Image

Archive for Women

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.

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.

Reconnecting with Mother Earth IS a solution

Osprey Orielle Lake closed a very moving Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Press Conference on the impact of  Women on the Frontline of Climate Change around the world at the UN FCCC.  Each of these women speak movingly of the personal dramatic impact of modern society’s lust for fossil fuels, an economy driven by unbridled growth at any cost and the blatant disregard for human rights ~ especially Indigenous rights, earth rights and the dignity of all.

WE CAN international at UNFCCC

Women raising their voices are Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca – USA; IEN), Patricia Gualinga (Sarayaku, Ecuador) with Leila Salazar-Lopez (AmazonWatch) translating, Neema Namadamu (DRC Congo) and Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara – USA; IEN).

View the 30 minute UNFCCC Press Conference at http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/events/2015-12-08-18-30-women-s-earth-and-climate-caucus-wecc

WE CAN International released its downloadable 2016 Women’s Climate Action Agenda.

Mother Earth Cries Out & We Must Listen and Act Boldly

–Reflecting on Pope Francis’s Encyclical on the Environment

Blog by Osprey Orielle Lake, WECAN International Co-Founder & Executive Director, June 22, 2015  WECAN International

Pope Francis’s new encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si, is a powerful tool for the climate movement, and has created a critical space inviting other world leaders to step up and take bold action to address the root causes of the crisis we face. We must recognize however, that this is not just a tool for the movement, but also a tool of the movement, with statements echoing years of peoples organizing worldwide.

Pope Francis calls not just for climate action, but also for climate justice, recognizing that human poverty and vulnerability is intimately tied to environmental degradation. He espouses an integral ecology that embraces the deep interdependence of the Earth, human society, and the economy. The encyclical is also a call for a fundamental shift in our collective consciousness and understanding of the world and our place in it- requiring movement from a global society of destruction and consumption, to one of care and connection to our collective home, our Mother Earth.

“This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted,” Pope Francis writes.

Critically, Francis explains that real change means bringing together three worldviews that have been divided for too long in modern societies: scientific knowledge, spirituality, and Indigenous understanding. He calls for the voices of the world’s Indigenous peoples to be at the center of all climate discussions and actions, recognizing that we have so much to learn from these cultures that have maintained their connection to the land. The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network could not agree more, as we are advocating for action based on four Guiding Principles: Rights of Women, Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Rights of Nature and Rights of Future Generations.

Pope Francis does not waiver in his criticism of the corporate interests driving environmental degradation, nor the politicians facilitating their destruction. He calls for immediate action to keep fossil fuels in the ground, a bold transition to a clean energy future, and climate solutions free of inappropriate market mechanisms.

The encyclical opens the door further to addressing the urgency of global warming and touches on how this crisis is giving us the opportunity (or perhaps rather forcing us) to entirely redesign our economic systems and ways of living with the Earth and each other.

Read Osprey Orielle Lake’s complete article at Women Speak: Climate Justice and Solutions.

Seeding a transformed future

by Patricia Siemen May 12, 2015

Dr. Mira Shiva, Dr. Vandana Shiva and Sr. Pat Siemen. (Photo provided by Patricia Siemen)

Dr. Mira Shiva, Dr. Vandana Shiva and Sr. Pat Siemen. (Photo provided by Patricia Siemen)

Last month I returned from my first visit to India. I was invited to lead a week’s workshop on “Earth Democracy: Defending the Rights of People and Mother Earth” with Dr. Vandana Shiva and her sister Dr. Mira Shiva, a physician and leader in public health. The course took place at the Navdanya Biodiversity Learning Center at Bija Vidapeeth University in Dehradun, India.

Dehradun is nestled in the Doon Valley in northern India, at the foothills of the Himalayas, situated between the Ganges and Yamuna rivers. Eight of us traveled from New Delhi to Dehradun by train for five hours to reach the Earth University learning site. It is comprised of a communal living compound and 50 acres of farm land growing only plants from native seeds. Navdanya is organized as a Gandhian ashram with a commitment to non-violence and a daily schedule of meditation and communal work – preparing the meals, cleaning the common spaces and working in the garden. The teaching sessions are often held outside if the weather is amenable.

