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Archive for Rights of Nature

European Parliament in Brussels – Envisioning a world that considers nature’s rights

Enhancing the value of nature can play an important role in addressing some of the planet’s most pressing environmental challenges. Acknowledging nature’s rights may be a useful tool to help  leverage nature and aid in reaching Europe’s biodiversity targets. On 29 March 2017, Nature’s Rights – a non-profit organisation seeking to establish legal personality and rights for ecosystems and species – held an event at the European Parliament in Brussels, to launch their initiative in Europe and explore the possibilities granting nature’s rights could bring to the discussion.

Envisioning a world that considers nature’s rights: An introductory discussion in Europe

Co-hosted by MEPs Pavel Poc, Vice-Chair of ENVI Committee; Benedek Jávor, Vice-Chair of ENVI Committee; and Marco Affronte, ENVI Committee Member, the event: “Nature’s Rights Conference : The Missing Piece of the Puzzle” brought together a high-level panel to discuss how granting legal rights to nature might help to create the paradigm shift needed to live more sustainably and harmoniously within our planet’s limits.

Luc Bas, Director, IUCN European Regional Office provided one of the keynote speeches sharing IUCN’s views on rights for nature. IUCN and its Members clearly recognise the importance of nature’s rights as the resolution “Incorporation of the Rights of Nature as the organisational focal point in IUCN decision making”  was adopted at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2012 in Jeju. The Resolution invites IUCN and its Members to promote the development of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature as a first step towards  reconciliation between human beings and the Earth as the basis of our lives, as well as the foundations of a new civilising pact. Since then, the rights for nature has also been referenced in the IUCN Global Programme 2017-2020, adopted in at the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2016 in Hawaiʽi.

“Being a science-based and evidence-based organisation, IUCN will continue to explore and evaluate the benefits of such an initiative,” said Luc Bas.

IUCN was joined by Hans Bruyninckx, Executive Director, European Environment Agency who talked about the need for systemic solutions to address the challenges of the 21st Century. Panellists included Proffesor Massimiliano Montini, Sienna University and Cambridge University C-EENRG Fellow; MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP); Jen Morgan, Systems Change Consultant; and Mumta Ito, Lawyer and Founder of Nature’s Rights.

Learn more about Nature’s Rights and their draft directive here.

Enshrining Rights of Nature in Law by Mumta Ito, TEDx Findhorn

Speaking at TEDxFindhorn, Mumta Ito advocates enshrining Rights of Nature in law in order for humans to protect the environment that we all need for our very existence.

In her passionate talk, Mumta points out that although Humans have the Right to Life, Nature –  which provides all the materials for our lives – has no such Rights.

 

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

Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta

Thank you Dan Bacher and Daily Kos, Monday May 02, 2016, 8:48 AM PDT, for this article.

Photo by Dan Bacher

Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the judges of the tribunal, asked a question of witness Roger Mammon. Photo by Dan Bacher.

Many people have opined about Governor Jerry Brown’s environmentally devastating Delta Tunnels Plan, but nobody, including the Brown and Obama administrations promoting the project, have asked the alleged “beneficiary” of this plan — the San Francisco Bay-Delta Ecosystem – what the estuary has to say about the tunnels.

That all changed on April 30, 2016, when a panel of judges convened in Antioch to consider the question: “What would the San Francisco Bay-Delta  Ecosystem say?”  when examining a case brought before them in the first-ever Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal. The event was based on an international rights of nature tribunal held in Paris during the Paris Climate Talks last December.

The rights of nature have been inherent from the beginning of time,” said Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the tribunal judges. “We need to get rid of the concept of dominion over the Earth. We — the salmon, the water, the trees, the spiders — are all one thing. The more pieces you take from the whole, the closer you come to becoming extinct. Just like the salmon that my people depended upon.”

The Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance, Restore the Delta, and Move to Amend held their “Rights of Nature Tribunal” regarding Governor Brown’s proposed Delta Tunnels proposal, recently renamed the California Water Fix, at the Nick Rodriguez Community Center in Antioch, in the heart of the West Delta, from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm.

The tribunal took place at a critical time for the Delta, its fish and wildlife, and its people.

“The San Francisco Bay-Delta lies polluted and suffering in a state of perpetual, human-made drought,” according to a statement from the three groups. “An estimated 95 percent of the historic Delta natural habitat has been lost. Between 2.1 million to 6.9 million acre-feet of water is exported from the Delta every year. Numerous Delta species face extinction, including the Delta Smelt and Winter-run Chinook Salmon. Marine species that depend on Delta fish for food, such as the Southern Resident Killer Whale, are also imperiled by failing Bay-Delta ecological health.”

