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Archive for Useful Resouces

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

Eco-Instigator On International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) released the December 2015 edition of eco-Instigator with a detailed article on the International Rights of Nature Tribunal held in Paris during COP21.  Nnimmo Bassey served on the panel of distinguished judges at the Tribunal in Paris and presented for the Case on False Solutions for Climate Change during the Tribunal in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

Nnimmo Eco-I 10 CoverNnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey is founding Director of HOMEF and serves on the Foundation’s Advisory Board.

An architect, environmental and Rights of Mother Earth activist, author and poet, Nnimmo’s Reflections (Oil Politics): sharing opinion. mobilising for change. present profound food for thought and a way forward.

Nnimmo chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012 and was Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades. He was one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2009. In 2010, Nnimmo Bassey was named Right Livelihood Award “…for revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production and for his inspired work to strengthen the environmental movement in Nigeria and globally.” and in 2012 he was awarded the Rafto Prize as a Defender of victims of climate change.

Health of Mother Earth Foundation

“HOMEF is an environmental/ecological think tank and advocacy organisation. It is rooted in solidarity and in the building and protection of human and collective dignity.

We believe that neoliberal agendas driven by globalization of exploitation of the weak, despoliation of ecosystems and lack of respect for Mother Earth thrive mostly because of the ascendancy of enforced creed of might is right. This ethic permits the powerful to pollute, grab resources and degrade/destroy the rest simply because they can do so. HOMEF recognizes that this reign of (t)error can best be tackled through a conscious examination of the circumstances by which the trend crept in and got entrenched. Thus, HOMEF will have as a cardinal work track continuous political education aimed at examining the roots of exploitation of resources, labour, peoples and entire regions. HOMEF hopes through this to contribute to the building of movements for recovery of memory, dignity and harmonious living with full respect of natural cycles of Mother Earth.

Three key areas of focus are fossil fuels, the politics of hunger and creating spaces for knowledge generation and sharing.

The Advisory Board is composed of women and men who have distinguished themselves in the struggle for environmental justice and the rights of Mother Earth: – See more at: http://www.homef.org/content/about-home “

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). 

Grand promises of Paris climate deal undermined by squalid retrenchments

By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle. By comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster. George Monbiot, The Guardian

Monbiot goes on to note:

Inside the narrow frame within which the talks have taken place, the draft agreement at the UN climate talks in Paris is a great success. The relief and self-congratulation with which the final text was greeted, acknowledges the failure at Copenhagen six years ago, where the negotiations ran wildly over time before collapsing. The Paris agreement is still awaiting formal adoption, but its aspirational limit of 1.5C of global warming, after the rejection of this demand for so many years, can be seen within this frame as a resounding victory. In this respect and others, the final text is stronger than most people anticipated.

Outside the frame it looks like something else. I doubt any of the negotiators believe that there will be no more than 1.5C of global warming as a result of these talks. As the preamble to the agreement acknowledges, even 2C, in view of the weak promises governments brought to Paris, is wildly ambitious … read the complete article

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.

“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 …

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.

http://yaledailynews.com/blog/2015/01/20/div-law-and-forestry-schools-team-up-for-first-time/