Who we are

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

Executive Committee Members

  • Cormac Cullinan, Wild Law Institute, Enact International (www.Enact-International.com), South Africa

Cormac Cullinan is an author, practicing environmental attorney and governance expert who has worked on environmental governance issues in more than 20 countries. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and is a director of a specialist environmental and green business law firm (www.cullinans.co.za) of the governance consultancy, EnAct International (www.enact-international.com ), and of the Wild Law Institute. His groundbreaking book “Wild Law A Manifesto for Earth Justice” has played a significant role in informing and inspiring a growing international movement to recognize rights for Nature. In 2008 he was included in Planet Savers. 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists, a book that profiles environmentalists throughout history. At the invitation of Bolivia, Cormac spoke at the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which was proclaimed on 22 April 2010 by the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia. In September 2010 he played a leading role in establishing a Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Alliance.

  • Osprey Orielle Lake – Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN), United States of America, North America

Osprey Orielle Lake is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). She works nationally and internationally with grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers and scientists to mobilize women for climate justice, resilient communities, systemic change and a just transition to a clean energy future. Osprey serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the visionary behind the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together 100 women leaders from around the world. She directs WECAN’s advocacy work in areas such as Women for Forests, Divestment/Investment, Indigenous Rights, Rights of Nature and United Nation Climate Conferences. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book, Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature. www.wecaninternational.org

●     Natalia Greene – CEDENMA (www.cedenma.org), South America

Natalia Greene is part of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal’s Secretariat.  She was actively involved in the recent Constitution process in Ecuador, particularly with the ‘Rights to Nature’ clause and the role of civil society and indigenous people in the process. Natalia is a consultant for Rights of Nature with Pachamama Alliance and is the focal point in Ecuador for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She graduated in Hampshire College, holds a Political Science master’s degree from FLACSO Ecuador and a master’s degree from UASB on Climate Change. She promoted the recognition of Rights for Nature in Ecuador’s Constitution and has worked on the environmental and indigenous aspects of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative to keep oil underground in the Amazon. From 2011 until 2013, Natalia Greene was the President of CEDENMA, the National Coordinating Entity for Environmental NGO’s, now re-elected for the 2018-2020 period. Nowadays she coordinates the Climate Justice National Platform and works with Terra Mater and Fundación Pachamama.

●     Valerie Cabanes (www.valeriecabanes.eu), Europe

Valerie Cabanes is a lawyer in international law with an expertise in international humanitarian law and human rights. She spent 18 years leading international programs in the fields of health and human rights for people with disabilities, women and children exploited and abused, street children and refugees. Since 2006, she has been involved in defending the rights of indigenous people. She started a PhD in Legal Anthropology in northern Quebec with the Innu people and then became involved in the defense of their ancestral territory threatened by large hydroelectric dam projects. In 2011, she also opposed such industrial projects in the Brazilian Amazon, in particular the Belo Monte dam, by preparing reports debated in the United Nations Human Rights Council or the European Parliament. In 2013, she participated in the launch of a European citizens’ initiative proposing a European directive on the crime of ecocide. Then, in 2015, she worked on a proposal for amendments to the Statute of the International Criminal Court on the crime of ecocide given to Ban Ki Moon at COP21. Valerie also co-organized during COP21 the 3rd International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature which took place in Paris in December 2015, then in 2016 in The Hague, the one organized by The Monsanto Tribunal foundation. She is, since 2016, part of the Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network. She contributed to 7 collective books and she is the author of Un nouveau Droit pour la Terre, pour en finir avec l’écocide (Paris, Seuil, 2016) translated by Natraj Publishers under the title Rights for the Earth (New Delhi, 2018), and Homo Natura, en harmonie avec le vivant (Paris, Buchet/Chastel, 2016).

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Among her books are Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development; and Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundación IDEAS, Spain’s Socialist Party’s think tank. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.