Teaching with Dr. Vandana Shiva, an internationally renowned environmentalist, physicist, author, speaker and seed-saver par excellence, is a high honor. She and I first met in 2010 when I invited her to lead a conference on Earth Rights; Human Rights at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University School of Law where I teach. We reconnected in 2013 in Quito, Ecuador, during the World’s First Peoples’ Tribunal on the Rights of Mother Earth, which was sponsored by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. It was while we were in Ecuador that Vandana invited me to teach a week’s course with her in India.

Read Pat’s complete inspiring article Seeding a transformed future at GlobalSistersReport

WECAN International at the UNFCCC COP20 2014

Women's Earth & Climate Action Network

For a printable flyer click: WECAN Lima Flyer #1

Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima 

A convening of women leaders joined in solidarity to speak out against environmentally and socially destructive activities and policies, and to present the diverse array of visions and strategies with which they are working to chart another course. Panels and strategy circles will focus on extractive industries and mega-dams, forest protection and territory rights, renewable energy alternatives, new economic frameworks, rights of nature, systemic change, and how relationships between women of the Global South & North are furthering the climate justice movement. The Women’s Climate Action Agenda will be explored as a tool for implementing solutions.

Free & open to the public.

More information on related events at WECAN International at the UNFCCC COP20 2014 Para información en español, haga clic aquí.

WECAN International formal UN side event at the UNFCCC COP20

Women's Earth & Climate Action NetworkEvent in collaboration with allies at Amazon Watch and TakingItGlobal. WECAN will present the Women’s Climate Action Agenda as a blueprint for our path forward and showcase examples of youth and women as agents of local and global change. Particular focus will be on Indigenous women on the frontlines of climate change and solutions building. December 9, 2014. 16:45-18:15. Caral Room.

 

 

 

WECAN Agenda

International Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal – Lima

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature will adjudicate various cases linked to COP20 proceedings, including threats to the Great Barrier Reef and oil and mineral extraction in South America. The Tribunal is a model and potent tool to help communities working to defend the Earth and their health and heritage. WECAN is on the Global Alliance Steering Committee and will be participating in the Tribunal. For more information and registration, visit www.therightsofnature.org/events/ron-ethics-tribunal-lima

December 5-6, 2014.

Gran Hotel Bolivar, Jiron de la Union 958.

Free & open to the public. 

Advocacy work inside the UNFCCC COP20

In partnership with the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) and the Women and Gender Constituency.  December 1-12, 2014.

The Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (formerly IWECI) is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations

WOMEN ON THE RISE – Connecting Stories From The Frontlines

Trailer | WOMEN ON THE RISE – Connecting Stories From The Frontlines from Indigenous Environmental Network on Vimeo.

Trailer for a short film chronicling & connecting the stories of Indigenous Women worldwide leading the charge to protect the rights of Mother Earth and the generations to come; representing frontline communities most impacted by extractive industries.

Stories shared from:
Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network; Melina Laboucan-Massimo, (Lubicon Cree First Nation ) Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Canada; Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree Nation) Climate and Energy Campaigner for The Sierra Club; Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, communications manager of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; Patricia Gualinga Montalvo, Kichwa Leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon | Amazon Watch; Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More Bay Area California, and more to come.

Re-Visioning Our Relationship with the Earth: Lessons from ‘Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions’

Deeply aware of the crisis of socio-ecologic injustice created by a dominant system that values growth and profit above all else, an extraordinary group of panelist gathered to speak out at ‘Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions’ in New York City on September 22, 2014. The event, presented by WECAN International and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature as part of the mobilization surrounding the People’s Climate March and U.N. Climate Summit, focused on the need to redesign our social, political, economic and legal structures to function with respect to the rights of the Earth and the knowledge systems of the original stewards of the land, the worlds indigenous peoples.

Osprey Orielle Lake opening Rights of Nature NY “If our environmental law system was working we would not be in this crisis,” explained Executive Director of WECAN International, Osprey Orielle Lake, in her opening statement. “Our current laws do not stop pollution, they ‘regulate’ it and allow it to continue. We must disrupt this broken framework.”

Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network), Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange), Gloria Ushigua (Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador), Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center), and Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Indigenous Environmental Network) joined Lake to expose fundamental flaws in our current laws and management schemes, while presenting bold strategies for re-visioning these paradigms. The issue could not be more critical, speakers explained, as a shift to a system that treats the Earth as a rights bearing entity is a requirement for any genuine solutions to the climate crisis.

Rights of Nature Panel NY Church Center

Tom Goldtooth NYTom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network took the floor first, focusing on the need to learn from and re-allign with indigenous knowledge systems which conceive of the Earth as a vibrant, living Mother who must be cared for and respected. Tom explained how many climate action plans currently being considered, such as REDD carbon projects and biotechnology schemes, continue to violate the laws of nature and rights of the Earth in attempts to divide, conquer, and profit, ultimately making them false and highly destructive proposals. He emphasized that communities across the globe must reject twisted climate policies which continue to commodify and manipulate, instead coming back to “our true nature of working in harmony with Mother Earth.

Linda Sheehan Earth Law CenterLinda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center spoke next, reaffirming and expanding up Tom Goldtooths sentiment that our plans of action, movements, and policies must function with respect to the Rights of Nature.

According to Linda, our current legal structure overwhelmingly views the Earth as an entity to be traded, exploited, and degraded, leading to the continued failure of environmental law and policy. “We think we can chop up nature, we can control it. This is simply a misunderstanding,” she explained.

Working to challenge this flawed vision, Linda and allies at the Earth Law Center have been working with groups across the U.S. to create and instate new laws that put the rights of the Earth and communities above those of corporations, including notable successes in Santa Monica, California this year.

Gloria Ushigua - Sapara NYFrom the frontlines of the fight to end fossil fuel development in the Amazon Basin, Gloria Ushigua of the Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador shared her story next.

“We are here to defend our rights, our spirits, our forests,” Gloria explained, highlighting the ways that indigenous communities across the world, embedded firmly in a tradition that sees the Earth as a flourishing and living being, are already challenging conventional models and leading the way towards climate solutions

Gloria’s words however, also functioned to shake up the conversation as she explained how, despite the fact that the law in Ecuador officially gives rights to Nature, massive corporate and political violations continue. Thus, she implored, changing our legal framework much be but the first step, to be followed up with ceaseless civil society action to insure that those rights are respected on every level.

Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange  - NY Climate Summit on Rights of NatureShannon Biggs of the Global Exchange spoke next, expanding upon Gloria’s declaration that systemic change in climate solutions and our relationship with the Earth must come not only at the policy level, but at the level of communities and individuals across the globe.

“It all comes down to community, it is up to out communities to be stewards of the land,” Shannon explained, “we must challenge unjust law that says nature is property.”

Shannon continued on to detail the concrete ways that the Global Exchange and its partners are working to expand local ability to implement and enforce the Rights of Nature, focusing on community applications of these principles as tools for climate resiliency and the protection of the Earth.

Casey Camp Horinek-NYCasey Camp-Horinek of the Ponca Nation and Indigenous Environmental Network took the floor as the final presenter of the day. Her speech was one of hope, explaining to the audience that while the task of uprooting and re-visioning the dominant system seem daunting, this is only so when constrained under the false impression that politicians and economists are the center of ultimate power.

“If the sun did not rise today, would you be here? If you did not have a drink of water, would you be here today? THAT is the true power,” Casey explained, the audience erupting in applause.

Following the series of presentations, audience members and speakers engaged in a question and answer session that kept many enthralled in discussion for more than an hour after the official end of the event. Expanding upon earlier discussion surrounding mal-alligned climate policy that seeks to control and subdue nature, Linda Sheehan poignantly remarked, “they call it ecosystem management as is the earth has been unruly. No. We need to regulate ourselves.”

Notebook full of inspiring quotes, bitts of wisdom, strategies, ideas and tools, I set out after the event, eager to return home and start building alliances and making plans to enact the Rights of Nature in my community.

For more information about the Rights of Nature movement, check out: therightsofnature.org/ and wecaninternational.org/pages/rights-of-nature-international-advocacy-trainings

Also follow the Women Speak: Climate Justice and Solutions blog.

Submitted by and photos by Emily Arasim, WECAN International Special Projects & Communications Coordinator