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Archive for Books and Articles

Rights of Nature & Mother Earth: Sowing seeds of resistance, love and change.

Edited by Shannon Biggs and Tom BK Goldtooth

RONME-Sowing-Seeds

Movement Rights, Indigenous Environmental Network and Global Exchange are proud to announce the release of their new report for the Paris climate talks! Edited by Shannon Biggs and Tom BK Goldtooth, this report, “Rights of Nature & Mother Earth: Sowing seeds of resistance, love and change” is a collaboration between Movement Rights, Indigenous Environmental Network, and Global Exchange. Providing both a critique of the UNFCCC process and an alternative system of environmental protection, the report includes contributions by Dr. Vandana Shiva (India), Maude Barlow (Canada), Pablo Solon (Bolivia), Alberto Acosta (Ecuador), Cormac Cullinan (South Africa), Linda Sheehan (USA), Osprey Orielle Lake (USA) and many other luminaries.

Please share and download complete report here: http://www.movementrights.org/resources/RONME-SowingSeeds.pdf

The Earth Rights movement and the road beyond Paris

Preface Article by Tom B.K. Goldtooth and Shannon Biggs, editors

L’humanité et la nature ne font qu’un. ةدحاو ةعيبطلاو ةيناسنإلا . In the wake of the violence in Paris, Beirut, Syria, Iraq and around the world, we are reminded that not only are we one people—but humanity and all nature are one. It is time to seek peace and justice for humanity and Mother Earth.

While billed asthe most important climate meeting ever held, the next generation will not look back on the Paris COP 21 as the historic moment governments took decisive action on climate change.

The modern world is removed from nature. A world without a living knowledge of its spiritual relationship and responsibilities to the creative principles of the natural laws of Mother Earth, results in our planet become property, without a soul, to be owned and sold. Nearly everywhere, the legal paradigm of laws protects the ownership of nature, so it is not surprising that the UN climate negotiations are rooted in the continued privatization of ecosystems and putting a price tag on the processes of the natural world.

The predictable failure of the Paris UNFCCC negotiations has been 20 years in the making. The climate Ponzi scheme of trading of air, water, trees, soil, and biodiversity along with false solutions of carbon capture, genetically modified organisms, geoengineering, synthetic biology, nanotechnology, agrofuels, fracking, nuclear projects and energy generation from incineration—all these will do more harm than good to Mother Earth. As Nigerian activist Nnimo Bassey has said, “The outcome is already known: a  package of non-binding promises and non-commitments. It will be another carbon stock exchange.”

Changing our relation to the sacredness of Mother Earth

Rather than mourn the loss of international political leadership on climate change to the peddlers of extractive capitalism, its time to acknowledge where the real power to create change lies, and what Paris might be remembered for. The next generation could look back on Paris as the time when grassroots movements became the real and rightful leaders on climate with searing critiques of capitalism and endless growth and a transformative solutions based on equity, and living in balance with natural laws.

Climate change itself is the Earth’s demand for human system change; it is a wake up call to shake off old ways that got us here, and to create vibrant local living economies respectful of the living cycles of Mother Earth and Father Sky. It means shifting the legal landscape that has propped up industrialization by treating ecosystems as property to be owned and destroyed.

Rights of nature define legal rights for ecosystems “to exist, flourish and regenerate their natural capacities.” These laws challenge the status of nature as mere property and while not stopping development, recognizing legal rights of nature stops the kind of development that interferes with the existence and vitality of ecosystems. It provides a legal framework for an ethical and spiritual relationship to the Earth and the Sky. And its been growing at the local and national level around the world. In the last decade, three countries and dozens of communities have passed laws recognizing “legal standing” for ecosystems.

This report “Rights of Nature & Mother Earth: Sowing seeds of resistance, love and change” isn’t just a challenge to the UN climate framework. It is a call for Earth’s real revolution, a reawakening of the Sacred, and a legal framework to support real system change based on the inalienable rights of nature– of Mother Earth—of which our own human rights and the fate of humanity cannot be separated.
L’humanité et la nature ne font qu’un.

About the editors

Shannon Biggs is the co-founder and Executive Director of Movement Rights, advancing legal rights for communities, indigenous peoples and ecosystems. She has been a senior staffer at Global Exchange and the International Forum on Globalization, and is the co-author and editor of two books including “The Rights of Nature, the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature.” She is also a founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She holds an MSc. from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Economics and the Politics of Empire.

Tom B.K. Goldtooth is the Executive Director of The Indigenous Environmental Network, a network of indigenous communities worldwide.  He is a leader of environmental and climate justice issues and the rights of Indigenous peoples. He is a board member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. In 2015 he received the Gandhi Peace Award, and is also co-and producer of an award-winning documentary Drumbeat For Mother Earth, which addresses the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous communities.

Laudato Si’ – A story of right relationships

By Patricia Siemen Global Sisters Report, A project of National Catholic Report, July 7, 2015

Sr. Pat Siemen participates in the Earth Rights march in Durban, South Africa during the COPs 17 U.N. climate conference December 2011.

“It’s all a question of story,” wrote Thomas Berry. “We are in trouble now because we do not have a good story .. . . and the old story, the account of how we fit into it, is no longer effective. We have not yet learned the new story.”

Pope Francis’s long-awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si tells a story and issues a call to all people to act on behalf of our common home. It offers much more than a treatise on the environment and climate change; it sets a cosmological context of belonging to creation as relatives, as brothers and sisters (11). It calls for an ecological spirituality and conversion (216), and offers a moral framework for both individual and collective response to care for our common home.

As an Earth lawyer and Catholic sister striving to awaken people to the peril of Earth’s desecration and the promise of acting as a single community of life, I hear Francis’s story with gratitude and relief.

