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Archive for Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence

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 – 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.

Assassination of South Africa community leader opposing mining by Australian Company

Sikhosiphi-Bazooka-Rhadebe

STATEMENT BY CULLINAN AND ASSOCIATES:

We are appalled at the brutal assassination of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe from Mdatya village, the chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee.  We have had the privilege of working with Bazooka and of representing the people who live along the Wild Coast in Amadiba Administrative Area 24 in their attempts to stop the proposed N2 Wild Coast Toll Highway for almost a decade.  Now a brave and principled man, a real character beloved by his community, is dead because he refused to be bullied or bought, and instead stood up for his culture, his community, for their beautiful land, and for what is right.

Our condolences go out to his family, friends and community who have lost a husband, father, friend, and leader.

For many years Bazooka and the communities which he represented have been successfully resisting the proposed mining of the Wild Coast by an Australian mining company (MRC) and Sanral’s project to construct a toll highway through their lands and very close to the proposed mining sites. They have steadfastly resisted all the inducements offered by the proponents of these projects. When it became apparent that the communities could not be bought off, the violence began to escalate. First armed men attacked community members (including the headwoman) with pangas and guns and now this. The obvious question is “Who benefits from this assassination?”

We salute the incredible courage of the Amadiba coastal communities who have responded to this horrifying act by reiterating that they will not be intimidated into submission and that the mining will not go ahead.  We call on everyone who believes in justice and democracy to join us in demanding that the Minister of Police ensures that competent and unbiased investigators be assigned to apprehend the assassins as soon as possible, to uncover who sent them and to bring them to trial.  Anything less is unacceptable in our democracy.

In South Africa, click to read: 82 organisations want Wild Coast mining applications suspended after ‘assassination’

Cape Town – Eighty-two civil society organisations on Wednesday condemned the murder of an anti-mining activist on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, and called for all mining applications to be suspended.

“We demand that the minister of mineral resources suspends all mining applications until there has been a full and independent investigation of Rhadebe’s murder!” the 82 civil society organisations said in a joint statement.

Amadiba Crisis Committee chairperson Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe was shot multiple times in his upper body, Eastern Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant Khaya Tonjeni told Fin24 on Wednesday.

READ MORE: Wild Coast anti-mining leader murdered

Submitted by Cormac Cullinan  BA (Hons) LLB LLM (Environmental Law)

Director, Cullinan & Associates

Greens commit to Rights of Nature law

TheEcologist, 29th February 2016

Photo: 攝影家9號 - Photographer No.9 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Photo: 攝影家9號 – Photographer No.9 via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

“At its Spring Conference in Harrogate yesterday the Green Party of England & Wales gave formal recognition to the Rights of Nature in an overwhelming vote, committing it to passing a new law to that effect at the earliest opportunity.

The Green Party of England & Wales yesterday became the first UK-wide political party to vote Rights of Nature into their policies.

The motion was passed overwhelmingly by the conference floor. The full text that was passed was worked on in coordination with Mari Margil from CELDF (Community Environmental League Defence Fund), and Mumta Ito from the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature.

Rights of Nature is a growing environmental movement calling for new legal tools to be developed to defend nature’s ecosystems. Central to this is the rejection of market valuations of nature and the recognition that nature will only be protected if we respect its innate value in law.”

Read the full article at: Greens commit to Rights of Nature law, The Ecologist

The Rights of Nature must be recognized in law, TheEcologist, 25th February 2016

In an earlier article dated 25 February, Atus Mariqueo-Russell & Rupert Read reported The Rights of Nature must be recognised in law

“Existing models of protecting nature are failing, write Atus Mariqueo-Russell & Rupert Read. They serve to regulate, rather than prevent the destruction of nature, and are now adopting the very ‘market’ approaches that are largely responsible for the problem. The answer is to give formal effect to the Rights of Nature.

'Diagonal Nature' - Picos de Europa, Asturias, Spain. Photo: Pablo Fernández via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

‘Diagonal Nature’ – Picos de Europa, Asturias, Spain. Photo: Pablo Fernández via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Capitalism’s favoured economistic approach will not protect the environment, because it involves a further commodification of nature’s ecosystems – embracing precisely the same framework that has failed us so miserably.

At this week’s Green Party conference we will be putting forward a proposal to adopt Rights of Nature into the Green Party’s policies.

Central to this motion are the rights of nature to ‘exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, as well as the right to restoration’.

Currently Britain’s piecemeal environmental regulations consider nature as an object of commerce within the law, and thus they prevent us from protecting ecosystems in any meaningful sense.

The best our law can provide is the regulation of nature’s destruction; a mitigation of the worst excesses of rampant extractivist neoliberalism.”

Read the full article at: TheEcologist The Rights of Nature must be recognised in law.

 

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).

Download article …

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.

Pat Siemen on Pope Francis and Rights of Nature

Sister Patricia Siemen, Director of Barry Law School’s Center for Earth Jurisprudence, spoke to News 13 in Orlando, Florida about Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’.