Archive for Interviews

The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World

Living On Earth

Air Date: Week of November 17, 2017

The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World

Colorado River: Click photo to listen to NPR interview with David Boyd

Environmental lawyers are claiming in court that land, rivers, and other natural features should own themselves rather than being considered property, much like the law already treats corporations as ‘persons.’ The case for treating elements of nature as legal ‘persons’ is outlined in the book, Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Change the World by environmental lawyer David Boyd. In a conversation with Living on Earth Host Steve Curwood he explained how this approach can go a long way to protecting critical ecosystems from human exploitation and destruction.

Read transcript and more …

Pat Siemen on Pope Francis and Rights of Nature

Sister Patricia Siemen, Director of Barry Law School’s Center for Earth Jurisprudence, spoke to News 13 in Orlando, Florida about Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’.

Law, Environment, and Religion with Linda Sheehan

A Communion Of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion, with Linda Sheehan

Yale University hosted the second installment of “A Communion of Subjects: Law, Environment, and Religion” which features an interview with Linda Sheehan, Executive Director of the Earth Law Center. Linda explains how a framework based on the inherent rights of nature to exist, thrive, and evolve can galvanize the transformation of environmental law and wider society – delivering necessary protections for both humans and ecosystems.

Interview conducted by Dena Adler (Yale Law School ’17, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies ’17) and Andrew Doss (Yale Divinity School ’16).

For background and context related to the interview read the following excerpt from Yale Daily News:

Div, Law and Forestry schools team up for first time

For the first time, faculty from Yale Law School, Yale Divinity School and the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies are offering a course together.

John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker, who have dual research appointments at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and the Divinity School, will be co-teaching the course “Law, Environment and Religion” with Law School professor Doug Kysar. Tucker said the class was designed as a collaboration between the three schools because each discipline provides a piece of the knowledge needed to understand environmental issues, but on their own fail to give students a comprehensive analysis.

“Environmental issues need to be solved and responded to by many disciplines,” Tucker said.

Linda Sheehan Yale InterviewThe course will feature readings from figures who have worked within the overlap of these three fields and discussions with those authors, including William Reilly, a former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Linda Sheehan, the executive director at Earth Law Center. Students will also conduct podcast interviews with these guest speakers, which will be posted on Yale’s iTunes University site.

Notes for the debate The Rights of Mother Earth

By Pablo Solon from Systemic Alternatives

What are the rights of Mother Earth?

What are the Rights of Mother EarthA new vision of our relationship with nature, a new legal framework, a set of ethical principles, a strategy with which to question the superpowers of transnational corporations?

The Rights of Mother Earth refers to all of these things and something more: it is a call to cast off the dominant anthropocentric paradigm and imagine a new Earth society. The Rights of Mother Earth is like a river made up of different streams that are flowing toward the ocean, but have not yet reached its shores.

“Nature is a subject and not a collection of objects.”
-Thomas Berry

The Questions

How is the systemic crisis evolving? How the are centers of political and economic power responding? How are social movements reacting? What systemic alternatives are being developed? How to strengthen the resistance and struggles to achieve real change?

Read the complete Notes for the Debate: The Rights of Mother Earth at

Also read It’s the time of the Rights of Mother Earth

Notes for the Debate: Vivir Bien / Buen Vivir

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth A Spiritual Response to our Present Ecological CrisisThe Global Peace Initiative of Women announces the recent release of Spiritual Ecology:  The Cry of the Earth, a collection of essays edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee and presented as a spiritual response to our present ecological crisis.

“Our present ecological crisis is the greatest man-made disaster this planet has ever faced. Its accelerating climate change, species depletion, pollution and acidification of the oceans. A central but rarely addressed aspect of this crisis is our forgetfulness of the sacred nature of creation, and how this affects our relationship to the environment. There is a pressing need to articulate a spiritual response to this ecological crisis. This is vital and necessary if we are to help bring the world as a living whole back into balance.” – from Spiritual Ecology:  The Cry of the Earth

Today, at a time of multiple crises, we need to move away from thinking of nature as dead matter to valuing her biodiversity, clean water, and seeds. For this, nature herself will be the best teacher. When nature is a teacher, we ­co-create with her—we recognize her agency and her rights.  Dr Vandana Shiva, Everything I Need to Know I Learned in the Forest

Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth is edited by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, with contributions from many individuals GPIW has had the honor to work with over the years — contributions from Chief Oren Lyons, Vandana Shiva, Thomas Berry, Thich Nhat Hanh,Chief Tamale Bwoya, John Stanley, David R. Loy, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Brian Swimme, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Wendell Berry, Winona LaDuke, Dr. Susan Murphy Roshi, Satish Kumar, Joanna Macy, Geneen Marie Haugen, Jules Cashford, Bill Plotkin, Sandra Ingerman, Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, Fr. Richard Rohr, and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.

The book is available through  the Spiritual Ecology website where you will also find additional articles, magnificent photos of our natural world and fascinating video interviews on this important theme. We have found this website to be a tremendous learning resource and encourage everyone to visit and share the link, particularly with young people who are feeling deep concern for our planet and for their future – these wise voices provide a welcome insight.

United Natures – A United Nations of All Species

United NaturesJust released!  United Natures – a United Nations of all species movie

An indepth documentary feature film on the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, earth jurisprudence, philosophy, permaculture, spirituality and a neo-indigenous future for humanity released on June 1st 2013.

Directed and produced by Peter Charles Downey, United Natures stars some of the world’s most foremost environmental activists and Global Alliance members, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Cormac Cullinan,  Linda Sheehan, Prof. Judith Koons, Dr. Alessandro Pelizzon, Polly Higgins, and numerous others. Click to review the United Natures trailer or for more information at United Natures movie site.

United Natures – a United Nations of all species. Official documentary trailer 2013 from United Natures on Vimeo.

Cormac Cullinan hosted by Earth Charter International

Cormac Cullinan - SAB Environmentalist of the Year 2012Earth Charter International hosted international environmental law and global governance experts Cormac Cullinan and Peter Brown for a webinar on Environmental Law and Global Governance.  Cullinan and Brown offered a critical analysis of the current global governance system for sustainability and the role of ethics and the Earth Charter in the needed paradigm shift.

Cormac posed the question “Are our current governance systems appropriate for to the challenges of this 21st Century and protect the ecologoical integrity of Earth’s ecosystems?”  In addressing the question, he spoke of the critical role of Rights of Nature.

The webinar is available at Earth Charter Webinar on Global Governance.  Please note, the webinar starts at 22 minutes into the recording.  Advance your cursor to the O mark on the recording time line to start viewing at the time the session starts.  Cormac is the first speaker.

Stepping stones – Tom Brenan reviews Exploring Wild Law

From Ecologist, by Tom Brenan

Tom Brenan discovers a wide range of voices from Earth law proponents around the world……

“In his preface to this collection of short articles, the editor Peter Burdon, says that the book is intended to be one step towards fulfilling Thomas Berry’s call for the Great Work ‘to carry out a transition from a period of human devastation of Earth to a time when humans would be present to the planet in a mutually beneficial manner’. While it is focused on law it also aims to appeal to those engaged in science, philosophy, religion and cultural studies.”

…”it is … a very important summary of Earth Jurisprudence’s evolution. Maybe the steps needed aren’t so big after all.”

Read Tom Brenan’s full review at TheEcologist, Stepping Stones

More about Exploring Wild Law from Wakefield Press:
Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence, Peter Burdon (ed.), Wakefield Press, 2011, ISBN 9781862549463
Exploring Wild Law The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence

Wild Law is a groundbreaking approach to law that stresses human dependence on nature. For the first time, this volume brings together voices from the leading proponents of wild law around the world.
Exploring Wild Law, The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence introduces readers to the idea of wild law and considers its relationship to environmental law, the rights of nature, science, religion, property law and international governance.

Compiled and edited by Peter Burdon, Exploring Wild Law is a collection of essays written by leaders in the field of Earth Jurisprudence! Among the authors are Thomas Berry, Ng’ang’a Thiong’o, Peter Burdon, Cormac Cullinan, Klaus Bosselmann, Linda Sheehan, Mari Margil, Judith E. Koons and many others.