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Archive for Australia and New Zealand

Earth Law Updates – May 11, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here’s the latest Earth law update:

  • The fifteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is currently taking place in New York, from 9th to 20th In its ‘Proud to be Indigenous’ weeks, Cultural Survival is aiming to create a storm of online activity to enable the voices of those who are unable to attend the meeting in New York to be heard.
  • The Land Rights Now alliance, a global initiative to secure indigenous and community land rights, was launched in March and already has more than 400 organisations and communities participating. Currently it is estimated that only 10% of lands held collectively are formally recognised as owned or managed by indigenous peoples and local communities. The initiative aims to double this area of land by 2020.
  • Grant Township in Pennsylvania, USA, has passed a law legalising direct action to prevent the fracking wastewater injection wells within the township. The law permits non-violent direct action to enforce the provisions of the Grant Township Community Bill of Rights Ordinance which established rights to clean air and water, the right to local community self-government and the rights of Nature. The proposed well would be a violation of those rights.
  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance will be holding an evening seminar with a facilitated discussion ‘Exploring Earth Laws, Earth Democracy and the Rights of Nature’ on 20th This is aimed at deepening understanding and enabling support for individual and collective activity.

 

Earth law update – April 27, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here is the latest update on Earth law developments:

  • The United Nations (UN) Harmony with Nature Programme has launched its Knowledge Network, an online platform which will host a series of inter-disciplinary dialogues between practitioners, academics and researchers about Earth Jurisprudence and how we can move away from a human-centred worldview and establish an Earth-centred relationship with the planet. As mentioned in earlier updates, this follows a report and a UN resolution last year to initiate a virtual dialogue to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how they interact with the natural world in order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals on Harmony with Nature.
  • Speaking at a meeting in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, inviting world leaders to Habitat III (the third UN Conference on Sustainable Urban Development) to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that Habitat III ‘must seek to guarantee the right to city, to public services, to basic services, to sustainable development that respects the rights of Nature’. Highlighting that Ecuador is the only country in the world with a constitution recognising the rights of Nature, he emphasised the hope that the New Urban Agenda (the outcome document from Habitat III) reflects the Ecuadorian concept of ‘buen vivir’ or ‘living well’, an indigenous concept adopted as the country’s guiding principle for sustainable development.
  • The Rights and Resources Initiative has launched a new report analysing countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions submitted in advance of the Paris Agreement. The report finds that only 11% of countries which submitted plans made clear commitments to tenure security for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, failing to recognise that by preventing changes in land use and land cover Indigenous Peoples and local communities play a crucial role in helping to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance has issued an invitation to participate in ‘Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change’ a conference being held with the University of New South Wales, in Sydney on 16th and 17th August 2016. The conference will tease out connections between movements and ask a series of questions such as: ‘How can we reimagine work, exchange, money, care, law and our relationship with the natural world through the prism of a new economy?’.

Earth law update – April 14, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here are some recent Earth law developments:

  • The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) are to hold a two-hour webinar on ‘Rights of Nature: Protecting and Defending the Places We Live’ on 27th The training will explore the concept and use of Rights of Nature as a means of ushering in a legal, social, political and economic framework based on the laws of the Earth.
  • The Earth Law Center and partners in the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance will be holding a Rights of Nature Tribunal in Antioch, California on 30th The Tribunal will be modelled on the successful International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature held in Paris in December 2015 during COP21 and will address violations of the San Francisco Bay Delta Area’s right to exist, thrive and evolve in light of diversions of the necessary flows from the Delta. It will also consider violations of the rights of Delta communities to self-governance for healthy water solutions.
  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance will be holding a Rights of Nature Tribunal in Brisbane on 22nd October, following its two-day conference. The Tribunal will hear cases concerning the destruction of ecosystems and the wider Earth community in Australia and will make recommendations for law reform and restorative action.
  • Not really Earth law as such, but interesting nonetheless – the Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new Mother Earth and Water coin highlighting that we are all dependent on Mother Earth and the water she provides.

