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Archive for Indigenous wisdom

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.

 

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’”.

Recognizing the Rights of Nature and the Living Forest

By Osprey Orielle Lake, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network International

During COP21 U.N. climate negotiations and actions by the climate justice movement in Paris, two truly transformational ideas were presented that challenge dominant destructive paradigms and instead offer deep systemic change. Today, we invite you to READ and SHARE this article by WECAN Executive Director, Osprey Orielle Lake, sharing the ‘revolutionary and evolutionary’ concepts of Rights of Nature and Kawsak Sacha, ‘the Living Forest’.

Sarayaku Indigenous opening

It is critical to note that the land of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, who provide the vision of Kawsak Sacha, was signed away last week to Chinese companies for oil extraction. The Kichwa people have nurtured and successfully protected the forest from oil drilling for decades, but this new threat is dire. As we embrace and learn from their critical proposals, we MUST stand up and take effective action in support of the Kichwa, Sapara and all others resisting extraction in the Amazon. WECAN will soon be traveling to Ecuador for solidarity actions.

“The message our Living Forest proposal delivers is aimed at the entire world with the goal of reaching the hearts and minds of human beings everywhere, encouraging us all to reflect on the close relation between Human Rights and the Rights of Nature.”‎ —From Kawsak Sacha, The Living Forest: An Indigenous Proposal for Confronting Climate Change, presented by the Amazonian Kichwa People of Sarayaku, Ecuador

Read Osprey Orielle Lake’s compelling article: Recognizing the Rights of Nature and the Living Forest in EcoWatch now.

Osprey Orielle Lake is the founder and executive director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International and co-chair of International Advocacy for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature. Follow on Twitter @WECAN_INTL.

From Paris with love for lake Poopó

By Pablo Solón, El Observatorio Boliviano de Cambio Climático y “Desarrollo”, 21 December 2015

Lake Poopó becomes a desert while in Paris, governments conclude an agreement they call “historic” to address climate change. Will the Paris Agreement save over 125,000 lakes that are in danger of disappearing in the world due to climate change?

 From Paris with love for lake Poopó

The second largest lake in Bolivia did not disappear by magic. The causes of their demise are many and complex, but among them is the rise in temperature and increased frequency of natural disasters like El Niño caused by climate change. The lake Poopó that had an expanse of 2,337 km2 and a depth of 2.5 meters, is now a desert with a few puddles in the middle with no more than 30 centimeters of water depth.

If the average temperature rose globally by 0.8 °C due to climate change, on the lake Poopó the increase went to 2.5 °C leaving in its path thousands of dead fish, dead flamingos, fishing boats anchored to the ground, and hundreds of indigenous people, who for centuries were devoted to fishing, that now roam for help thinking of a very uncertain future. That is the true face of climate change that expands like a cancer throughout the world.

Will the Paris Agreement save over 125,000 lakes that are in danger of disappearing in the world due to climate change? 

Read the full text at Paris and the break with reality

The Paris COP21 failure demonstrates climate justice lies beyond the “Red Line”

Movement Rights Blog, By Shannon Biggs and Pennie Opal Plant, December 21, 2015

If you’ve been confused by the conflicting reports of the success COP 21 negotiations, you’re not alone. On the final day of the UN climate talks, President Obama issued a statement boasting words the nation, the ministers from 196 negotiating countries and the world wanted to hear: “We met the moment.  We came together around a strong agreement the world needed.” The mainstream media quickly heralded the final agreement as The world’s Greatest Diplomatic Success”   and “Big Green” environmental groups like the Sierra Club   and Avaaz blogged that while it may not be the war, as far as the battle goes, “WE WON.”

The Paris COP21 failure demonstrates climate justice lies beyond the “Red Line”

photo links to Movement Rights Blog

Reports of victory (or the whiff of a qualified victory) quickly flooded the internet. Yet standing on the streets of Paris on December 12—lined with over 10,000 people carrying red tulips and unfurling giant red ribbons defying the ban on demonstrations and condemning world leaders failure to put forward a meaningful, binding agreement—we puzzled, and wondered if we were at the same summit. From the red line action on the outside, many justice activists, economists, experts, NGO participants and Indigenous leaders had a very different take on the outcome. Former Bolivian climate negotiator, Pablo Solon told Democracy Now! “The Paris Agreement Will See the Planet Burn.”

