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.

“Laudato si” – A 21st Century Manifesto for Earth Democracy

By Vandana Shiva – L’Huffington Post Italia, 19 June 2015 reposted at Seed Freedom in English on June 20, 2015 at Seed Freedom

Pope Francis

Most reports of Pope Francis’s Encyclical in the press before the formal launch yesterday reduced this path breaking document with 246 paras on the contemporary ecological crisis and human crisis to the 4 paras on climate change (para 23-26). But Laudato Si is much wider and much deeper.

It is first of all a call for a change in consciousness and a world view from the dominant paradigm of the domination over nature and its destruction, to one where we see the Earth as our Mother, as our common home.

The ‘Laudato Si’ opens with St Francis’ prayer– “Praise be to you my Lord, through our sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruits with coloured flowers and herbs”.

This resonates so deeply with the Indian philosophy of Vasudhaiv Kutumkan, the Earth Family.

It resonates with the contemporary movement for the Rights of Mother Earth.

It resonates with cultures and faiths across the world. The encyclical is an invitation to “a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of the planet” (paragraph 14) and this includes biodiversity, air, water, oceans.

It is clear that “to protect our common home we need to bring the whole family together” (13). The Encyclical goes on to say “This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods which God has endowed her with. We have come to see ourselves as her lord and masters, entitled to plunder her at will. The violence present in our hearts, wounded by sin, is also reflected in the soil, in the water, in the air, and in all forms of life” (2).

More …

Seeding a transformed future

by Patricia Siemen May 12, 2015

Dr. Mira Shiva, Dr. Vandana Shiva and Sr. Pat Siemen. (Photo provided by Patricia Siemen)

Dr. Mira Shiva, Dr. Vandana Shiva and Sr. Pat Siemen. (Photo provided by Patricia Siemen)

Last month I returned from my first visit to India. I was invited to lead a week’s workshop on “Earth Democracy: Defending the Rights of People and Mother Earth” with Dr. Vandana Shiva and her sister Dr. Mira Shiva, a physician and leader in public health. The course took place at the Navdanya Biodiversity Learning Center at Bija Vidapeeth University in Dehradun, India.

Dehradun is nestled in the Doon Valley in northern India, at the foothills of the Himalayas, situated between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Eight of us traveled from New Delhi to Dehradun by train for five hours to reach the Earth University learning site. It is comprised of a communal living compound and 50 acres of farm land growing only plants from native seeds. Navdanya is organized as a Gandhian ashram with a commitment to non-violence and a daily schedule of meditation and communal work – preparing the meals, cleaning the common spaces and working in the garden. The teaching sessions are often held outside if the weather is amenable.

Teaching with Dr. Vandana Shiva, an internationally renowned environmentalist, physicist, author, speaker and seed-saver par excellence, is a high honor. She and I first met in 2010 when I invited her to lead a conference on Earth Rights; Human Rights at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University School of Law where I teach. We reconnected in 2013 in Quito, Ecuador, during the World’s First Peoples’ Tribunal on the Rights of Mother Earth, which was sponsored by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. It was while we were in Ecuador that Vandana invited me to teach a week’s course with her in India.

Read Pat’s complete inspiring article Seeding a transformed future at GlobalSistersReport

Law, Environment, and Religion with Linda Sheehan

A Communion Of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion, with Linda Sheehan

Yale University hosted the second installment of “A Communion of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion” which features an interview with Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of the Earth Law Center. Linda explains how a framework based on the inherent rights of nature to exist, thrive, and evolve can galvanize the transformation of environmental law and wider society – delivering necessary protections for both humans and ecosystems.

Interview conducted by Dena Adler (Yale Law School ’17, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies ’17) and Andrew Doss (Yale Divinity School ’16).

For background and context related to the interview read the following excerpt from Yale Daily News:

Div, Law and Forestry schools team up for first time

For the first time, faculty from Yale Law School, Yale Divinity School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies are offering a course together.

John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, who have dual research appointments at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Divinity School, will be co-teaching the course “Law, Environment and Religion” with Law School professor Doug Kysar. Tucker said the class was designed as a collaboration between the three schools because each discipline provides a piece of the knowledge needed to understand environmental issues, but on their own fail to give students a comprehensive analysis.

“Environmental issues need to be solved and responded to by many disciplines,” Tucker said.

Linda Sheehan Yale InterviewThe course will feature readings from figures who have worked within the overlap of these three fields and discussions with those authors, including William Reilly, a former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Linda Sheehan, the executive director at Earth Law Center. Students will also conduct podcast interviews with these guest speakers, which will be posted on Yale’s iTunes University site.


