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Principles of Earth Jurisprudence

By Cormac Cullinan with contributions from Thomas Berry. Cited in “Earth Jurisprudence: From Colonization to Participation” by Cormac Cullinan, State of the World 2010, State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability (p.144 & 145.)

  • The Earth Community and all the beings that constitute it have fundamental “rights”, including the right to exist, to have a habitat or a place to be, and to participate in the evolution of the Earth community.
  • The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings to the extent necessary to maintain the other beings to the extent necessary to maintain the integrity, balance, and health of the communities within it exists.
  • Human acts or laws that infringe these fundamental rights violate the fundamental relationships and principles that constitute the Earth community and are therefore illegitimate and “unlawful.”
  • Humans must adapt their legal, political, economic, and social systems to be consistent with the fundamental laws or principles that govern how the universe functions and guide humans to in accordance with these, which means that human governance systems at all times must take account of the interests of the whole Earth community and must:
    • Determine the lawfulness of human conduct by whether or not it strengthens or weakens the relationships that constitute the Earth community;
    • Maintain a dynamic balance between the rights of humans and those of other members of the Earth community on the basis of what is best for Earth as a whole;
    • Promote restorative justice (which focuses on restoring damaged relationships) rather than punishment (retribution; and
    • Recognize all members of the Earth community as subjects before the law, with the right to the protection of the law and to an effective remedy for human acts that violate their fundamental rights.

With contributions from Thomas Berry and cited in “Earth Jurisprudence: From Colonization to Participation” by Cormac Cullinan, State of the World 2010, State of the World 2010: Transforming Cultures: From Consumerism to Sustainability p.144 & 145.