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WECAN International at the UNFCCC COP20 2014

Women's Earth & Climate Action Network

For a printable flyer click: WECAN Lima Flyer #1

Women Leading Solutions on the Frontlines of Climate Change-Lima 

A convening of women leaders joined in solidarity to speak out against environmentally and socially destructive activities and policies, and to present the diverse array of visions and strategies with which they are working to chart another course. Panels and strategy circles will focus on extractive industries and mega-dams, forest protection and territory rights, renewable energy alternatives, new economic frameworks, rights of nature, systemic change, and how relationships between women of the Global South & North are furthering the climate justice movement. The Women’s Climate Action Agenda will be explored as a tool for implementing solutions.

Free & open to the public.

More information on related events at WECAN International at the UNFCCC COP20 2014 Para información en español, haga clic aquí.

WECAN International formal UN side event at the UNFCCC COP20

Women's Earth & Climate Action NetworkEvent in collaboration with allies at Amazon Watch and TakingItGlobal. WECAN will present the Women’s Climate Action Agenda as a blueprint for our path forward and showcase examples of youth and women as agents of local and global change. Particular focus will be on Indigenous women on the frontlines of climate change and solutions building. December 9, 2014. 16:45-18:15. Caral Room.

 

 

 

WECAN Agenda

International Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal – Lima

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature will adjudicate various cases linked to COP20 proceedings, including threats to the Great Barrier Reef and oil and mineral extraction in South America. The Tribunal is a model and potent tool to help communities working to defend the Earth and their health and heritage. WECAN is on the Global Alliance Steering Committee and will be participating in the Tribunal. For more information and registration, visit www.therightsofnature.org/events/ron-ethics-tribunal-lima

December 5-6, 2014.

Gran Hotel Bolivar, Jiron de la Union 958.

Free & open to the public. 

Advocacy work inside the UNFCCC COP20

In partnership with the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA) and the Women and Gender Constituency.  December 1-12, 2014.

The Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (formerly IWECI) is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations

Join us in Lima at the International Rights of Nature Tribunal

International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Around the world, people are realizing that our laws fail to respect nature’s rights to exist, thrive and evolve. Treating nature as merely property is harming both people and the environment. Parallel to the UN Climate Change Convention, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature will host its second International Rights of Nature Tribunal.

The Tribunal will review a diverse selection of cases aligned with UN FCCC COP20 priorities within a Rights of Nature context. The various cases will address the impacts of Climate Change, destructive oil and mineral extraction in Peru and South America, threats to the Great Barrier Reef, hydraulic fracking, and protection of Defenders of the Earth such as the Bagua massacre that is on trial this year in Peru. A distinguished cross-cultural panel of judges from around the world will hear the cases presented by a diverse collection of experts and victims. The rulings of the Tribunal will focus on violations to the Rights of Nature based on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and where appropriate, the Ecuadorian Constitution.

The two day Tribunal will be held Friday 5 – Saturday 6 December at Gran Hotel Bolivar in the historic district of Lima and a few minutes walk to the Alternative Peoples Conference near Parque de la Exposición in central Lima.

For more information, visit International Rights of Nature Tribunal – Lima at http://therightsofnature.org/lima-2014-tribunal/

Click for a print quality poster

Re-Visioning Our Relationship with the Earth: Lessons from ‘Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions’

Deeply aware of the crisis of socio-ecologic injustice created by a dominant system that values growth and profit above all else, an extraordinary group of panelist gathered to speak out at ‘Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions’ in New York City on September 22, 2014. The event, presented by WECAN International and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature as part of the mobilization surrounding the People’s Climate March and U.N. Climate Summit, focused on the need to redesign our social, political, economic and legal structures to function with respect to the rights of the Earth and the knowledge systems of the original stewards of the land, the worlds indigenous peoples.

Osprey Orielle Lake opening Rights of Nature NY “If our environmental law system was working we would not be in this crisis,” explained Executive Director of WECAN International, Osprey Orielle Lake, in her opening statement. “Our current laws do not stop pollution, they ‘regulate’ it and allow it to continue. We must disrupt this broken framework.”

