Archive for Gaia Foundation

Earth Law Updates – May 11, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here’s the latest Earth law update:

  • The fifteenth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues is currently taking place in New York, from 9th to 20th In its ‘Proud to be Indigenous’ weeks, Cultural Survival is aiming to create a storm of online activity to enable the voices of those who are unable to attend the meeting in New York to be heard.
  • The Land Rights Now alliance, a global initiative to secure indigenous and community land rights, was launched in March and already has more than 400 organisations and communities participating. Currently it is estimated that only 10% of lands held collectively are formally recognised as owned or managed by indigenous peoples and local communities. The initiative aims to double this area of land by 2020.
  • Grant Township in Pennsylvania, USA, has passed a law legalising direct action to prevent the fracking wastewater injection wells within the township. The law permits non-violent direct action to enforce the provisions of the Grant Township Community Bill of Rights Ordinance which established rights to clean air and water, the right to local community self-government and the rights of Nature. The proposed well would be a violation of those rights.
  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance will be holding an evening seminar with a facilitated discussion ‘Exploring Earth Laws, Earth Democracy and the Rights of Nature’ on 20th This is aimed at deepening understanding and enabling support for individual and collective activity.


Earth law update – April 27, 2016

From Tom Brenan, Gaia Foundation

Here is the latest update on Earth law developments:

  • The United Nations (UN) Harmony with Nature Programme has launched its Knowledge Network, an online platform which will host a series of inter-disciplinary dialogues between practitioners, academics and researchers about Earth Jurisprudence and how we can move away from a human-centred worldview and establish an Earth-centred relationship with the planet. As mentioned in earlier updates, this follows a report and a UN resolution last year to initiate a virtual dialogue to inspire citizens and societies to reconsider how they interact with the natural world in order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals on Harmony with Nature.
  • Speaking at a meeting in New York with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, inviting world leaders to Habitat III (the third UN Conference on Sustainable Urban Development) to be held in Quito, Ecuador in October, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said that Habitat III ‘must seek to guarantee the right to city, to public services, to basic services, to sustainable development that respects the rights of Nature’. Highlighting that Ecuador is the only country in the world with a constitution recognising the rights of Nature, he emphasised the hope that the New Urban Agenda (the outcome document from Habitat III) reflects the Ecuadorian concept of ‘buen vivir’ or ‘living well’, an indigenous concept adopted as the country’s guiding principle for sustainable development.
  • The Rights and Resources Initiative has launched a new report analysing countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to reducing greenhouse gas emissions submitted in advance of the Paris Agreement. The report finds that only 11% of countries which submitted plans made clear commitments to tenure security for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, failing to recognise that by preventing changes in land use and land cover Indigenous Peoples and local communities play a crucial role in helping to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • The Australian Earth Laws Alliance has issued an invitation to participate in ‘Building the new economy: activism, enterprise and social change’ a conference being held with the University of New South Wales, in Sydney on 16th and 17th August 2016. The conference will tease out connections between movements and ask a series of questions such as: ‘How can we reimagine work, exchange, money, care, law and our relationship with the natural world through the prism of a new economy?’.

COP Out: The hollow promise of the Paris climate deal

Hal Rhoades, Gaia Foundation, December 16, 2015

COP21 has had a mixed reception and the agreement reached has been criticised more for what it doesn’t say as much as for what it does. The Gaia Foundation’s latest blog COP out: The hollow promise of the Paris climate deal reflects on what was agreed and highlights the powerful message from the International Rights of Nature Tribunal.

Hal Rhoades discusses why, despite the hype, the climate agreement hatched by world governments in Paris won’t save us from climate catastrophe. With analysis on key areas of the agreement text and discussion of the latest climate science, he argues that people’s movements, not multilateral theatrics, represent our best hope for avoiding climate disaster.