So what does the Paris Agreement say that is creating the division of opinions? 

Read the authors’ outline of what IS and what IS NOT in the Paris UNFCCC agreement at A Quick Guide to the Paris Agreement 
as well as an assessment of who is celebrating and why.

About the authors:

Shannon Biggs, Casey Camp Horinek, and Pennie Opal Plant Movement Rights co-founders Shannon Biggs and Pennie  Opal Plant were in Paris for the COP 21 climate events, and to promote grassroots alternatives to the current UN process including co-producing a report on Rights of Nature, co- hosting a beyond-capacity Rights of Nature tribunal that turned away over 1,000 people, co-leading a ceremony for the signing of an international Indigenous Women’s Treaty for Mother Earth, among many other actions, interventions and activities, very often led by our board member, Indigenous leader and Ponca elder, Casey Camp Horinek (pictured). 

What are those Rights of Nature. You should know, aren’t you part of her …


“What we have forgotten is to give back some times. We think that exchanging money, or paying a bill with a plastic card, somehow makes us even in this exchange. But here today, we are going to share from the knowledges from both the natural world way, from the  view point of the Indigenous Peoples, from the view point of the scientists, from the view point of the lawmakers, from your heart, from your spirit ~ to those spirits around you.

We are going to share these knowledges of what are those Rights of Nature. And you should know, aren’t you part of her…”

Casey Camp-Horinek opening the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, Paris, France.  Across the City, the UN FCCC COP 21 was convening. View this powerful introduction video of the Tribunal from Paris.

You haven’t forgotten have you? And if you did, remember now. ~ Casey Camp-Horinek, (Ponca USA)

Produced by Clement Guerra, Director of the documentary film “The Condor & The Eagle”.

Mind the gap: Climate negotiators and civil society don’t agree

By Elisa Garcia for Global Sisters Report
International Rights of Nature Tribunal - Mind the Gap Climate Negotiators and Civil Society Dont AgreePhoto: Indigenous leader from Ecuador speaks to crimes against nature by Chevron to a 13-member international panel of judges headed by South African lawyer Cormac Cullinan, author of Wild Law. Left is co-prosecutor Ramiro Avila. (GSR photo / Elise D. Garcia)

As the second day of the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature opened in the packed auditorium of Maison des Métallos, a cultural center in the heart of Paris, a disturbing word was shared about the COP21 negotiations taking place just north of the city.

“Some countries are working to remove Proposal 10 today,” Ecuadoran Natalia Greene, secretary-general of the tribunal, said. “This is the only provision in the climate agreement that mentions indigenous people, the integrity of ecosystems, and Mother Earth.” She asked the 500 or more people attending to help generate a “Twitter storm,” urging climate negotiators to retain the language.

The struggle over that provision illustrates the gap that exists between civil society and COP21 government negotiators over what is needed to keep global warming below catastrophic levels. For civil-society and faith-based groups, the climate agreement must be responsive to the harm done to indigenous people and other communities already experiencing the ravaging impacts of climate change. It must protect the interconnected ecosystems that sustain life on our finite planet. And it must recognize our dependence on Earth and our interdependent relationship with one another and the larger community of life on Earth.

These aims require major economic, legal and social systems change, as reflected in the ubiquitous slogan on banners and posters, “Systems change, not climate change.”

. . .

In her closing remarks, Linda Sheehan, JD, co-prosecutor at the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, observed, “There is not one word in the [COP21 climate agreement] about dams, or water, or fossil fuels, or fracking, or even oil.”

The draft agreement mentions the Earth only once, in the preamble. In contrast, Sheehan said, the agreement “mentions economics and the economic system 49 times.”

Read the full article Mind the gap: Climate negotiators and civil society don’t agree

Adrian Dominican Sr. Elise D. García is director of communications for her congregation and the former co-director of Santuario Sisterfarm, an ecology center in the Texas Hill Country dedicated to cultivating cultural and biological diversity. Follow her on Twitter: @elisegarciaop.