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Archive for Community Bill of Rights

Colombia Constitutional Court Finds Atrato River Possesses Rights

Press Release:  The Court Finds the Atrato Possesses Rights to “Protection, Conservation, Maintenance, and Restoration”

Rights of Nature Movement Gaining Ground as Court Declares Need to Move
Away from Legal Systems in Which Humans are the “Dominator of Nature”

“(I)t is the human populations that are interdependent of the natural world – and not the opposite – and that they must assume the consequences of their actions and omissions with the nature. It is a question of understanding this new sociopolitical reality with the aim of achieving a respectful transformation with the natural world and its environment, as has happened before with civil and political rights…Now is the time to begin taking the first steps to effectively protect the planet and its resources before it is too late…” – Colombia Constitutional Court

Press Statement

Contact:
Mari Margil
mmargil@celdf.org

MERCERSBURG, PA, USA: In November, in an extraordinary decision, Colombia’s Constitutional Court declared that the Atrato River basin possesses rights to “protection, conservation, maintenance, and restoration.”  The decision is only now being made public.

Columbia's Atrato River has rightsThe Court’s ruling comes in a case brought to address the significant degradation of the Atrato River basin from mining, impacting nature and indigenous peoples.

Declaring that the river has rights comes after thousands of years of history in which nature has been treated as “property” or “right-less” under the law.  Much like women, indigenous peoples, and slaves have been treated as property under the law, without legal rights, so today do legal systems treat nature.  Under this system, environmental laws regulate human use of nature, resulting in the decline of species and ecosystems worldwide, and the acceleration of climate change.

Transforming nature to be considered as rights-bearing – and thus in possession of legally enforceable rights – is part of the growing “Rights of Nature” movement.  The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has been at the forefront of this movement, partnering with communities and governments in developing the world’s first Rights of Nature laws.

more …

Read full release at CELDF.org Colombia Court finds Atrato Rivers Possesses Rights

WE ARE ALL RELATED: Working together to fight fossil fuels

Pennie Opal Plant, LUSH Blog, May 2016
Author Pennie Opal Plant -Yaqui, Mexican, English, Choctaw, Cherokee and European leader and Ponca elder and tribal councilwoman, Casey Camp Horinek

Author Pennie Opal Plant is of Yaqui, Mexican, English, Choctaw, Cherokee and European ancestry. She’s been an activist for over 30 years on anti-nuclear, environmental and indigenous rights, and has been a lecturer with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. Pennie is also a founding member of Idle No More San Francisco Bay, is involved in promoting the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth, and founded Gathering Tribes in 1991.

As I write this, I’ve just returned from seeing my niece’s newborn baby girl. As I gazed into her eyes, I said a silent prayer hoping we can find a way to shift the systems of government and business that have allowed the sacred system of life to become so out of balance that everything is now threatened. I also prayed that when she’s an adult that she’d live in a world that’s healthy, sustainable, vibrantly beautiful…and in balance.

“We are all related.” No doubt you’ve heard this phrase before, especially if you have friends who are Indigenous to North America. It has many meanings to many people, but ultimately it means that all of life on Mother Earth’s belly is related or connected. After more than 500 years of Indigenous People of the Americas sharing this information, it’s finally been proven. It’s past time for the western world to listen to the Indigenous People who are traditional and doing their best to live within the Original Instructions, guidelines given to people at the beginning of time, which dictate how to live in balance with our relations and the intelligent forces of nature. It would be a shame for humans to continue to violate these instructions to such an extent that life, as we know it can no longer be supported.

For the complete article visit: WE ARE ALL RELATED: Working together to fight fossil fuels at LUSH Blog.

Pennie is also co-founder of Movement Rights:
Shifting culture and law to truly protect people is the civil rights struggle of our time and its already happening in communities across the nation. Changing the rules will require more than tinkering at the margins of the current legal, political and corporate-led economic system; it will require a system change from the grassroots. It all begins with neighbors coming together to change their community. Movement Rights provides organizing and legal support for communities to assert their right to local self governance with our partners; leadership and international movement building for the rights of nature; and connects Indigenous leadership, wisdom and analysis toward living in balance with natural systems.  

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.

 

Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta

Thank you Dan Bacher and Daily Kos, Monday May 02, 2016, 8:48 AM PDT, for this article.

Photo by Dan Bacher

Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the judges of the tribunal, asked a question of witness Roger Mammon. Photo by Dan Bacher.