Earth law update – March 24, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here are some recent Earth law developments:

  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) has issued a call for papers in preparation for its conference on 20th and 21st October 2016, ‘The future of Australian environmental law: politics, reform and community activism’. Individual papers and panels are welcome on a wide range of themes exploring future environmental law and governance in Australia. The closing date for submission of abstracts to AELA is 1st June 2016.
  • Residents in Barrington, New Hampshire, USA, have voted to adopt a Community Bill of Rights which asserts their right to clean air and water and local community self-government. The ordinance bans corporate gravel extraction and water withdrawal. It also recognizes the Rights of Nature, such that “ecosystems possess rights to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve” and “residents of the town shall possess legal standing to enforce those rights on behalf of those ecosystems.” The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund has been working with residents to advance community rights since 2006.
  • In the wake of COP21 in Paris, Vanda Shiva has suggested a Pact for the Earth as a manifesto for sustainability. The pledge starts with seeing and cherishing the soil as a living entity whose survival is essential to our own and goes on to recognise that we are all members of the Earth community, in which all species, peoples and cultures have intrinsic worth and rights to sustenance.
  • Back in November 2014, the Indigenous Peoples’ and Community Conserved Territories and Areas (ICCA) Consortium co-organised a main Stream of events at the World Parks Congress in Sydney (Australia).  This was the Stream on Enhancing Diversity, Quality and Vitality of Governance which took years to prepare and drew together the experience, knowledge, energy, engagement and creativity of several hundred people.  Three 20 minute films are now available which are designed to take viewers on a journey of exploration of “the complex, sensitive and sometimes confusing and disturbing phenomenon called ‘governance of protected and conserved areas’”.

Responding to the Great Work: The Role of Earth Jurisprudence and Wild Law in the 21st Century

By Dr. Michelle Maloney* and Sister Patricia Siemen**
ENVIRONMENTAL AND EARTH LAW JOURNAL, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Vol. 5 (2015) > Iss. 1

I. Introduction

Despite a proliferation of environmental law in the United Statesand around the world, the health of the natural world continues todeteriorate. In this paper, we will build on the idea that what we need is not more environmental law, but different approaches to managing human relationships with the Earth. We will argue that the burgeoning Earth jurisprudence movement offers a deep philosophical anchor and a range of practical and multi-disciplinary approaches necessary to create law reform and societal change that will better support the natural world and human societies than our current system. We will also suggest that one of the greatest strengths of Earth jurisprudence is its ability to combine a rational critique of some of our oldest western, legal, and governance structures, with a less rational and more emotive call to return to a sacred appreciation of the Earth and the wider Earth Community.

In Section II, we will outline the origins and key elements of the Earth jurisprudence movement and will demonstrate the ways that Earth jurisprudence can be used to offer a cohesive framework within which law, politics, science, economics, ethics, traditional wisdom and human spirituality can be woven together to create a more effective governance approach to nurturing the Earth. In Section III, we will explore some of the ways groups inspired by Earth laws have implemented their work.

Next, we will provide an overview of the work being carried out by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, an international network of lawyers and Earth Advocates. Finally, we will focus on the work of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence (CEJ) and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) as further examples of the innovative approaches being carried out by advocates for Earth jurisprudence.

*Dr. Michelle Maloney is National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (www.earthlaws.org.au) and was a Visiting Scholar and Earth Laws Specialist at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence (www.EarthJuris.org) at the time of writing this paper. She can be contacted at: convenor@earthlaws.org.au

**Sister Pat Siemen OP, JD, is the Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University School of Law (www.EarthJuris.org).

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Responding to the Great Work: The Role of Earth Jurisprudence and Wild Law in the 21st Century

Abstract

In this lead article, the authors build on the idea that we do not need more environmental law in response to the deteriorating health of the natural world. Rather, they argue that what is needed are different approaches to managing human relationships with the earth. They argue that the burgeoning Earth jurisprudence movement offers a deep philosophical anchor and a range of practical and multi-disciplinary approaches necessary to create law reform and societal change that will better support the natural world and human societies than our current system. The authors will outline the origins and key elements of the Earth jurisprudence movement. In addition, they explore some of the ways groups inspired by Earth laws have implemented their work. Lastly, they will provide an overview of the work being carried out by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Earth Advocates, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance.

Recommended Citation

Maloney, Dr. Michelle and Siemen, Sister Pat OP, JD (2015) “Responding to the Great Work: The Role of Earth Jurisprudence and Wild Law in the 21st Century,” Environmental and Earth Law Journal (EELJ): Vol. 5: Iss.

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

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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.