●     Michelle Maloney, PhD, Convenor, Australian Earth Laws Alliance (www.earthlaws.org.au), Australia-Oceania

Michelle Maloney, PhD Australian Earth Laws Alliance

Michelle Maloney holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and History) and Laws (Honours) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University.  She has more than 20 years’ experience designing and managing climate change, sustainability and environmental justice projects in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA.  Michelle met and fell in love with Earth jurisprudence and Wild Law in 2009 and since 2011 has been working to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law and governance in Australia.

As Co-Founder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Michelle manages the strategic direction and governance of the organization, including the extensive partnerships and networks that AELA has with the legal, academic and environmental advocacy communities.  Michelle is author and co-editor of ‘Australian Wild Law Judgments Project’ (forthcoming 2016), co-edited with Nicole Rogers and Wild Law in Practice’, (2014) Routledge Press, Law, Justice.


There are six other representatives on the Executive Committee:

  • Tom Goldtooth, IEN – Indigenous Leadership

Tom BK Goldtooth,  Dine’/Dakota, United States is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an international indigenous NGO based in Bemidji, Minnesota near the border of United States/Canada. A social change maker within the Native American community for over 36 years, has become an internationally renowned environmental, Climate and economic justice leader, working with many Indigenous People and social movements around the world. Tom co-produced the award-winning documentary, Drumbeat for Mother Earth, which addresses the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous people. Co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Nationality: United States.  President of the Fourth Rights of Nature Tribunal in Bonn, Germany.

Maude Barlow is the National Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She is a board member of the San Francisco–based International Forum on Globalization and a Councilor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.

Maude is the recipient of eleven honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).

In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 17 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever.

  • Shannon Biggs, Movement Rights

Shannon Biggs is the co-founder and Executive Director of Movement Rights, advancing legal rights for communities, indigenous peoples and ecosystems.  Working in California and with Native American tribes and allies nationally, Shannon assists communities to ban harmful projects by passing binding laws that assert the rights of communities and nature over corporate projects.  Internationally she is a recognized leader of the rights of nature/Mother Earth movement, a co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and the co-author/editor of two books including “The Rights of Nature, Making the Case for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature.”  Though Movement Rights she also leads trainings on community rights and rights of ecosystems throughout the US.  Previously she was a senior staffer at Global Exchange and the International Forum on Globalization. She holds a Masters of Science degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Economics — Politics of Empire. Nationality: United States

  • Michelle Bender, Earth Law Center

Michelle Bender is the Ocean Rights Manager at the Earth Law Center where she works towards promoting legal rights for marine ecosystems and species. Michelle is an environmental law and policy specialist with expertise in ocean and wildlife law, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. She conducts ongoing research and analysis for Friends of the Sea Otter and Donald Baur where, among other things, she advocates for the continued protection of the Southern Sea Otter and assisted with amicus brief preparation for federal court litigation in opposition to captive display of cetaceans (The ‘Born to be Free’ documentary involving this case is on Netflix).  She previously created a strategic plan for reducing the sources of plastic pollution entering the ocean at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, focusing on how to use law and policy to drive change. Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vermont Law School, where she earned a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy and holds a B.S. in Biology with a Marine Emphasis from Western Washington University.

  • Fiona Wilton, Gaia Foundation

Fiona Wilton, grew up on the beautiful coast of Cornwall in the UK, with a passion for the sea, sailing and big storms. Since the early 1990s, she has lived mostly in South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay) and worked alongside visionaries, activists, indigenous communities – all sharing the conviction that protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust.

Indigenous self-determination, reviving bio-cultural diversity, the protection of sacred natural sites, and promoting Earth-centered governance, or Earth Jurisprudence, have been key areas in her work and life, from grassroots to policy.

Fiona has worked for over 25 years with two remarkable NGOs, The Gaia Foundation (UK) and Gaia Amazonas (Colombia), mixed with occasional consultancy work for both international agencies and local indigenous organizations. She is currently involved in exciting new initiatives such as ‘The Path of the Anacondas’, for Andes-Amazon-Atlantic eco-cultural connectivity, and marine-coastal conservation along Uruguay’s ‘Route of the Whale’.

