing to bring life into this world — and we are the first environment — then we have responsibility to leave a habitable, beautiful, healthy Earth for them.” Carolyn Raffensperger, Founder of the Women’s Congress for Future Generations.

THE TIME IS NOW!

A variety of registration levels are available.

We need your voice — pick the level that works for your budget.

We must act NOW to protect the planet for future generations!

YOUR voice is needed at the Women’s Congress for Future Generations. All registration levels include: Friday and Saturday dinners, Saturday lunch, Sunday treats, and all snacks, as well as facility, speaker, and other program expenses. Check here for more details.

Hotels near the Conference Center – Special Rates through Mid-October

Both hotels are modern, up to date facilities ready to welcome you.

Embassy Suites – Cut off Oct 14 Boulevard Hotel – Cut off Oct 16

*Climate March photo by A Katz, Shutterstock.com

REGISTER NOW
To find HOPE for the future go to www.FUTUREFIRST.US
REGISTER NOW!  2014 Women’s Congress for Future Generations 11/7-9

PLUS: Thursday Evening, Nov 6, “Bees, Birds and Butterflies” and reception.

Nature Puts Chevron Refinery and Legal System on “Trial”

Bay Area Rights of Nature People's Tribunal


“People’s Tribunal” in Oakland Seeks to Give Nature a Voice in Law

 
Oakland, CA — On Sunday October 5, human, indigenous and nature’s rights groups will hold a “Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance Ethics Tribunal,” examining the violations of community and nature’s rights caused by the fossil fuel industry, and using Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, California as a case study.  Recognizing ecosystem rights in law is a concept that has been gaining strength over the past decade, including in numerous US communities and the constitution of Ecuador.

Two years after the refinery explosion that rocked the Richmond community, residents still live with the threat and reality of further harm, while local air, water and land remain at risk. Moreover, despite having been found guilty of dozens of violations of the law in 2012, Chevron Corp. will be expanding operations at the refinery.

Richmond Chevron Fire 08-06-2012 - 5

Chevron has been destroying nature and poisoning people for over 100 years. Humanity is part of the web of life known as Nature. If Nature doesn’t have rights, then a viable future for the next seven generations is doubtful,says Richmond resident and Native American activist Pennie Opal Plant, who will speak at the Tribunal.

The free Tribunal will take place on Sunday, Oct. 5th from 10 am – 2 pm at The Forum, Laney College. It will highlight the impacts on people and nature from the Chevron refinery, and hear witness testimony regarding current legal and economic systems that advance violations of human and nature’s rights by the fossil fuel industry and others. Tribunal judges include:

  • Carl Anthony (Breakthrough Communities; Urban Habitat)
  • Brian Swimme (California Institute of Integral Studies; Journey of the Universe)
  • Anuradha Mittal (Oakland Institute)
  • Courtney Cummings (Arikara and Cheyenne; Native Wellness Center, Richmond)
  • Bill Twist (Pachamama Alliance)

The day will also include a “Web of Life Labyrinth” by local artists (opening at 9:30 am), local music, and food for purchase. The Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance is a network of leading San Francisco Bay Area nature’s rights, ecological justice, human rights, local economy, Indigenous, women’s, and other groups, who will be on hand to answer questions. The event is part of the global “Earth Rights Days of Action” sponsored by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is linked to the International Rights of Nature Tribunals in Quito, Ecuador (Jan. 2014) and Lima, Peru (Dec. 2014).

Save your space for this important event; register now at: http://therightsofnature.org/events/bayareatribunal.

Media Contact:
Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center
lsheehan@earthlaw.org 510-219-7730
Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange
shannon@globalexchange.org 415.298.9419
Pennie Opal Plant, Gathering Tribes
pennie@gatheringtribes.com 510.390.0386

For a printable copy of this press release:  BARONA Tribunal Media Release 10-2-14

WildLaw Published in Turkish

by Cormac Cullinan

Wild Law in Turkish“The legal, political and economic systems of contemporary industrialized societies are not only failing to prevent the destruction and degradation of Nature, and with it the well-being of future generations, they encourage and legitimize that destruction.

Cullinan argues that the survival of life on Earth—including humans—requires us to fundamentally alter our understanding of the purpose of law and governance, rather than merely changing laws.”

“Tiny but politically mighty”  — Sara Nelson, Publisher’s Weekly

Since its first publication in 2002, Wild Law has informed and inspired the global movement to recognize rights for Nature—a movement destined to shape the twenty-first century as significantly as the human rights movements shaped the twentieth. This revised edition includes a new preface, postscript and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth proclaimed on April 22, 2010.

Wild Law is now available in Turkish. Click to order.

 

How Did Leaders Respond to the People’s Climate March?

By Pablo Solon, Focus on the Global South

According to Ban Ki-Moon and other leaders the UN Climate Summit was a success. To see if that is true, we should look at: 1) what science is telling us; 2) the previous commitments made by governments; and 3) how these commitments at the UN have improved in order to address the mismatch between what has to be done and what is being done.

About 400,000 people went to the streets on September 21st to ask for real actions to address climate change. It was the greatest climate march in history.

Climate March in New York

The UN Climate Summit organized by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon took place two days later with the participation of 100 heads of state and 800 leaders from business. How did this Summit react to the demands of the peoples climate march? Did it meet the expectations?

According to Ban Ki-Moon and other leaders, it was a success. To see if that is true, we should look at: 1) what science is telling us; 2) the previous commitments made by governments; and 3) how these commitments at the UN have improved in order to address the mismatch between what has to be done and what is being done.

The main point of reference for any assessment is the greenhouse gas emissions gap for this decade. What we do now is more important than what we will do in the next decade or in 2050. If we don’t close the emission gap by 2020, we will lose the possibility to catch up with the path that is needed to limit the global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius from pre-industrial levels.

Read the full article at Focus on the Global South

 

Why I’m going to the People’s Climate March

Pat SiemenI’m showing up. As a baby-boomer from the U.S. As a person of faith.   I am going to the People’s Climate March in New York on September 21.

The security of our home, planet Earth, is threatened. That’s why I’m going. It is not the terrorists, nor the immigrants, nor people who are poor that is causing this threat to Earth’s viability. It’s the continued excessive emissions of greenhouse gases created by those of us who live in highly industrialized, corporatized and technology-rich countries.

We baby-boomers in the U.S. are uniquely responsible for this major climate disruption. We have benefitted enormously from a way of life that provides every convenience, gadget and technology unimagined by our parents. We bought into the increased consumerism and easy access to a way of life made possible by increased use of fossil fuels. We taught our children to do the same. We didn’t know to teach them that Earth has capacity limits, just like every family.

Thousands are marching to reinforce the critical importance of the United Nations Climate Summit. I’m showing up with young and old, indigenous and immigrants, conservatives and liberals, business and labor, and people of every race, color and creed from all 50 states. Together we will march, sing and pray along the 26 blocks of the march route. We hope that our presence will demonstrate to the world leaders that they must take urgent action to prevent further ecological threats and mitigate the damage already done.

We are marching to demonstrate our solidarity with everyone who has a commitment to change the environmentally destructive ways we are living as a people – for the sake of our children and a viable future. We will march on behalf of all our kin: the threatened and endangered species, ecosystems and watersheds that are dying because of shifting climate patterns.  Read more …