First Global Tribunal on Rights of Nature hears 9 cases

IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Robin R. Milam
1.530.272.4322/Nature@TheRightsofNature.org

Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal 

FIRST WORLD TRIBUNAL ON RIGHTS OF NATURE
HEARS NINE CASES FOR ADMISSIBILITY

GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR RIGHTS OF NATURE
COMMITS TO DEEPEN AND EXPAND THE WORLDWIDE MOVEMENT
QUITO, ECUADOR

The world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature is being held in Quito, Ecuador, today. Headed by Vandana Shiva, physicist and internationally renowned environmental activist, this “Seed” Tribunal is hearing nine cases to determine their admissibility for adjudication at a later Tribunal, which will be held in another city and country later this year. The Tribunal for Rights of Nature will become permanent, hearing cases around the world.

The cases and the persons presenting the factual arguments for admitting them for adjudication under Rights of Nature are:

British Petroleum (BP)       Esperanza Martínez, Ecuador

Hydrofracking                         Shannon Biggs, United States

Chevron/Texaco                      Julio Prieto, Ecuador

Yasuní-ITT                                 Carlos Larrea, Ecuador

Great Barrier Reef                 Michelle Maloney, Australia

Minería Condor Mirador     Nathaly Yépez, Ecuador

GMOs                                            Elizabeth Bravo, Ecuador

Climate Change                        Pablo Solón, Bolivia

Defenders of Nature             Carlos Perez Guartambel, Ecuador

The international panel of judges sitting on the Tribunal includes:

Alberto Acosta, economist and former President of the Constituent Assembly from Quito, Ecuador

Tantoo Cardinal, actress (e.g., Dances with Wolves) from the Tar Sands of Canada

Blanca Chancoso, Kichwa leader and educator from Cotacachi, Imbabura, Ecuador

Cormac Cullinan, lawyer and author (Wild Law), Earth Democracy Coop, Cape Town, South Africa

Tom Goldtooth, Dine’/Dakota, director of Indigenous Environmental Network from Minnesota, US

Julio César Trujillo, constitutional lawyer for Yasunidos from Quito, Ecuador

Elsie Monge, human rights activist and president of CEDHU y FIDH from Quito, Ecuador

Atossa Soltani, founder and director of Amazon Watch from Washington, DC, US

Enrique Viale, environmental lawyer from Buenos Aires, Argentina

Native rights activist Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca from Oklahoma, US) and Patricia Gualinga, an indigenous of the Amazon and director of Sayaku, will provide expert witness testimony on the critical importance of Rights of Nature. Carlos Pérez will provide testimony as to his recent actions in defense of Mother Earth, the reasons for his actions and its consequences.

The Tribunal begins at 8:30 and concludes at 17:00. Before rendering her judgment at the end of the day, Vandana Shiva will speak to the issues at stake in this Tribunal and the worldwide Rights of Nature movement.

The Tribunal marks the end of a five-day summit of more than 60 global leaders of the Rights of Nature movement who form part of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. The participants hail from Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, United States, Spain, Canada, India, Romania, Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, and the United Kingdom, as well as Ecuador.

The Global Alliance for Rights of Nature was founded at a gathering in Ecuador in 2010, two years after Ecuador became the first nation in the world to adopt Rights of Nature in its Constitution. At the summit, the leaders committed to redoubling their efforts to broaden and deepen the movement worldwide over the coming year, with a series of actions that will be detailed in the next months.

The Rights of Nature movement draws on the wisdom and cosmovision of indigenous peoples in positing a new jurisprudence that recognizes the right of nature in all its forms to exist, persist, evolve and regenerate.

Printable PDF of News Release

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Global Rights of Nature Summit and Public Tribunal

NEWS RELEASE
CONTACT: Robin R. Milam
Immediate Release: January 8, 2014
530.272.4322/Nature@TheRightsofNature.org

 GLOBAL ALLIANCE FOR THE EMERGENT “RIGHTS OF NATURE” MOVEMENT
TO HOLD ITS FIRST INTERNATIONAL SUMMIT
FOLLOWED BY A PUBLIC TRIBUNAL OF ACTUAL CASES

OTAVALO & QUITO, ECUADOR: JANUARY 13-17, 2014

Key leaders of the emergent nature rights movement are holding an international summit in Ecuador on January 13-17, 2014. Its twofold purpose is to analyze the experiences of communities in Ecuador, Bolivia, and United States that have already implemented “Rights of Nature” laws and to devise a unified global strategy for advancing the Rights of Nature movement around the world.