Tom Goldtooth (Indigenous Environmental Network), Shannon Biggs (Global Exchange), Gloria Ushigua (Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador), Linda Sheehan (Earth Law Center), and Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Nation, Indigenous Environmental Network) joined Lake to expose fundamental flaws in our current laws and management schemes, while presenting bold strategies for re-visioning these paradigms. The issue could not be more critical, speakers explained, as a shift to a system that treats the Earth as a rights bearing entity is a requirement for any genuine solutions to the climate crisis.

Rights of Nature Panel NY Church Center

Tom Goldtooth NYTom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network took the floor first, focusing on the need to learn from and re-allign with indigenous knowledge systems which conceive of the Earth as a vibrant, living Mother who must be cared for and respected. Tom explained how many climate action plans currently being considered, such as REDD carbon projects and biotechnology schemes, continue to violate the laws of nature and rights of the Earth in attempts to divide, conquer, and profit, ultimately making them false and highly destructive proposals. He emphasized that communities across the globe must reject twisted climate policies which continue to commodify and manipulate, instead coming back to “our true nature of working in harmony with Mother Earth.

Linda Sheehan Earth Law CenterLinda Sheehan of the Earth Law Center spoke next, reaffirming and expanding up Tom Goldtooths sentiment that our plans of action, movements, and policies must function with respect to the Rights of Nature.

According to Linda, our current legal structure overwhelmingly views the Earth as an entity to be traded, exploited, and degraded, leading to the continued failure of environmental law and policy. “We think we can chop up nature, we can control it. This is simply a misunderstanding,” she explained.

Working to challenge this flawed vision, Linda and allies at the Earth Law Center have been working with groups across the U.S. to create and instate new laws that put the rights of the Earth and communities above those of corporations, including notable successes in Santa Monica, California this year.

Gloria Ushigua - Sapara NYFrom the frontlines of the fight to end fossil fuel development in the Amazon Basin, Gloria Ushigua of the Association of Sapara Women, Ecuador shared her story next.

“We are here to defend our rights, our spirits, our forests,” Gloria explained, highlighting the ways that indigenous communities across the world, embedded firmly in a tradition that sees the Earth as a flourishing and living being, are already challenging conventional models and leading the way towards climate solutions

Gloria’s words however, also functioned to shake up the conversation as she explained how, despite the fact that the law in Ecuador officially gives rights to Nature, massive corporate and political violations continue. Thus, she implored, changing our legal framework much be but the first step, to be followed up with ceaseless civil society action to insure that those rights are respected on every level.

Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange  - NY Climate Summit on Rights of NatureShannon Biggs of the Global Exchange spoke next, expanding upon Gloria’s declaration that systemic change in climate solutions and our relationship with the Earth must come not only at the policy level, but at the level of communities and individuals across the globe.

“It all comes down to community, it is up to out communities to be stewards of the land,” Shannon explained, “we must challenge unjust law that says nature is property.”

Shannon continued on to detail the concrete ways that the Global Exchange and its partners are working to expand local ability to implement and enforce the Rights of Nature, focusing on community applications of these principles as tools for climate resiliency and the protection of the Earth.

Casey Camp Horinek-NYCasey Camp-Horinek of the Ponca Nation and Indigenous Environmental Network took the floor as the final presenter of the day. Her speech was one of hope, explaining to the audience that while the task of uprooting and re-visioning the dominant system seem daunting, this is only so when constrained under the false impression that politicians and economists are the center of ultimate power.

“If the sun did not rise today, would you be here? If you did not have a drink of water, would you be here today? THAT is the true power,” Casey explained, the audience erupting in applause.

Following the series of presentations, audience members and speakers engaged in a question and answer session that kept many enthralled in discussion for more than an hour after the official end of the event. Expanding upon earlier discussion surrounding mal-alligned climate policy that seeks to control and subdue nature, Linda Sheehan poignantly remarked, “they call it ecosystem management as is the earth has been unruly. No. We need to regulate ourselves.”

Notebook full of inspiring quotes, bitts of wisdom, strategies, ideas and tools, I set out after the event, eager to return home and start building alliances and making plans to enact the Rights of Nature in my community.

