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Archive for earth jurisprudence

Earth-Centered Law and Regulation for Safeguarding Nature – IUCN World Conservation Congress

IUCN-RoN-Declaration-sponsors

Join Us for a Workshop on

“Earth-Centered Law and Regulation for Safeguarding Nature.”

September 4th, 8:30-10:30 a.m., Room 318A, Hawaii Convention Center, Session 10223

Introductory Remarks by Justice Antonio H. Benjamin, Chair, IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law

Why Should You Attend?

IUCN-Earth-Center-Law-workshop-vertical1) In 2012 the IUCN adopted Resolution 100, “Incorporation of the Rights of Nature as the organizational focal point in IUCN’s decision making.” This Resolution calls nature’s rights to become a “fundamental and absolute key element for planning, action and assessment” for the IUCN.

2) Resolution 100 further urges the IUCN to promote a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature.

3) Now is the time to act on this IUCN Resolution and shift our laws and actions from an anthropocentric to an Earth-centered worldview and ethic.

4) Laws derived from the Earth that recognize and protect nature’s rights can help reverse the damage to the natural world, as well as prevent further damage. Such laws also support human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights, as detailed in Earth Law Center’s report, Fighting for Our Shared Future: http://bit.ly/ELCCoVR

5) Over 845,000 people worldwide already support the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Attend this Workshop to learn more about how you can take part in the fast-growing rights of nature movement!

Speakers: Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center, USA (Rights of Nature); Sostine Namanya, NAPE, Uganda (Earth Jurisprudence); Betsan Martin, Int’l Alliance of Responsible and Sustainable Societies, New Zealand; (Responsibilities to Nature) Florence Clap, IUCN France (Ecological Reparations)

For more information, contact Linda Sheehan, lsheehan@earthlaw.org, or visit https://portals.iucn.org/congress/session/10223

Click for a printable  IUCN Earth-Centered Law and Regulation for Safeguarding Nature workshop flier.

Learn more about the proposed IUCN Universal Declaration for the Rights of Nature

To sign the Intervention urging the IUCN to implement Rights of Nature, and adopt a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature, please send your organization’s name and logo to mbender@earthlaw.org.

Related events of interest:
Workshop 10217, Protection of Sacred Natural Sites, Sept. 4, 11am-1pm
Workshop 10283, Ecologically Informed Global Ethics and Env’l Law, Sept. 2, 5-7pm
Workshop 10300, Environmental Rule of Law, Sept. 3, 2:30-4:30pm

Giving Mother Earth a Voice in Paris

NEWS RELEASE  November 27, 2015     Click for Press Release PDF
CONTACT: Natalia Greene, Secretariat  nati.greene@gmail.com

Giving Mother Earth a Voice in Paris

International Tribunal on Rights of Nature
Convenes during COP21
December 4-5, 2015 – Maison des Métallos

Paris, France – Key environmental justice issues from around the world will have their day in court when the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature convenes in Paris on December 4-5, 2015, against the backdrop of UNFCCC talks that must move beyond past failures and false solutions to avert global catastrophe.

The high profile international “Peoples Tribunal” – convened by leaders in Earth law and planetary justice from around the world – posits a new legal framework, drawing on the wisdom and cosmovision of indigenous people, aimed at achieving true systems change by recognizing the rights of ecosystems “to exist, persist, and regenerate their vital natural cycles.”

Under current law, nature is treated as private property to be destroyed for profit. It is a legal framework that is proving deadly to people and planet, requiring a transformation of our international and domestic legal systems toward a jurisprudence that recognizes rights of nature. The shift to this new legal framework is underway – Ecuador and Bolivia recognize rights of nature in their constitutions and more than two dozen municipalities in the United States have adopted rights of nature ordinances, including the city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (pop. 305,000).

A 13-member panel of judges will preside over the two-day Tribunal, hearing seven cases:

CLIMATE CRIMES AGAINST NATURE (December 4 at 9:40)

Former UN Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solón, Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians, and Maxime Combes of Attac France, will highlight false climate solutions that fail to address root problems – such as water privatization, “climate-smart agriculture,” REDD+, and other schemes – introducing expert witnesses and victims of climate crimes from Belarus, Canada, Ecuador, France, Mexico, Slovakia, and the Philippines.

