Sunday, October 5, 2014 a peoples’ tribunal convened by the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance found Chevron, its Richmond refinery and the fossil fuel industry guilty of “violations to human rights and rights of natural ecosystems.” The Bay Area Tribunal puts forth a new vision of living in harmony with the earth and the natural world through recognizing the rights of nature. The rulings call for defining new economic models, social systems and governance structures to create a new path forward that recognize the interdependencies of humans and earth systems.
A distinguished Tribunal panel of judges included Carl Anthony, architect, author, urban strategist, co-founder of the Breakthrough Communities Project., Courtney Cummings, Bay Area Native, indigenous leader and Bay Area activist; Brian Swimme, author, professor and founder of the Center for the Story of the Universe; Bill Twist co-founder and CEO for the Pachamama Alliance and Anuradha Mittal founder and executive director Oakland Institute. The judges shared opening statements before the Prosecutor and Defense presented their opening positions.
Citing the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Prosecutor Linda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center outlined violations of nature’s rights and human rights by the Chevron refinery in Richmond and the broader fossil fuel industry. Ms Sheehan also outlined violations of the rights of communities to freely govern their own well-being, especially in light of Chevron’s controversial new expansion project, its support for specific Richmond candidates for local election, as well as questionable new legislation that would allegedly prevent full public transparency of industry operations.
Furthermore, Ms Sheehan asserted that the overarching governance and economic systems at large are co-conspirators in the violations of nature’s rights, human rights and community rights.
She challenged the judges to find that new laws, economic models and governance structures are needed to create a new path forward and urged that Chevron and the fossil fuel industry be required to support the emerging efforts to redesign legal, social and economic systems to recognize rights of natural systems and systemic solutions.
For the full story and videos of the hearings, visit Chevron and Fossil Fuel Industry – Peoples’ Tribunal on Rights of Nature