Finally Being Heard: The Great Barrier Reef and the International Rights of Nature Tribunal

By Michelle Maloney, PhD, Australian Earth Laws Alliance

In January 2014, the newly created International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature and Mother Earth (‘the Tribunal’) sat for the first time in Quito, Ecuador. The Tribunal, created by international civil society network ‘The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature’, admitted nine cases, including a claim on behalf of the Great Barrier Reef. Given the Tribunal has emerged from civil society rather than state-centred international law and given Australia’s legal system does not recognise the intrinsic rights of plants, animals, or ecosystems to exist, what possible benefit does this Tribunal offer the Great Barrier Reef? In this paper, I outline the creation and ongoing hearings of the International Tribunal and suggest that like many “people’s tribunals” before it, the Rights of Nature Tribunal offers a powerful alternative narrative to that offered by western legal systems regarding environmental destruction. It is also has the potential to play a role in transforming existing law and offers a welcome, cathartic contribution to the burgeoning field of Earth jurisprudence.

Great Barrier Reef Australian turtle

Click for more information

Finally Being Heard: The Great Barrier Reef and the International Rights of Nature Tribunal is published in the Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity Vol 3 (1) 2015, Griffth University, Queensland, Australia.  In the article, Michelle Maloney defines Earth jurisprudence and the Rights of Nature and situates the International Rights of Nature Tribunal within the work of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and the broader context of the ecological crisis. She outlines the Great Barrier Reef case, which the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (‘AELA’) took to the International Tribunal in Quito and progressed in October 2014, by convening a Regional Chamber of the International Tribunal in Australia.

She argues that like many “people’s tribunals” before it, the Rights of Nature Tribunal offers a powerful alternative narrative to that currently offered by the mainstream legal system regarding environmental destruction. It is also pregnant with the promise of transforming existing law and offers a welcome, cathartic contribution to the burgeoning field of Earth jurisprudence.

Read the full article at Finally Being Heard: The Great Barrier Reef and the International Rights of Nature Tribunal.

*Michelle Maloney is the National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and is also currently working at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, Barry University Law School, Florida USA. She can be contacted on convenor@earthlaws.org.au.

Natalia Greene on Politics of Rights of Nature in Ecuador

Natalia Greene was interviewed by Melissa Arias, F&ES ’15 of the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy.

Notes on her presentation:

As part of a major restructuring of the country’s legal framework, in 2008 Ecuador adopted a new Constitution by means of a national referendum. The 2008 Constitution – the country’s 20th – had a special component that made it different from any other constitution worldwide: it was the first Constitution to grant essential rights to Nature. Under Article 71 of the 2008 Constitution, “Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.” Under this framework, Nature becomes a subject of rights and “any person will be able to demand the recognition of the rights of nature before public organisms.”

Rights of nature, while having a long history in the ethical practices of a variety of societies, has recently become a matter of state policy in Ecuador and Bolivia, which have enshrined “rights of nature” in law (in Bolivia) and in the state constitution (Ecuador). Natalia Greene, a participant in the Ecuadorian constitutional process, traces the uses and misuses of the rights of nature in Ecuador since the passing of the constitution in 2008. Further, her talk explores the issues of securing rights as compared with securing livelihoods through non-legal means.

African Civil Society Challenge Chatham House UK Mining Conference today

From Gaia Foundation

Nnimmo BasseyAs some of you may know, two members of the Yes to Life, No to Mining global movement – Sheila Berry and Nnimmo Bassey – will be handing in a letter at Chatham House’s Extractive Industries in Africa conference to raise the voices of communities and African Civil Society resisting the further expansion of mining.

Here is the online link to the letter Nnimmo Bassey will hand in at Chatham House’s Extractive Industries in Africa’ conference at 130pm UK time today.


Thank you to all those who have contributed to and supported this powerful letter.

Please feel free to re-post this letter on your own websites, send to your networks and share via social media (suggested tweets repeated below). If you could do that at about 1:30pm UK-time that’d be most effective! If you’re stretched for time, please follow @GaiaFoundation and @_YLNM on Twitter to see the letter hand-in in pictures and retweet them.

Many thanks and in solidarity.

Carine and Hal

Nature is Speaking – with Julia Roberts as Mother Nature

Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford and Ian Somerhalder all join forces to give nature a voice. Watch the films and take action at http://natureisspeaking.org Music “City Building” by Jóhann Jóhannsson (Google PlayAmazonMP3eMusiciTunes)

Nature Is Speaking – Harrison Ford is The Ocean | Conservation International (CI)

Published on Oct 5, 2014

Julia Roberts, Harrison Ford, Kevin Spacey, Edward Norton, Penélope Cruz, Robert Redford and Ian Somerhalder all join forces to give nature a voice. Watch the films and take action at