Many people have opined about Governor Jerry Brown’s environmentally devastating Delta Tunnels Plan, but nobody, including the Brown and Obama administrations promoting the project, have asked the alleged “beneficiary” of this plan — the San Francisco Bay-Delta Ecosystem – what the estuary has to say about the tunnels.

That all changed on April 30, 2016, when a panel of judges convened in Antioch to consider the question: “What would the San Francisco Bay-Delta  Ecosystem say?”  when examining a case brought before them in the first-ever Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal. The event was based on an international rights of nature tribunal held in Paris during the Paris Climate Talks last December.

The rights of nature have been inherent from the beginning of time,” said Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the tribunal judges. “We need to get rid of the concept of dominion over the Earth. We — the salmon, the water, the trees, the spiders — are all one thing. The more pieces you take from the whole, the closer you come to becoming extinct. Just like the salmon that my people depended upon.”

The Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance, Restore the Delta, and Move to Amend held their “Rights of Nature Tribunal” regarding Governor Brown’s proposed Delta Tunnels proposal, recently renamed the California Water Fix, at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center in Antioch, in the heart of the West Delta, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The tribunal took place at a critical time for the Delta, its fish and wildlife, and its people.

“The San Francisco Bay-Delta lies polluted and suffering in a state of perpetual, human-made drought,” according to a statement from the three groups. “An estimated 95 percent of the historic Delta natural habitat has been lost. Between 2.1 million to 6.9 million acre-feet of water is exported from the Delta every year. Numerous Delta species face extinction, including the Delta Smelt and Winter-run Chinook Salmon. Marine species that depend on Delta fish for food, such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale, are also imperiled by failing Bay-Delta ecological health.”

Read the full article at  Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta

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’”.

What would the Delta say? Putting California’s Twin Tunnels on Trial

What would the Delta Say? Putting California’s Twin Tunnels on Trial

Bay Area Rights of Nature People's TribunalFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2016

Contact: 

Shannon Biggs, Movement Rights (415) 841-2998 shannon@movementrights.org

Linda Sheehan,  Earth Law Center (510) 219-7730 lsheehan@earthlaw.org

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, Restore the Delta(209) 479-2053, barbara@restorethedelta.org

BAY-DELTA TRIBUNAL PUTS STATE & NATIONAL LEGAL SYSTEM ON TRIAL

California’s Proposed Twin Tunnels Case to be Heard

 

 th-1Antioch, CA – “What would the San Francisco Bay-Delta ecosystem say?” is the question a panel of judges will consider when examining a case brought before them in the first-ever Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal based on an international rights of nature tribunal held in Paris during the climate talks last December. It’s a question gaining ground as dozens of U.S. and international communities and a handful of countries have begun recognizing rights and legal standing for ecosystems as a new framework for environmental protection. The tribunal will be held on April 30 at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center in Antioch, CA 9:30 AM-2 PM.

iur  The case being brought before the tribunal address nature’s, community, and human rights violations presented by Governor Brown’s water policies, and particularly his proposed Twin Tunnel plan, which would significantly reduce flows needed for Delta waterways and fish. The tribunal is being put on by the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance (BARONA) —a network of organizations seeking to explore how recognizing legal standing for ecosystems can put new governance tools in the hands of communities.

save_the_delta_-_stop_the_tunnels_1In addition to detailing rights violations, Tribunal witnesses and experts will also offer solutions to water flow and economic development challenges that protect, not injure, human and nature’s rights. “We are pleased to work with BARONA to make the case for the San Francisco Bay-Delta,” says Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director for Restore the Delta, a group that has been working to fight the governor’s plan and support sound water alternatives.“The Delta is an imperiled national treasure — a home for wildlife, fisheries, and human culture. After 30 years of over-pumping, the Delta Tunnels proposal would complete the destruction of the largest estuary on the west coast of the Americas. Those who view the Delta as simply another water source to be drained are in for a fight. The people and wildlife of the Delta will not be erased.”

“The proposed project not only violate nature’s rights and human rights, but also illustrates that our laws legalize such harms,” adds Linda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center. “This Tribunal is about confronting a system of laws that places people and nature in harm’s way, and demonstrating a new way forward.”

Judges for the tribunal include: renowned eco-philosopher Joanna Macy, governmental liaison for the Winnemem Wintu tribe Gary Mulcahy, Movement Rights director, Shannon Biggs and others to be  confirmed.