Francis weaves a story of integral ecology (137).

“. . . [W]e have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate the questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (49).

He emphasizes the interrelationship between environmental destruction, anthropocentric domination of nature, disregard for people who are poor and vulnerable among us, extinction of species and the plunder of an unrestrained global economic system. Pollution and climate change, depletion of fresh water, biodiversity loss and disregard for human communities are the consequence “of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production” (32).

Francis connects the value of human life with the value of the Earth community which sustains all life. “It is not enough . . . to think of different species merely as potential ‘resources’ to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves” (33).

While sliding over the consequences of overpopulation (50), Francis boldly identifies the interrelated, causal dynamics that are destroying the fabric of our common home.

I was engaged, surprised, grateful and often in tears as I read Francis’s epic story. It was encouraging to discover how closely it aligns with the sacred story that guides me and the work of Earth jurisprudence that is rooted in kinship.

Read Sister Pat’s complete article …

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.

 

Maude Barlow joins Global Alliance Executive Committee

Maude Barlow, Council of CanadiansThe Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is pleased to announce that Maude Barlow has joined the Executive Committee representing North America.

Maude is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco–based International Forum on Globalization and a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.

Maude has been a leader in the Rights of Nature/Mother Earth movement participating in the 2010 People’s Conference on Climate Change and Rights of Mother Earth, contributing to numerous publications and videos including co-publishing the Rights of Nature, the Case for a Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth. Her Council of Canadians’ team were key organizers of the Blue Pavilion at the Rio+20 Earth Summit.

Maude is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).

Blue Future Protecting Water for People and the Planet Forever by Maude BarlowIn 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever.  Among the four principles presented in Blue Future, Principle Three: Water Has Rights Too makes a strong case for the protection of source water and the need to make our human laws compatible with those of nature.  It was released in the US in January.

Maude replaces Mari Margil who has rotated off the Executive Committee.  For all of us, a warm thank you to Mari for her leadership, counsel and support on the Executive Committee.  Mari and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF.org) provide Rights of Nature Legislative Assistance leadership and counsel in partnership with the Global Alliance.

For  a printable news release, visit Maude Barlow joins Global Alliance for Rights of Nature Executive Committee.

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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

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth A Spiritual Response to our Present Ecological CrisisThe Global Peace Initiative of Women announces the recent release of Spiritual Ecology:  The Cry of the Earth, a collection of essays edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and presented as a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis.

“Our present ecological crisis is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced. Its accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans. A central but rarely addressed aspect of this crisis is our forgetfulness of the sacred nature of creation, and how this affects our relationship to the environment. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis. This is vital and necessary if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance.” – from Spiritual Ecology:  The Cry of the Earth

Today, at a time of multiple crises, we need to move away from thinking of nature as dead matter to valuing her biodiversity, clean water, and seeds. For this, nature herself will be the best teacher. When nature is a teacher, we ­co-create with her—we recognize her agency and her rights.  Dr Vandana Shiva, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth is edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, with contributions from many individuals GPIW has had the honor to work with over the years — contributions from Chief Oren Lyons, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Berry, Thich Nhat Hanh,Chief Tamale Bwoya, John Stanley, David R. Loy, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Brian Swimme, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Wendell Berry, Winona LaDuke, Dr. Susan Murphy Roshi, Satish Kumar, Joanna Macy, Geneen Marie Haugen, Jules Cashford, Bill Plotkin, Sandra Ingerman, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Fr. Richard Rohr, and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

The book is available through  the Spiritual Ecology website where you will also find additional articles, magnificent photos of our natural world and fascinating video interviews on this important theme. We have found this website to be a tremendous learning resource and encourage everyone to visit and share the link, particularly with young people who are feeling deep concern for our planet and for their future – these wise voices provide a welcome insight.

Toxic Chemicals in the Exploration and Production of Gas from Unconventional Sources

Toxic Chemicals in the Exploration and Production of Gas from Unconventional SourcesNational Toxics Network produced a report Toxic Chemicals in the Exploration and Production of Gas from Unconventional Sources in April 2013 for those interested in learning more about toxic chemicals used in the exploration and production of gas from “unconventional sources” such as shale deposits, coal seams, tight sandstones,methane hydrates and underground coal gasification. Natural gas consists primarily of methane with other hydrocarbons, carbon dioxide, nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide.

National Toxics Network

The National Toxics Network Inc. (NTN) is a community-based network of experts and campaigners working on a wide range of toxic chemical and pollution issues across Australasian region including New Zealand, the Pacific and South East Asia. NTN is the Australian focal point for the International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and also participates in the work of the international Pesticide Action Network (PAN) and the Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives (GAIA). In Australia, NTN is a supporting member of the Australian Environment Network (AEN), Climate Action Network Australia (CANA) and the Lock the Gate Alliance.

For further details about the National Toxics Network please visit www.ntn.org.au and www.facebook.com/ntn

United Natures – A United Nations of All Species

United NaturesJust released!  United Natures – a United Nations of all species movie

An indepth documentary feature film on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, earth jurisprudence, philosophy, permaculture, spirituality and a neo-indigenous future for humanity released on June 1st 2013.

Directed and produced by Peter Charles Downey, United Natures stars some of the world’s most foremost environmental activists and Global Alliance members, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Cormac Cullinan,  Linda Sheehan, Prof. Judith Koons, Dr. Alessandro Pelizzon, Polly Higgins, and numerous others. Click to review the United Natures trailer or for more information at United Natures movie site.

United Natures – a United Nations of all species. Official documentary trailer 2013 from United Natures on Vimeo.