Nature Puts Chevron Refinery and Legal System on “Trial”

Bay Area Rights of Nature People's Tribunal

“People’s Tribunal” in Oakland Seeks to Give Nature a Voice in Law

Oakland, CA — On Sunday October 5, human, indigenous and nature’s rights groups will hold a “Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance Ethics Tribunal,” examining the violations of community and nature’s rights caused by the fossil fuel industry, and using Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, California as a case study.  Recognizing ecosystem rights in law is a concept that has been gaining strength over the past decade, including in numerous US communities and the constitution of Ecuador.

Two years after the refinery explosion that rocked the Richmond community, residents still live with the threat and reality of further harm, while local air, water and land remain at risk. Moreover, despite having been found guilty of dozens of violations of the law in 2012, Chevron Corp. will be expanding operations at the refinery.

Richmond Chevron Fire 08-06-2012 - 5

Chevron has been destroying nature and poisoning people for over 100 years. Humanity is part of the web of life known as Nature. If Nature doesn’t have rights, then a viable future for the next seven generations is doubtful,says Richmond resident and Native American activist Pennie Opal Plant, who will speak at the Tribunal.

The free Tribunal will take place on Sunday, Oct. 5th from 10 am – 2 pm at The Forum, Laney College. It will highlight the impacts on people and nature from the Chevron refinery, and hear witness testimony regarding current legal and economic systems that advance violations of human and nature’s rights by the fossil fuel industry and others. Tribunal judges include:

  • Carl Anthony (Breakthrough Communities; Urban Habitat)
  • Brian Swimme (California Institute of Integral Studies; Journey of the Universe)
  • Anuradha Mittal (Oakland Institute)
  • Courtney Cummings (Arikara and Cheyenne; Native Wellness Center, Richmond)
  • Bill Twist (Pachamama Alliance)

The day will also include a “Web of Life Labyrinth” by local artists (opening at 9:30 am), local music, and food for purchase. The Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance is a network of leading San Francisco Bay Area nature’s rights, ecological justice, human rights, local economy, Indigenous, women’s, and other groups, who will be on hand to answer questions. The event is part of the global “Earth Rights Days of Action” sponsored by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is linked to the International Rights of Nature Tribunals in Quito, Ecuador (Jan. 2014) and Lima, Peru (Dec. 2014).

Save your space for this important event; register now at:

Media Contact:
Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center 510-219-7730
Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange 415.298.9419
Pennie Opal Plant, Gathering Tribes 510.390.0386

For a printable copy of this press release:  BARONA Tribunal Media Release 10-2-14