FINANCIALIZATION OF NATURE (December 4 at 13:45)

Ivonne Yanez of Acción Ecológica will present three cases highlighting the crime of treating nature as a commodity, introducing expert witnesses from Brazil, Ecuador, and Kenya.

AGRO-FOOD INDUSTRY AND GMOS (December 4 at 15:00)

Indian ecologist and physicist Vandana Shiva of Navdanya and Ronnie Cummins of Organic Consumers will present the case against the global proliferation of GMOs and forms of industrial agriculture that destroy the soil, increase greenhouse gas emissions, pollute water, and reduce biodiversity, calling on expert witnesses from France, Mexico, and the United States.

DEFENDERS OF MOTHER EARTH (December 4 at 16:30)

Indigenous leaders, mining victims, and others who defend nature present the case of the growing risk of violence, including murder, faced by defenders of Mother Earth in South America but also in Europe and other parts of the world. A tragic example: Only days prior to testifying before the 2014 Tribunal in Lima, Peru, on Ecuador’s Mirador mine, José Isidro Tendetza Antun was killed.

FRACKING (December 5 at 9:15)

Shannon Biggs of Movement Rights, USA, and Geert De Cock of Food & Water Watch, Belgium, will present the case against hydraulic fracking, an extreme and devastating form of energy production, drawing on expert witnesses from France and the United States showing how communities have been effective in using rights of nature laws to ban fracking.

MEGA DAMS IN AMAZON (December 5 at 10:30)

Gert-Peter Bruch of Planete Amazone presents the case against building mega dams in the Amazon, with indigenous leaders as expert witnesses testifying to the displacement of tens of thousands and the destruction of the Amazon threatened by the proposed massive diversion of rivers.

CHEVRON AND YASUNÍ (December 5 at 14:15)

Carlos Larrea and Pablo Fajardo, Ecuadorean lawyers who litigated the case in Ecuador against Chevron, argue against the proposed oil exploitation of the Amazon’s pristine Yasuní National Park. Calling on the testimony of indigenous leaders, they also demonstrate the impact of decades of pollution from oil drilling by Chevron and argue for addressing such harms as ecocide under the terms Valérie Cabanes of End Ecocide on Earth explains just prior to their presentation, making the case for recognizing ecocide under international criminal law.

The Earth Defenders prosecuting the cases at the Tribunal are Ramiro Ávila, law professor, Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador), and Linda Sheehan, Director, Earth Law Center (US).

The distinguished panel of Tribunal judges, headed by South African attorney Cormac Cullinan, author of WildLaw: A Manifesto for Earth Justice, includes: Alberto Acosta, former President of the Constitutional Assembly (Ecuador); Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Nigeria); Christophe Bonneuil, science historian (France); Dominique Bourg, professor of geosciences (Switzerland); Philippe Desbrosses, author, environmental sciences expert, organic farmer (France); Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director, Indigenous Environmental Network (US, Dine’ and Dakota); Osprey Orielle Lake, Executive Director, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (US); Ruth Nyambura, African Biodiversity Network (Kenya); Felício Pontes, Federal Prosecutor (Brazil); Damien Short, Director of the Human Rights Consortium (UK); Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch founder (US); and Terisa Turner, professor of anthropology, former UN Energy Specialist (Canada).

The judges will render decisions calling for reparation, mitigation, restoration, and prevention of further damages and harm. Although its decisions do not presently carry the force of law, the Tribunal provides the world with a model for adjudicating cases under a legal framework that recognizes the rights of nature, offering a real and present solution to the root problem behind climate change and other human-induced ecological disasters.

The Paris Tribunal marks the third time the International Tribunal for Rights of Nature has convened. Sponsored by the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, the inaugural Tribunal was held in Quito, Ecuador, in January 2013, followed by a session in Lima, Peru, in December 2014. Natalia Greene (Ecuador), Tribunal Secretariat, Cormac Cullinan (South Africa), Tribunal President, and Samanta Novella (France) of NatureRights, will introduce the proceedings.