She has a MSc in Protected Landscape Management, is a member of the IUCN specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas and the UN Harmony with Nature knowledge network, and advisor to 1Earth Institute.

  • Margaret Stewart, CEJ/Barry University

Margaret Stewart serves as the Director at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, a United States based legal advocacy center. The mission of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence is to advance law, policy, and governance systems aimed to legally protect the sustainability of life and health on Earth. She oversees CEJ’s programs and operations and represents the Center on various coalitions. She has created educational forums throughout the United States and abroad and generates strategic partnerships. She manages CEJ communications, including social and print media, and is responsible for the identification and application of grants and other fundraising initiatives that have supported CEJ’s continued work. She also serves as the key Advisor to three law students that work with CEJ as Earth Law & Policy Fellows.

Margaret serves on the Executive Committee and formerly chaired the Legal Committee of the Florida Springs Council. She serves on the Board of the Orange County League of Women Voters, chairs the Natural Resource Committee, and chairs the Solar Co-Op Committee. She is a member of the Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Environmental & Land Use Law and Public Interest Law sections of the Florida Bar. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, her Masters in Non-Profit & Human Resources Management from Penn State University, her Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law, and her LL.M. from Western New England School of Law.

  • Samanta Novella, Nature Rights, France

Samanta Novella lives in Paris. She is French and was raised in Paraguay. She is the director of the NGO NatureRights and an artistic director. She gives a lot of time and energy to the End Ecocide movement, helping to organize, fund and promote our public events, as she truly believes that the recognition of the crime of ecocide will help to protect the rights of nature. She is very grateful for this initiative and proud of NatureRights for being a partner of such a movement. She was a key ally in the organization of the Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris, France.


AS OF 7 March 2018

  • Pablo Solón – Fundación Solón, Bolivia
  • Alberto Acosta – Ecuador
  • Linda Sheehan – Planet Pledge, USA
  • Carolyn Raffensperger – Rights of Future Generations, USA
  • Bill Twist – Pachamama Alliance, USA
  • Alicia Jimenez – Earth Charter, Costa Rica
  • Patricia Siemen, USA
  • Lisa Mead, Earth Law Alliance, UK
  • Esperanza Martínez, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador
  • Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch, USA
  • Liz Hosken, Director, Gaia Foundation

Rights of Nature Team

  • Hana Begovic, Organizer, Sweden – Ecuador
  • María del Mar Iturralde, Communications, Ecuador
  • Ashley Cline, Development Coordinator, USA
  • Robin Milam, Communications – USA

Founding Members

Latin America

North America





Expansion Members

Fundación Pachamama CEDIA Indigenous Environmental Network
Shinia http://www.cdh.org.ec/
Australian Earth Laws Alliance Global Exchange
WildLaw UK Gaia Foundation Logo de DMT México
African Biodiversity Network EnAct International Navdanya
Herencia The Bridge Tampa
Whale of a Time One World Awake Earth Junkies
Well Worn Theatre Company Eradicating Ecocide
CENTRO ECUATORIANO DE DERECHO AMBIENTAL earthjustice.org Biodiversity Matters
International Organization Childhood Cancer Save the Earth Cambodia Earth Law Alliance
logo-220x120-en SSummerLogoH_450x91 Biohabitats
Foundation for a Sustainable Future Tantra Foundation
CEDENMA edible planet Community and Family AId Foundation
WonderWorks Leadership Great Lakes Earth Institute Aid Organization of Bangladesh
Iracambi - Atlantic Rainforest Brazil - saving trees changing lives Hapicultuur Building Natural Life
newearth-institute lemkin-house-logo Eros Global Community
La Esperanto-Klubo Sudtirolo Mercy International Association ACTIVE REMEDY www.activeremedy.org.uk
huehuecoyotl_logo2 Resistence Growing Air Foundation
UFA World Futurist path to tradition Zero Waste Kauai
Rainbow Peace Caravan Logo Carvana Arcoiris Earth Partners Pachamama Romania
ecoterra-logo-weiss NaturesFriends
Long Branch Environmental Education Center OpEPA
evfhlogosolidcolor2 keeping nature green logo