Read the full article at  Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta

Eco-Instigator On International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) released the December 2015 edition of eco-Instigator with a detailed article on the International Rights of Nature Tribunal held in Paris during COP21.  Nnimmo Bassey served on the panel of distinguished judges at the Tribunal in Paris and presented for the Case on False Solutions for Climate Change during the Tribunal in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

Nnimmo Eco-I 10 CoverNnimmo Bassey

Nnimmo Bassey is founding Director of HOMEF and serves on the Foundation’s Advisory Board.

An architect, environmental and Rights of Mother Earth activist, author and poet, Nnimmo’s Reflections (Oil Politics): sharing opinion. mobilising for change. present profound food for thought and a way forward.

Nnimmo chaired Friends of the Earth International from 2008 through 2012 and was Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action for two decades. He was one of Time magazine’s Heroes of the Environment in 2009. In 2010, Nnimmo Bassey was named Right Livelihood Award “…for revealing the full ecological and human horrors of oil production and for his inspired work to strengthen the environmental movement in Nigeria and globally.” and in 2012 he was awarded the Rafto Prize as a Defender of victims of climate change.

Health of Mother Earth Foundation

“HOMEF is an environmental/ecological think tank and advocacy organisation. It is rooted in solidarity and in the building and protection of human and collective dignity.

We believe that neoliberal agendas driven by globalization of exploitation of the weak, despoliation of ecosystems and lack of respect for Mother Earth thrive mostly because of the ascendancy of enforced creed of might is right. This ethic permits the powerful to pollute, grab resources and degrade/destroy the rest simply because they can do so. HOMEF recognizes that this reign of (t)error can best be tackled through a conscious examination of the circumstances by which the trend crept in and got entrenched. Thus, HOMEF will have as a cardinal work track continuous political education aimed at examining the roots of exploitation of resources, labour, peoples and entire regions. HOMEF hopes through this to contribute to the building of movements for recovery of memory, dignity and harmonious living with full respect of natural cycles of Mother Earth.

Three key areas of focus are fossil fuels, the politics of hunger and creating spaces for knowledge generation and sharing.

The Advisory Board is composed of women and men who have distinguished themselves in the struggle for environmental justice and the rights of Mother Earth: – See more at: http://www.homef.org/content/about-home “

Creating New Norms: The Rights of Nature Tribunal

By Jeremy Lent, Patterns of Meaning, December 9, 2015

Writing from Paris while global leaders converged for the UN FCCC COP 21 and events offering profound alternative solutions, Jeremy Lent shares his perspective on the impact of the The Rights of Nature Tribunal as a turning point for our planet:

This week, here in Paris, we saw what may turn out to be a major milestone in the history of humankind. I’m not talking about COP21, but about a 2-day tribunal which, although having no legal standing or powers of enforcement, may turn out to have an even greater impact on the future direction of our world. It was a Rights of Nature tribunal, and it represents the most recent step in an important and hopeful journey for humanity – the recognition and expansion of intrinsic legal rights.

Rights of Man

Thomas Paine’s “The Rights of Man” was a revolutionary document in his time.

Some historical context helps. Back in 1792, Thomas Paine, author of The Rights of Man, was tried and convicted in absentia by the British for seditious libel. Paine’s troubles arose from the fact that he was blazing a new trail that has since become the bedrock of modern political thought: the inherent rights of human beings.

Paine’s writing deeply influenced the composers of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, one of the most influential documents of modern history. “We hold these truths to be self-evident,” it declared, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These truths, while self-evident to the founding fathers, were radical ideas for that time, so much so that even those who signed the Declaration applied them sketchily, not even considering that they might apply equally to the Africans forced to work as slaves in their plantations.

By the middle of the twentieth century, in response to the totalitarian horrors of genocide, the world came together to create a new stirring vision that would apply equally to all human beings: the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. For the first time in history, fundamental human rights were universally recognized and given legal protection.

Of course, these rights continue to be abused in all kinds of ways. But new norms had been established, and nowadays, following the formation of the International Criminal Court, when a tyrant wreaks havoc on his population, he knows that he might have to face legal consequences from the rest of the world.

As we enter into the heart of the twenty-first century, a new set of crises face humanity: the ravages of climate change, deforestation, industrial agriculture, the destruction of natural habitats, and the impending Sixth Extinction of species. Like Paine and his associates, a new group of visionaries are expounding a revolutionary concept that responds to our troubled era: the Rights of Nature.

This week in Paris, this group held a 2-day Rights of Nature Tribunal, part of which I had the honor to attend and film. The Tribunal was based on the idea that nature also has rights, just like humans. Its foundational document is a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, calling for the “universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce the rights of nature.”

tribunal-convening-kw

Read complete article at Patterns of Meaning Creating New Norms: The Rights of Nature Tribunal

About the author:

Jeremy Lent is President and founder of the nonprofit Liology Institute which is dedicated to fostering a worldview that could enable humanity to thrive sustainably on the earth. Jeremy is author of soon to be published The Patterning Instinct: A History of Humanity’s Future and his novel, Requiem of the Human Soul, published by independent publisher Libros Libertad in 2009.