“Perhaps because it provided this anchor, for me, the most powerful event in the civil society spaces outside COP21was the International Rights of Nature Tribunal. The Tribunal advances a new legal paradigm that draws on Indigenous knowledge and governance systems, recognising nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. It represents one critical way to revive the planetary realism we need so desperately right now and is a model that should be taken and replicated elsewhere, and soon.

There is no one solution to climate crisis, no silver bullet. Nor can any one person, or government, or group of governments articulate an entire alternative system to our current one that is at war with people and planet. Rather, the systems change we want and so desperately need will emerge from the actions of our societies’, bravest, most vibrant, resilient and determined groups, who are driven by a moral imperative that transcends current norms and augurs a better future. Ever was it thus.”

Read Gaia Foundation’s blog at COP out: The hollow promise of the Paris climate deal

COP21: call for international treaty on rights of nature and communities

By Hal Rhoades, 8th December 2015, The Ecologist

Portrait of Shuar Indian in Ecuador's Amazon, where gross violations of human and environmental rights have been committed by oil companies. Photo: 00rini hartman via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).A new initiative launched alongside COP21 in Paris this week is aiming to “Adopt and implement an international treaty to prevent and enforce against corporate human rights violations” and “Incorporate rights of nature principles into existing human rights instruments and bodies.”

The manifesto to end ‘co-violations’ of nature’s rights and human rights is set out in a report that examines 100 such examples worldwide, from the Arctic home of the Sami to Shuar territory in the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of the Earth Law Center (ELC) described how these individual co-violations reflect a global pattern of violence that is a result of “treating the natural world as property to fuel economic growth, and the myth that this can be infinite.

“Across the globe, corporations and governments injure both people and ecosystems … These injuries increasingly represent simultaneous violations, or ‘co-violations’, of human rights and nature’s rights. Every year hundreds of people are killed defending their lands from destructive projects, and as a result of their pollution and destruction.

“We must reverse the path we’re on towards more and more of these co-violations by evolving our laws and courts to recognize that our well-being is inextricably linked with the Earth’s”, said Sheehan.

The article goes on to describe impassioned testimony of esteemed authorities from around the world at International Rights of Nature Tribunal. Witnesses included Vandana Shiva, Chief Raoni Metuktire and Pablo Solon and others who shared examples of how corporations, states and international bodies like the World Bank are violating nature’s rights.

For complete article visit: COP21: call for international treaty on rights of nature and communities


Hal Rhoades is Communications and Advocacy Officer at The Gaia Foundation which is actively working to advance Earth Jurisprudence and the recognition of the Rights of Nature around the world. He is also a regular contributor to Intercontinental Cry.

The report: Fighting for Our Shared Future is available in full via Earth Law Center’s website. For more information about the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature, visit the Global Alliance of the Rights of Nature.




This November a new global movement will be born as communities across the world unite in their resistance to the extractive industries and together say “Yes to Life, No to Mining”.

This is about standing together and standing up for the Earth community. We invite you to be part of this movement, joining in solidarity and sharing your inspiring stories and messages of resistance. Here’s how you can be a part of it…

Post a photo and tweet #yestolifenotomining or #sialavidanoalamineria

Take a photo of yourself, a friend, your community, or something altogether more imaginative, with a sign featuring your words of action or support. Your message could read Yes to Life, No to Mining or it could be more personal to you and your resistance efforts: No to Coal! Leave the oil in the soil! Frack off. In Solidarity. Here are some examples to inspire creativity…

Email us your photo (to or, better still, upload it directly onto Twitter. Use the hashtags #yestolifenotomining or #sialavidanoalamineria. This means your photo automatically appears on the homepage of the website and is beamed around the world on social media. We want as many people as possible to use the #yestolifenotomining hashtag so we can make a real noise around this radical but critical stance.