Rights of nature is a global movement that has been named one of the Top Ten Grassroots Movements Taking on the World by Shift Magazine. International Tribunals in Paris, Lima and Quito have recognized nature’s rights, as has the Pope and other leading figures. “Rather than treating nature as property under the law, rights of nature acknowledges that the ecosystem—in this case the Delta itself—is a rights-bearing entity,” concluded Shannon Biggs, Director of Movement Rights, a group that assists California communities pass laws that place the rights of communities and ecosystems above corporate interests. “Mendocino County and Santa Monica have already recognized these rights in order to ban fracking and develop sustainability initiatives.”

This event is free and open to the public, but will require an RSVP. Donations encouraged. Please mark your calendars and join the growing movement for nature’s rights

 


MovementRigts-Colour-sq-ncMovement Rights promotes community, indigenous, and nature’s rights. Movement Rights is a fiscally sponsored project of the Oakland Institute. We are supported by individual donations and small foundation grants.  Please consider supporting our work and joining our list serve to keep up to date on the movement for rights-based change.   Thank you!

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: https://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

Australian Earth Laws Alliance Updates

Australian Wild Law Alliance (AWLA) announces that as of 22nd July they have changed to the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA)Australian Earth Laws AllianceAELA’s new logo was created by designer Skeet Booth.  The human fingerprint embedded in the leaf is a lovely symbol of our interconnectedness with the non-human world.

AELA’s new website and contact details
  1. AELA’s website has been updated, including a smooth transition to their new domain name: http://www.earthlaws.org.au
  2. All of email addresses have been updated – you’ll see the Convenor address has been changed to convenor@earthlaws.org.au
  3. Their facebook page has also been updated, but the link details remain the same – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Australian-Earth-Laws-Alliance/250157398335531

To learn more about why the name change visit AELA’s facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/174249409411306/

Wild Law 2013 Conference: Call for Papers closes this Wednesday, 31 July

If you’d like give a presentation or host a discussion group at this year’s Wild Law Conference, please send us your abstract by 5pm this Wednesday, 31 July. Details about submitting an abstract can be found here: http://www.earthlaws.org.au/wildlaw-conference-2013-brisbane/call-for-papers/

New workshop series – “Exploring Community and Nature’s Rights” –
with CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund, USA)
30 September to 4 October 2013

AELA is pleased to provide an update on a workshop and public lecture series which they are hosting in partnership with CELDF from the USA.  The workshops will explore different approaches to protecting the rights of local communities and the rights of nature.  Further information will be uploaded next week to: http://www.earthlaws.org.au/events/

The workshop schedule is as follows:

Brisbane, Monday September 30th – This workshop will feature Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil from the USA’s Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund (CELDF); Nati Green from Ecuador’s Fundacion Pachamama, Drew Hutton and Annie Kia from the Lock the Gate Alliance and Aidan Ricketts, Southern Cross University and author of the Community Activists Handbook. It will be held at the EcoCentre, Griffith University, from 9.30 to 4.30pm.

Melbourne, Wednesday 2nd October– hosted by the Environmental Defender’s Office, Victoria.  Details will be available soon!

Western Australia –  Margaret River and Perth, 3rd to 5th October.  A series of workshops and public lectures will be held in Margaret River and Perth from Thursday 3rd August to Saturday 5th August.  These events are being co-hosted by Eco-Logik International, the Conservation Council of Western Australia and the University of Western Australia.  More details soon!

Upcoming Events

  • 3rd August.  AWLA’s National Convenor, Michelle Maloney, will be giving a presentation about Earth Laws and the Rights of Nature movement at the Bellingen ‘Festival of Ideas: Water, Lands, Wildlife, Forests”, to be held from 1pm at the Bellingen Memorial Hall, on Saturday 3rd August (this weekend). For more information please contact Caroline Joseph: caroj2@bigpond.com
  • 27-29 September – AWLA’s Conference, Brisbane – http://www.earthlaws.org.au/wildlaw-conference-2013-brisbane/
  • 30 September – 5 October – “Exploring Community and Nature’s Rights”, Workshop and Seminar Series with the USA’s Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund (www.celdf.org ) – Brisbane, Melbourne and Perth.  For more information – watch our website! http://www.earthlaws.org.au/events/
  • 5-6 December – Environmental Justice Symposium, Brisbane – more information will be available soon on our website