The Tribunal will convene from 9:00 – 13:00 and 14:00 – 18:00 on Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5, at the Maison des Métallos in the 11th arrondissement at 94, Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud. Registration required: http://therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal-paris/.

Responding to the Great Work: The Role of Earth Jurisprudence and Wild Law in the 21st Century

By Dr. Michelle Maloney* and Sister Patricia Siemen**
ENVIRONMENTAL AND EARTH LAW JOURNAL, Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law, Vol. 5 (2015) > Iss. 1

I. Introduction

Despite a proliferation of environmental law in the United Statesand around the world, the health of the natural world continues todeteriorate. In this paper, we will build on the idea that what we need is not more environmental law, but different approaches to managing human relationships with the Earth. We will argue that the burgeoning Earth jurisprudence movement offers a deep philosophical anchor and a range of practical and multi-disciplinary approaches necessary to create law reform and societal change that will better support the natural world and human societies than our current system. We will also suggest that one of the greatest strengths of Earth jurisprudence is its ability to combine a rational critique of some of our oldest western, legal, and governance structures, with a less rational and more emotive call to return to a sacred appreciation of the Earth and the wider Earth Community.

In Section II, we will outline the origins and key elements of the Earth jurisprudence movement and will demonstrate the ways that Earth jurisprudence can be used to offer a cohesive framework within which law, politics, science, economics, ethics, traditional wisdom and human spirituality can be woven together to create a more effective governance approach to nurturing the Earth. In Section III, we will explore some of the ways groups inspired by Earth laws have implemented their work.

Next, we will provide an overview of the work being carried out by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, an international network of lawyers and Earth Advocates. Finally, we will focus on the work of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence (CEJ) and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) as further examples of the innovative approaches being carried out by advocates for Earth jurisprudence.

*Dr. Michelle Maloney is National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (www.earthlaws.org.au) and was a Visiting Scholar and Earth Laws Specialist at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence (www.EarthJuris.org) at the time of writing this paper. She can be contacted at: convenor@earthlaws.org.au

**Sister Pat Siemen OP, JD, is the Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence at Barry University School of Law (www.EarthJuris.org).

Download article …

Responding to the Great Work: The Role of Earth Jurisprudence and Wild Law in the 21st Century

Abstract

In this lead article, the authors build on the idea that we do not need more environmental law in response to the deteriorating health of the natural world. Rather, they argue that what is needed are different approaches to managing human relationships with the earth. They argue that the burgeoning Earth jurisprudence movement offers a deep philosophical anchor and a range of practical and multi-disciplinary approaches necessary to create law reform and societal change that will better support the natural world and human societies than our current system. The authors will outline the origins and key elements of the Earth jurisprudence movement. In addition, they explore some of the ways groups inspired by Earth laws have implemented their work. Lastly, they will provide an overview of the work being carried out by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Earth Advocates, the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance.

Recommended Citation

Maloney, Dr. Michelle and Siemen, Sister Pat OP, JD (2015) “Responding to the Great Work: The Role of Earth Jurisprudence and Wild Law in the 21st Century,” Environmental and Earth Law Journal (EELJ): Vol. 5: Iss.

Laudato Si’ – A story of right relationships

By Patricia Siemen Global Sisters Report, A project of National Catholic Report, July 7, 2015

Sr. Pat Siemen participates in the Earth Rights march in Durban, South Africa during the COPs 17 U.N. climate conference December 2011.

“It’s all a question of story,” wrote Thomas Berry. “We are in trouble now because we do not have a good story .. . . and the old story, the account of how we fit into it, is no longer effective. We have not yet learned the new story.”

Pope Francis’s long-awaited encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si tells a story and issues a call to all people to act on behalf of our common home. It offers much more than a treatise on the environment and climate change; it sets a cosmological context of belonging to creation as relatives, as brothers and sisters (11). It calls for an ecological spirituality and conversion (216), and offers a moral framework for both individual and collective response to care for our common home.

