Founding member of the Global Alliance and Executive Committee Cormac Cullinan has been awarded the prestigious Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year (2012) at the 24th annual SAB Environmental Awards in Johannesburg. As an environmental and green business attorney, author, speaker, and climate justice advocate, Cormac has been an influential leader in the global Rights of Nature movement. His book Wild Law. A manifesto for Earth Justice first published in 2002 presents the framework for transforming legal systems to align with the laws of Nature and recognize Rights of Nature. In 2010, President Evo Morales invited Cormac to be a lead author of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Just in the last year, Cormac has been a keynote speaker for Rights of Nature events at the United Nations Conference on Climate Change COP17 in Durban, South Africa, the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the WildLaw Conference 2012 in Brisbane, Australia, and the Environmental Law Conference in Oslo, Norway. Cormac also prepared a draft People’s Charter for Africa.
The following is a Press Release announcing Cormac’s prestigious award.
CORMAC CULLINAN NAMED 2012 SAB ENVIRONMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
Cormac Cullinan has been awarded the prestigious Nick Steele Memorial Award for Environmentalist of the Year (2012) at the 24th annual SAB Environmental Awards in Johannesburg. Cormac is an author and practising environmental and green business attorney based in Cape Town. He is a director of the leading South African environmental law firm; Cullinan & Associates Inc. and of the governance consultancy EnAct International, and is a research associate of the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town.
Cormac is an author and practising environmental and green business attorney based in Cape Town. He is a director of the leading South African environmental law firm; Cullinan & Associates Inc. and of the governance consultancy EnAct International, and is a research associate of the Department of Public Law at the University of Cape Town.
Cormac has practised, taught and written about environmental law and policy since 1992 and has worked on environmental issues in more than 20 countries. In 2008 he was listed among the world’s most extraordinary environmental champions in Planet Savers: 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists; which lists 301 people in history to be commended for their important role in saving and conserving the environment and promoting sustainable governance ranging from St Francis of Assisi to Al Gore.
Cormac’s ground-breaking book Wild Law. A manifesto for Earth Justice was published in 2002 by Siberink and has since been republished in the United Kingdom, the United States and Italy. Wild Law recognises that humans are an integral part of a living system (Earth) and advocates transforming legal systems to align them with the laws of Nature, including by recognising legally enforceable rights for Nature. These ideas have become increasingly influential globally with organisations dedicated to promoting wild law and Earth jurisprudence now well established in the United Kingdom, United States, Australia and Italy. Cormac is also a founder and executive committee member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth that was adopted on 22 April 2010 by a World People’s Conference of 35,000 people in Bolivia. He is frequently invited to address international audiences in many countries and has addressed the United Nations General Assembly in New York (April 2011), the C40 Cities meeting in Hong Kong, and most recently, the 2012 “Festival of Dangerous Ideas” at the Sydney Opera House.
Cullinan and Associates Inc is the only South African law firm to be independently certified as having offset its carbon emission. The firm actively promotes environmental protection by assisting companies to establish green businesses and to comply with environmental laws, and by taking important environmental cases. Recently the firm successfully represented the City of Cape Town in securing an important Constitutional Court judgement that confirms that mining activities may not commence without land use planning approvals (the Maccsand case). Currently the firm is representing the Treasure the Karoo Action Group (TKAG) opposing fracking in the Karoo, the Thyspunt Alliance opposing the construction of a nuclear power at near Jeffries Bay and the amaMpondo communities fighting to prevent the construction of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road through their ancestral lands.
Over the past 15 years EnAct has played an important role in developing the legal and policy framework for environmental protection in South Africa and neighbouring countries. Cormac’s work has included leading the drafting of the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, the Forests Protocol to the SADC Treaty and the Agreement between South Africa, Namibia and Angola that established the Benguela Current Commission to enable co-operative management of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
Cormac also prepared a draft People’s Charter for Africa that was taken around South Africa by the Climate Change Train prior to the COP17 climate change meeting in Durban. He is committed to supporting the emergence of an Earth Democracy movement in South Africa that will enable all South Africans who love Africa to work together to create ecologically sustainable and socially just communities.
Cormac Cullinan was born and grew up in Pietermaritzburg, educated at the University of KwaZulu Natal and at Kings College, London and now lives with his wife Mary Ann Cullinan in Kenilworth Cape Town. He has two sons, a step-son and two step-daughters.