For more information about the Rights of Nature movement, check out: therightsofnature.org/ and wecaninternational.org/pages/rights-of-nature-international-advocacy-trainings

Also follow the Women Speak: Climate Justice and Solutions blog.

Submitted by and photos by Emily Arasim, WECAN International Special Projects & Communications Coordinator

Why I’m going to the People’s Climate March

Pat SiemenI’m showing up. As a baby-boomer from the U.S. As a person of faith.   I am going to the People’s Climate March in New York on September 21.

The security of our home, planet Earth, is threatened. That’s why I’m going. It is not the terrorists, nor the immigrants, nor people who are poor that is causing this threat to Earth’s viability. It’s the continued excessive emissions of greenhouse gases created by those of us who live in highly industrialized, corporatized and technology-rich countries.

We baby-boomers in the U.S. are uniquely responsible for this major climate disruption. We have benefitted enormously from a way of life that provides every convenience, gadget and technology unimagined by our parents. We bought into the increased consumerism and easy access to a way of life made possible by increased use of fossil fuels. We taught our children to do the same. We didn’t know to teach them that Earth has capacity limits, just like every family.

Thousands are marching to reinforce the critical importance of the United Nations Climate Summit. I’m showing up with young and old, indigenous and immigrants, conservatives and liberals, business and labor, and people of every race, color and creed from all 50 states. Together we will march, sing and pray along the 26 blocks of the march route. We hope that our presence will demonstrate to the world leaders that they must take urgent action to prevent further ecological threats and mitigate the damage already done.

We are marching to demonstrate our solidarity with everyone who has a commitment to change the environmentally destructive ways we are living as a people – for the sake of our children and a viable future. We will march on behalf of all our kin: the threatened and endangered species, ecosystems and watersheds that are dying because of shifting climate patterns.  Read more …

UN Harmony with Nature dialogue and Rights of Nature – April 22, 2014

UN Harmony with Nature - Linda Sheehan moderatingOn the International Day of Mother Earth, April 22, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly hosted its fourth International Dialogue on Harmony with Nature.  Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of Earth Law Center, moderated the panel discussions.  Civil society was invited to submit statements related to Harmony with Nature and Rights of Nature.   The UN’s Harmony with Nature website has added an informational page on Rights of Nature at:  Rights of Nature Law and Policy.

The Global Alliance submitted the following statement in support of advancing the formal discussion for the adoption of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth by the United Nations. Click to download a printable PDF at Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature – UN Harmony with Nature 2014

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON HARMONY WITH NATURE TO
COMMEMORATE INTERNATIONAL MOTHER EARTH DAY
UN HQ, NY, 22 April 2014

Statement by: Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

On behalf of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (the “Alliance”) thank you again for the opportunity to contribute to the Interactive Dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Harmony with Nature. We commend you, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, and all who continue to bring this initiative forward.

2014 Rights of Nature Summit-sideThe Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is a global network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce Rights of Nature and to making Rights of Nature an idea whose time has come.  Our intention as an Alliance is aligned with the proposal made to the General Assembly by Ambassador Xavier Lasso of Ecuador, and others around the world to continue the discussion towards Rights of Nature.  We, the Alliance, recommend the General Assembly begin the formal discussion for the adoption of a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth by the United Nations.

To that end, in January 2014 the Alliance hosted a Global Rights of Nature Summit. A diverse gathering of scientists, attorneys, economists, activists, indigenous leaders, authors, spiritual leaders, politicians, actors, and others from 16 countries and 6 continents participated in the three day Global Rights of Nature Summit. Sixty participating principals represented diverse disciplines, cultures, nations, and bioregions. Participants traveled from Argentina, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Columbia, Ecuador, India, Italy, Romania, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Thailand, the Azores, United Kingdom, and United States to create a framework of action for further expanding global integration of Rights of Nature within today’s social, economic, and legal systems.