As an Earth lawyer and Catholic sister striving to awaken people to the peril of Earth’s desecration and the promise of acting as a single community of life, I hear Francis’s story with gratitude and relief.

Francis weaves a story of integral ecology (137).

“. . . [W]e have to realize that a true ecological approach always becomes a social approach; it must integrate the questions of justice in debates on the environment, so as to hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor” (49).

He emphasizes the interrelationship between environmental destruction, anthropocentric domination of nature, disregard for people who are poor and vulnerable among us, extinction of species and the plunder of an unrestrained global economic system. Pollution and climate change, depletion of fresh water, biodiversity loss and disregard for human communities are the consequence “of short-sighted approaches to the economy, commerce and production” (32).

Francis connects the value of human life with the value of the Earth community which sustains all life. “It is not enough . . . to think of different species merely as potential ‘resources’ to be exploited, while overlooking the fact that they have value in themselves” (33).

While sliding over the consequences of overpopulation (50), Francis boldly identifies the interrelated, causal dynamics that are destroying the fabric of our common home.

I was engaged, surprised, grateful and often in tears as I read Francis’s epic story. It was encouraging to discover how closely it aligns with the sacred story that guides me and the work of Earth jurisprudence that is rooted in kinship.

Read Sister Pat’s complete article …

Finally Being Heard: The Great Barrier Reef and the International Rights of Nature Tribunal

By Michelle Maloney, PhD, Australian Earth Laws Alliance

In January 2014, the newly created International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature and Mother Earth (‘the Tribunal’) sat for the first time in Quito, Ecuador. The Tribunal, created by international civil society network ‘The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature’, admitted nine cases, including a claim on behalf of the Great Barrier Reef. Given the Tribunal has emerged from civil society rather than state-centred international law and given Australia’s legal system does not recognise the intrinsic rights of plants, animals, or ecosystems to exist, what possible benefit does this Tribunal offer the Great Barrier Reef? In this paper, I outline the creation and ongoing hearings of the International Tribunal and suggest that like many “people’s tribunals” before it, the Rights of Nature Tribunal offers a powerful alternative narrative to that offered by western legal systems regarding environmental destruction. It is also has the potential to play a role in transforming existing law and offers a welcome, cathartic contribution to the burgeoning field of Earth jurisprudence.

Great Barrier Reef Australian turtle

Click for more information

Finally Being Heard: The Great Barrier Reef and the International Rights of Nature Tribunal is published in the Griffith Journal of Law & Human Dignity Vol 3 (1) 2015, Griffth University, Queensland, Australia.  In the article, Michelle Maloney defines Earth jurisprudence and the Rights of Nature and situates the International Rights of Nature Tribunal within the work of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and the broader context of the ecological crisis. She outlines the Great Barrier Reef case, which the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (‘AELA’) took to the International Tribunal in Quito and progressed in October 2014, by convening a Regional Chamber of the International Tribunal in Australia.

She argues that like many “people’s tribunals” before it, the Rights of Nature Tribunal offers a powerful alternative narrative to that currently offered by the mainstream legal system regarding environmental destruction. It is also pregnant with the promise of transforming existing law and offers a welcome, cathartic contribution to the burgeoning field of Earth jurisprudence.

Read the full article at Finally Being Heard: The Great Barrier Reef and the International Rights of Nature Tribunal.

*Michelle Maloney is the National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and is also currently working at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, Barry University Law School, Florida USA. She can be contacted on convenor@earthlaws.org.au.

WHOLE: Working Holistically on Legal Evolution

by Mumta Ito

The International Centre for Wholistic Law announces WHOLE: Working Holistically on Legal Evolution Workshop Saturday – Sunday 25-26 January 2014, Findhorn Scotland.

Following the success of our inaugural workshop in May “Evolving Earth Law: Co-Creating a New Legal Paradigm”, we are hosting another workshop that will use systemic constellations to look at environmental and legal issues with a view on evolving our approach to embrace a whole systems perspective. We will also take some time to give an update on the Global Alliance Rights of Nature Conference and the European Citizens Initiative for the Rights of Nature.