The summit will conclude on Friday, January 17, with a public Tribunal in Quito where key Rights of Nature cases will be heard, including the Chevron/Texaco case in Ecuador, the oil exploitation of Yasuní-ITT in Ecuador’s rainforest, and the threats to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Drawing on precedents established in other successful Rights of Nature cases – such as the one finding that the rights of the Vilcabamba River had been violated by pollution – the Tribunal will model how to adjudicate the rights of nature in courts of law.

The five-dozen principals attending the summit represent diverse disciplines, cultures, nations, and bioregions as part of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Among the attendees are Indian physicist Vandana Shiva, South African lawyer and author Cormac Cullinan, North American indigenous leader Tom Goldtooth, former Bolivian U.N. ambassador Pablo Solón, Canadian aboriginal actress Tantoo Cardinal, and U.S. community rights attorney Thomas Linzey. The group as a whole is comprised of economists, lawyers, scientists, indigenous leaders, community activists, nuns, actors, authors, and public officials hailing from Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, United States, Spain, Canada, India, Romania, Bolivia, Argentina, and England, as well as Ecuador.

The summit marks the first time leaders of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature are coming together since 2010 when they created the organization as a vehicle to help advance the cutting edge work that each was carrying out in his or her home country. The historic 2010 gathering that forged the Global Alliance also was held in Ecuador, the first nation in the world to adopt Rights of Nature in its Constitution, in 2008.

The Tribunal will be held on Friday, January 17, at Hotel Quito, in Quito, where the Global Alliance will also host a Press Conference to report the results of the summit and next steps for the Rights of Nature movement. The Press Conference is at 10:30 am. The Tribunal will consider seven cases and run from 8:30 am to 17:00 pm. Press kits for the Tribunal will be available.

“The Rights of Nature movement is a response in the order of magnitude necessary to end the legalized plundering that is ravaging our planet and imperiling our young and the young of all species,” says Robin R. Milam, Administrative Director of the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature. “By recognizing nature’s right to exist and thrive, people can assert those rights on nature’s behalf, rejecting actions that permit harmful, unwanted development in their communities.”

Rights of Nature: Background

The Rights of Nature movement draws on indigenous wisdom in positing a new jurisprudence that recognizes the right of nature in all its forms to exist, persist, evolve and regenerate.

“A 40-year regime of environmental laws in the United States and other industrial nations has failed to protect against the escalating ravages evident around the world, including decimated species, depleted forest reserves, water shortages, and record-breaking hurricanes,” says Robin R. Milam, Administrative Director of the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature. “An entirely new approach is needed.”

Recognizing the rights of nature, which humans would have standing to enforce, reflects a shift in consciousness away from a legal system that treats nature as property for human use. “It is akin to the shift in consciousness – and change in laws – that took place when people said we should stop treating women, enslaved, or indigenous people as property,” Milam said. “And it is foundational: Human rights are meaningless without fresh water to drink, clean air to breath, safe food to eat.”

Local municipalities in the United States were the first to adopt laws establishing legal structures that recognized Rights of Nature, beginning in 2006 with Tamaqua Borough in Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania. Since then more than two-dozen U.S. communities have adopted local laws recognizing Rights of Nature, including Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which in November of 2010 became the first major municipality in the United States to do so.

In September 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize Rights of Nature in its constitution and Bolivia enacted a law that recognizes rights of Mother Earth.

Nearly 100 grassroots organizations in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe are members of the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, advancing the Rights of Nature movement in their municipalities, counties, provinces, and countries.

The Rights of Nature movement is grounded conceptually in an understanding that humans are one part of an interdependent community of life on Earth. Human existence—in all its social, economic, industrial, cultural, and governmental manifestations—is wholly dependent on the health of rivers, plants, animals, oceans, forests, atmosphere, microbes, and other ecosystems and beings that with us comprise our living planet.

Beyond enlightened self-interest, the Rights of Nature movement also emerges philosophically and spiritually out of a sense of the wonder and awe that the natural world has inspired in humans for millennia, captured in art, music, and poetry—and our sense of the sacred.

For more, see Global Alliance for Rights of Nature at www.therightsofnature.org.

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Printable News Release – Rights of Nature Summit and Public Tribunal