The primary premise of the Alliance is that in order to insure an environmentally sustainable future, humans must reorient themselves from an exploitative and ultimately self-destructive relationship with nature, to one that honors the deep interrelation of all life and contributes to living in harmony with the natural environment. An essential step in achieving this is to create a system of jurisprudence that sees and treats nature as a fundamental, rights bearing entity and not as mere property to be exploited at will.

It is to this end that the Alliance hosted the Summit and, among its prominent outcomes, launched the formation of a Permanent Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal.

Permanent Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal

RoNTribunal-sideThe Alliance launched the permanent International Ethics Tribunal to demonstrate how Rights of Nature can be implemented in practice.  Nine prominent cases were presented to a distinguished international, multicultural panel of judges. Among the cases were the Chevron-Texaco pollution case (Ecuador); BP Deep Horizon oil spill (USA); Yasuní-ITT oil project (Ecuador); the endangerment of the Great Barrier Reef by coal mines (Australia); hydraulic fracturing  (USA) and the impacts of Climate Change (global). The Tribunal provides a vehicle for reframing prominent environmental and social justice cases and to adjudicate the cases within the context of a Rights of Nature based earth jurisprudence.  While the Ethics Tribunal does not have specific legal authority for enforcement, the adjudication process provides a platform for informed legal analysis of diverse cases based on Rights of Nature.

Furthermore the Tribunal provides a framework for educating civil society and governments on the fundamental tenets of Rights of Nature and serves as an instrument for legal experts to examine constructs needed to more fully integrate Rights of Nature.  Individual Chambers will be heard around the world leading up to an international Tribunal in conjunction with UNFCCC COP20 in Lima Peru in December 2014.   For more, visit http://www.therightsofnature.org/rights-of-nature-tribunal/.

For more information on the Summit outcomes, visit http://www.therightsofnature.org/ron-summit-outcomes/

We encourage the UN General Assembly to continue and expand the dialogue around Rights of Nature not only in the context of Harmony with Nature but in the broader context of creating the Future We Want through advocating economic systems and structures that are truly aligned supporting with a balanced, healthy Earth Community.

Respectfully submitted,

Robin R. Milam

Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

 

Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center addresses UN General Assembly

Linda Sheehan, Executive Director Earth Law Center spoke at the 3rd Interactive Dialogue of the United Nations General Assembly on Harmony with Nature on Earth Day April 22, 2013. Listen as Linda Sheehan speaks on creating Sustainable Human Communities, the necessary economic systems and the role of Rights of Nature.

Along with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and invited panelists, Ms Sheehan discussed alternative economic approaches that further a more ethical relationship with the Earth.

“Recognition of the rights of nature is essential to help us build closer relationships with the environment and correct our upside-down ordering of Earth, humans and economic system. But we cannot complete this change in perspective
solely through rights of nature. We also must specifically reject the current neoliberal economic system and its false assumptions, and replace them with alternatives, such as those described by ecological economists. Roughly three dozen communities, large to tiny, across the United States have taken up this particular cause, with more joining in. Threatened by unwanted, destructive activities such as mining and hydrofracking, these communities have passed local laws that recognize the rights of local natural systems to exist, thrive and evolve. Significantly, these laws also reject the rights of corporations who would conduct these harmful activities, over the rights of local community members to live in harmony with each other and their environment. That is, these laws support a community’s right to nurture its home, rather than witness its destruction.”

Read Linda’s remarks at “Caring for Home through Nature’s Rights”.

The full session is at UN General Assembly Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature.

Cormac Cullinan SAB Environmentalist of the Year (2012)

Cormac Cullinan - SAB Environmentalist of the Year 2012Founding 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.

UN Radio: Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature promotes its cause at Rio+20

More than 100 heads of State and government, along with thousands of people from civil society are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is hoping that their cause will be taken up by Rio+20.

They are calling for global recognition and acceptance of Rights of Nature. They say an essential step for achieving this is to introduce a system of jurisprudence that sees and treats Nature as a fundamental, rights bearing entity and not as mere property to be exploited at will.

Dianne Penn who is at Rio+20 spoke with Cormac Cullinan and Osprey Orielle Lake about their hopes for the UN Convention on Sustainable Development.

UN Radio - Global Alliance for Rights of Nature Rio

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