In the interests of meeting the diverse economic needs of participants, the workshop is offered on a donation basis – we will be transparent about our costs and ask you to attune to your contribution at the end.

For a printable flyer on the event click:

WHOLE: Working Holistically on Legal Evolution

Dates: Sat 25 – Sun 26 January 2014

Venue: Findhorn Foundation Community

Cost: By donation

For more information on Mumta Ito and her work through the International Centre for Wholistic Law, read Defending Nature with Wholistic Law.

For more precise details please see flyer attached. On how to get to Findhorn see http://www.findhorn.org/visit/getting-here/ and where to stay in the Foundation http://www.findhorn.org/visit/b-and-b/.

Visit International Centre for Wholistic Law at www.wholistic-law.org

Earth guidebook: Cullinan’s ‘Wild Law’

In response to the growing Rights of Nature movement in Vermont, including the proposed Rights of Nature amendment to the Vermont State Constitution, the Burlington Free Press, Burlington, VT has published three articles:

Earth guidebook: Cullinan’s ‘Wild Law’ by Cormac Cullinan, includes excerpts from Cullinan’s “Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice”.  Cormac Cullinan is a South African Environmental Attorney.  A founding and Executive Team member of the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, Cormac is a global advocate for Rights of Nature.

The law, Marx and Mother Earth by Free Press Staff Writer Joel Banner Baird details the Vermont movement to implement Rights of Nature in the State Constitution as proposed by Stephen Marx.

Earth Law’s long reach by Free Press Staff Writer Joel Banner Baird interviewing Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of the Earth Law Center and instructor of the Earth Law class at Vermont Law School.  Stephen Marx audited Sheehan’s class in 2012.

The law, Marx and Mother Earth

See you in court? Mother Earth has an ally in Stephen Marx on the march for her legal rights in Vermont.

Read the full article The law, Marx and Mother Earth in the Burlington Free Press, by Joel Banner Baird, Burlington, VA.

Joel Banner Baird details Stephen Marx’s determination to add “Ch.1, Article 22 (Rights of Nature). That the natural environment of Vermont, including its forests, natural areas, surface and ground waters, and fish and wildlife populations, has certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights to clean water and air.” to the Vermont State Constitution.

In 2012, Marx’s home town of Strafford voted to approve the amendment to grant legal rights to Nature.  The amendment is moving forward to other townships in Vermont.

Baird references allies who have taken similar steps, from Ecuador to the City of Pittsburgh, PA.

In response to a threat to groundwater posed by hydro-fracking, the city of Pittsburgh passed a law, a section of which reads:

“Natural communities and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, wetlands, streams, rivers, aquifers, and other water systems, possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist and flourish within the City of Pittsburgh. Residents of the City shall possess legal standing to enforce those rights on behalf of those natural communities and ecosystems.”

Dozens of other jurisdictions have similar laws on the books, documented on the Earth Law Center website: earthlaw.org.

Why did Stephen Marx initiate the State Constitution amendment process?

The 2010 U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of “corporate personhood” (in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission) tipped the scales.

“It was really bothering me. I was getting angrier and angrier,” Marx remembers. “I tend to shut down when I’m angry, so I walked up the hill with May (his dog). I said to myself, ‘Wait a second — corporations have rights. We gave them rights; I gave them rights’ — I mean, I vote; I accept responsibility. It means that corporations can do whatever they want, but the Earth can’t. And that was it.

Everyone had been saying ‘We can change this,’” Marx continued. “And then it came to me: We can’t change this — no one’s going to change multinational corporations. But maybe we can make it an even playing field. It became something positive, instead of a negative.”

Then he audited the Earth Law course at Vermont Law School taught by Linda Sheehan, Executive Director, Earth Law Center.

Read the full article The law, Marx and Mother Earth in the Burlington Free Press, by Joel Banner Baird, Burlington, VA.