Connect with Others

Our short film, In Solidarity, shows how one community resisting a gold mine in Colombia reached out by way of letter to a community resisting fracking in the UK. It reinforced our vision; the power of togetherness. To continue in this spirit, we encourage both the general public and mining affected communities to connect with one another through the website. This is possible in a number of ways:

  • Leave a message of support underneath stories of resistance (start a conversation, give advice or simply leave words of encouragement), or contribute your own story.
  • Dialogue on twitter #yestolifenotomining
  • Contact us directly using the contact form on the website


On the homepage of the website and on numerous other pages across the site you’ll see a bold Pledge function. Here you can sign up your name and email and become part of the Yes to Life, No to Mining movement by pledging your support.
yes to lifeNO TO MINING

Email your photo to
or, upload it directly onto Twitter.

The Yes to Life, No to Mining movement was conceived by a group of individuals, organisations and networks – from Africa, Europe, North and South America – all concerned with the wellbeing of our planet in the face of the exponential growth of mining over the last decade.

We were moved to take action against the increasingly devastating impact of the extractives industries.

The expansion and increasing aggression of mining and the extractive industries threaten the health and integrity of Earth, our only source of life. The plundering of our living planet in the pursuit of profit, and the myths of progress and eternal economic growth, must stop.

We want to encourage communities saying NO to mining to connect across the planet, to collaborate and build their confidence through mutual solidarity, and support one another to stand firm.

We stand for Life on our Planet – because it is increasingly threatened. We stand in Solidarity – with human communities, with all the living beings with whom we share the Earth, and future generations of all species. We stand with You – the millions of people around the world who are standing up to say “Yes to life, No to mining!”, defending ancestral territories, farmlands, pastoral lands, wild lands, sacred lands, water systems, villages and homes.

Yes to Life, No to Mining resolves to:

  • Stand in solidarity with communities who choose to resist mining, however it affects them, and to defend their ancestral rights and responsibilities to future generations of all species.
  • Support indigenous and local communities who choose to maintain and strengthen their traditional knowledge, practices and governance systems, and to secure recognition for their territories, customary laws and ways of governing their lives.
  • Support, encourage and develop initiatives – such as agroecology and reforestation – that protect and enhance living systems as alternatives to mining.
  • Encourage initiatives attempting to move industrial society away from consumption, waste, growth and towards a circular economic system. We support those empowering communities and society at large to reclaim their brains, change their attitudes to ‘stuff’ and create an ecological and meaningful materialism; those designing and creating products to last; those that minimize the use, or encourage the re-use, of minerals and metals; those that implement a zero waste policy; further investment in ecologically and socially just innovations for an end to throwaway consumer culture.
  • Support advocacy strategies and initiatives to withdraw subsidies from the fossil fuel industry and invest in energy justice instead – in the form of reduced and more equitable consumption of energy, produced by small-scale, renewable and decentralised technologies, developed within principles of a circular, zero-waste economic system.
  • Encourage initiatives that (re)establish legal strategies and precedents that build a body of law rooted in the laws of the Earth. These would enforce the recognition of the Rights of Nature, deter Ecocide and allow ecologically and socially just societies to emerge.yes to life NO TO MINING

Share this call as a PDF file YLNM statement for launch_global voice

Read more at YLNM_2pager


Short Circuit Report – the True Cost of Our Electronic Gadgets

Gaia Foundation, ABN, and allies have just launched Short Circuit Report:  The Lifecycle of our Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth

ShortCircuitReportA new report launched by The Gaia Foundation, African Biodiversity Network (ABN), and allies, exposes the social and ecological atrocities and the toxic legacy of gadgets such as smartphones and laptops. From environmental destruction and contamination caused by extraction, exploitative working conditions during production, to the mountains of e-waste being shipped abroad, the report follows the birth, life and death of everyday gadgets and reveals their true cost to the planet and to future generations.

Short Circuit – The Lifecycle of our Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth is the follow-up to the 2012 report, Opening Pandora’s Box, which exposed the alarming scale and rate of growth of the extractive industries and the disastrous ecological impact that this is having across the world. Short Circuit turns our attention to a key driver of this growth – the surge in consumerism and an increasingly throw-away culture, fuelled by marketing and illusions of necessity, and supported by the built-in obsolescence of our electronic gadgets.