Economics for Earth’s Rights

Linda Sheehan, Earth Law CenterLinda Sheehan,  Executive Director ~ Earth Law Center, writing for New Economy Law Center, Vermont Law School

“In parallel with the recently concluded climate talks in Paris, I was fortunate to take part in several initiatives to raise awareness of the fundamental flaws in our legal and economic systems. These flaws are the driving force behind climate change, species extinctions, drying waterways and other, serious threats to the integrity of natural systems.

Put briefly, our legal and economic systems drive nature’s destruction by treating it merely as property to be exploited and degraded, rather than as an integral ecological partner with its own rights to exist and thrive. Even our best attempts at addressing global environmental harms place nature within the context of incessant economic growth, undermining nature’s protection.

Fighting for Our Shared Future Protecting Both Human Rights and Nature's RightsFor example, the new U.N. climate change agreement uses the terms “economy” or “economic” 26 times, yet it only mentions Earth once, and Nature not at all.[i] The agreement’s focus unfortunately is not on creating law and economic systems that benefit the Earth. Its focus is on contorting the law to benefit the same economic system that is destroying the Earth. This mythology pretends the natural world is a dead resource, merely an element of commerce and trade. It seems strange that we must say this, but we cannot live on a dead world. Moreover, we are not human on a degraded world; we are less than human. We must reject such an impoverished future.”

To call attention to this defective and injurious worldview, Earth Law Center released a new report in Paris demonstrating how our legal and economic systems increasingly violate basic human rights as well as nature’s own, inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. This report, Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Both Human Rights and Nature’s Rights, details 100 examples of such “co-violations” of fundamental rights around the world and offers recommendations for change.[ii] Recommendations include recognition in law of the inherent rights of nature (as has been done in several countries and numerous U.S. cities and towns),[iii] immediate protection of the most vulnerable human and nature’s rights defenders (many of whom have been killed for their work),[iv] and implementation of economic alternatives, from new progress indicators to an overarching shift to ecological economics.[v]

Also in Paris, Earth Law Center acted as co-organizer of, and Co-Prosecutor for, the third International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature.[vi] This citizen-created Tribunal provided people a voice to testify publicly as to the destruction of the Earth – destruction that governments and corporations not only allow, but in some cases encourage. The Tribunal featured internationally renowned lawyers and leaders for Earth justice, who heard cases addressing issues such as climate change, GMOs, fracking, extractive industries, and other sources of nature’s rights violations.[vii] The Tribunal offered judgments and recommendations for the Earth’s protection and restoration based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Read complete article at Economics for Earth’s Rights

[i] U.N. Conference of the Parties, 21st Session, “Adoption of the Paris Agreement,” FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1 (12 Dec. 2015); available at: www.unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/cop21/eng/l09r01.pdf.

[ii] ELC’s December 2015 report Fighting for Our Shared Future is available at: http://bit.ly/1Ng3VyQ.

[iii] See http://www.earthlawcenter.org/literature/ and http://www.earthlawcenter.org/earth-community/ for more information.

[iv] As described in ELC’s report and elsewhere, the U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has found that “rights defenders are “increasingly branded ‘enemies of the state’ over development projects.” See: http://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13912&LangID=E.

[v] For example, Article 3(2)(l) of the 2010 Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, adopted by representatives of 140 countries in Bolivia, recognizes that we must “promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.” Available at: http://therightsofnature.org/universal-declaration/.

From Paris with love for lake Poopó

By Pablo Solón, El Observatorio Boliviano de Cambio Climático y “Desarrollo”, 21 December 2015

Lake Poopó becomes a desert while in Paris, governments conclude an agreement they call “historic” to address climate change. Will the Paris Agreement save over 125,000 lakes that are in danger of disappearing in the world due to climate change?

 From Paris with love for lake Poopó

The second largest lake in Bolivia did not disappear by magic. The causes of their demise are many and complex, but among them is the rise in temperature and increased frequency of natural disasters like El Niño caused by climate change. The lake Poopó that had an expanse of 2,337 km2 and a depth of 2.5 meters, is now a desert with a few puddles in the middle with no more than 30 centimeters of water depth.

If the average temperature rose globally by 0.8 °C due to climate change, on the lake Poopó the increase went to 2.5 °C leaving in its path thousands of dead fish, dead flamingos, fishing boats anchored to the ground, and hundreds of indigenous people, who for centuries were devoted to fishing, that now roam for help thinking of a very uncertain future. That is the true face of climate change that expands like a cancer throughout the world.

Will the Paris Agreement save over 125,000 lakes that are in danger of disappearing in the world due to climate change? 

Read the full text at Paris and the break with reality