Among the thought provocative Stories of Creativity included in the report is Reconnecting with Earth Our Source of Life and Law by Carine Nadal which examines how we can re-connect with Earth, relearn her laws, and recognize Rights of Nature.

You can download the full report as a pdf here: SHORT CIRCUIT or read the Executive Summary.


Sacred Voices


Published on Sep 7, 2012

Gaia FoundationSacred Voices is a short film which shares the messages of eight traditional Sacred Natural Site Custodians from Kenya, Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda. They share an ancient birthright and duty to protect the Sacred Natural Sites found within their territories. In April 2012 a unique meeting brought them together to share their experiences and concerns relating to their Sacred territories and the threats that they face. Together they drafted a “Statement on Common African Customary Laws for the Protection of Sacred Natural Sites” and created this film.

The Gaia Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network supported the making of this film in order that their voices are heard and shared, their opinions listened to and their requests supported. The film is being shown at conferences and film festivals around the world and we ask you to support this by sharing it amongst your own colleagues, peers, friends and family.

Thanks to partners The Mupo Foundation, MELCA Ethiopia, the Institute for Culture & Ecology, RIDEP and NAPE for their unending commitment to supporting Sacred Sites Custodians and for helping to bring about this important meeting and film. Find out more at and

Short Circuit – Lifecycle of Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth

The Gaia Foundation in conjunction with the APPCCG

Report Launch: Short Circuit – The Lifecycle of Our Electronic Gadgets
and the True
Cost to Earth
Wednesday, 24th April 2013, 3:00 – 4:30pm, Committee Room 11,
House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

We are pleased to invite you to the launch of our new report: Short Circuit – The Lifecycle of Our Electronic Gadgets and the True Cost to Earth, from The Gaia Foundation and collaborative partners including the London Mining Network and Friends of the Earth.

The Short Circuit report follows on from the 2012 report, Opening Pandora’s Box, also launched with the APPCCG in February 2012. Opening Pandora’s Box exposed the global acceleration of land grabbing and environmental destruction by the extractive industries. The Short Circuit report explores one of the drivers of this expansion in mining – the production of consumer electronic products. It looks at each stage of the lifecycle of modern electronic gadgets such as smartphones and laptops, from extraction to production, design and marketing, through to use and disposal. The story of our electronic gadgets is characterised by devastating extractive processes, human rights abuses, complex transnational supply chains, inbuilt obsolescence and rapid technology upgrades, e-waste, toxic waste, and at the heart of it all, the desire to have the latest gadget, no matter what the true cost. The aim of the Short Circuit report is to expose the hidden costs behind these electronic items so that as individuals and as a society we can re-evaluate their true value.

This report launch will bring together a panel to discuss the failings of the current system and the ways in which we can act for change.


  • Liz Hosken, Director, The Gaia Foundation. Gaia and allies are releasing the report.
  • Richard Solly, Coordinator, the London Mining Network. The LMN exposes the role of companies listed on the London Stock Exchange and London-based funders in the promotion of unacceptable mining projects.
  • Julian Kirby, Resource Use Campaigner at Friends of the Earth England, Wales & Northern Ireland. FoE’s Make It Better campaign is calling for tough new laws to ensure that phone manufacturers and other companies reveal the full social and environmental impacts of their supply chains.
  • Sophie Thomas, co-director of design at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) and co-founder of The Great Recovery Project which is bringing together designers, material experts, manufacturers, retailers, policy makers, government, and consumers to create initiatives which move us towards a circular economy. She is a pioneer in sustainable communication design and Director of Design for the Useful Simple Trust.

If you would like to attend this meeting, RSVP to Helen Strong on or telephone: +44 (0) 207 428 0055. Please enter by Cromwell Green (visitors) entrance and allow about 15 minutes to pass through security.