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Archive for IEN

Reconnecting with Mother Earth IS a solution

Osprey Orielle Lake closed a very moving Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network Press Conference on the impact of  Women on the Frontline of Climate Change around the world at the UN FCCC.  Each of these women speak movingly of the personal dramatic impact of modern society’s lust for fossil fuels, an economy driven by unbridled growth at any cost and the blatant disregard for human rights ~ especially Indigenous rights, earth rights and the dignity of all.

WE CAN international at UNFCCC

Women raising their voices are Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca – USA; IEN), Patricia Gualinga (Sarayaku, Ecuador) with Leila Salazar-Lopez (AmazonWatch) translating, Neema Namadamu (DRC Congo) and Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara – USA; IEN).

View the 30 minute UNFCCC Press Conference at http://unfccc6.meta-fusion.com/cop21/events/2015-12-08-18-30-women-s-earth-and-climate-caucus-wecc

WE CAN International released its downloadable 2016 Women’s Climate Action Agenda.

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/.

Paris Tribunal Registration Now Open

The International Rights of Nature Tribunal will meet at Maison des Métallos in Paris on 4th and 5th of December, in conjunction with UN Framework Convention on Climate Change UNFCCC COP21. The Tribunal is a unique, citizen-created initiative.Logo-RoNtribunal-fr It gives people from all around the world the opportunity to testify publicly as to the destruction of the Earth — destruction that governments and corporations not only allow, but in some cases encourage.

Space is limited. If you are planning to attend the third International Rights of Nature Tribunal register now for the segments you will attend.

Register for International Rights of Nature TribunalFor more details visit Paris Tribunal …

Date and Time

  • Friday 4 – Saturday 5 December 2015
  • 9:00am – 6:30pm each day (including an intermission)

Tribunal Venue in Paris

MaisondesMetallos-logo

la maison des métallosMaison des Métallos
94 Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011 Paris, France

Esteemed Judges:

  • Cormac Cullinan, President; Author WildLaw: A Manifesto for Earth Justice (South Africa)
  • Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network (Turtle Island, USA)
  • Alberto Acosta, former President Ecuador Constitutional Assembly
  • Osprey Orielle Lake, Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (USA)
  • Nnimmo Bassey, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (Nigeria)
  • Ruth Nyambura, African Biodiversity Network (Kenya)
  • Damien Short, University of London (United Kingdom)
  • Felício Pontes, Federal Prosecutor (Brazil)
  • Terisa Turner, professor Sociology and Anthropology, former UN Energy Specialist (Canada)
  • Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch (USA)
  • Philippe Desbroses, Honarary, farmer, scientist, writer (France)
  • Dominique Bourg, Professor Geosciences, University of Lausanne (Switzerland)

Among the Expert Witnesses and Case Presenters :

  • Pablo Solon, Fundacion Solon
  • Geneviève Azam, Attac France
  • Vandana Shiva, Navdanya
  • Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians
  • Shannon Biggs, Movement Rights
  • Casey Camp Horinek, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Esperanza Martinez, Acción Ecologica
  • Patricia Gualinga, Kichwa of Sarayaku, Ecuador
  • Carlos Lareas, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar
  • Kandi Mossett, Indigenous Environmental Network
  • Tantoo Cardinal, Actress, Activist, Tar Sands, Canada
  • Valerie Cabanes, End Ecocide on Earth

Prosecutors for the Earth:

  • Ramiro Avila, Universidad Andina Simón Bolivar
  • Linda Sheehan, Earth Law Center

International Rights of Nature Tribunal Paris Secretariat:

  • Natalia Greene, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature
  • Grant Wilson, Earth Law Center

REDD on trial: No justice as long as nature is property in law

REDD on trial: “As long as nature is seen as property in law, there can be no justice for communities, the climate or nature”

By Chris Lang of REDD Monitor. Full article at REDD on Trial
2014-12-11-151422_1131x978_scrotThe International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature took place on 5 and 6 December 2014 in Lima. On trial were corporations, the United Nations, and government. Cases included mining in Peru and Ecuador, oil extraction in Ecuador, the Belo Monte dam in Brazil, fracking in Bolivia and the USA, BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, damage to the Australian Barrier Reef. And REDD.

The judges referred to the Rights of Nature and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, from the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010.

The president of the tribunal was Alberto Acosta, former president of the Constitutional Assembly of Ecuador. Acosta said,

“As long as nature is seen as property in law, there can be no justice for communities, the climate or nature.”

The case against REDD at the Tribunal is explained here:

REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) is a global initiative to create a financial value for the carbon stored in native forests and tree plantations, soils and agriculture, including plankton and algae in the oceans. This involves the opening of the carbon cycling capacity of the Earth to economic valuation and trading in financial market systems. Indigenous peoples, forest dwellers, small farmers and peasants view REDD as a false solution for mitigating climate change that have resulted in land grabs, evictions and human rights abuses. REDD is inherently about commodifying and privatizing air, trees and land by selling nature and air to generate permits to pollute. These permits to pollute also known as carbon or emission credits are used by polluters to avoid reducing greenhouse gas emissions at source. This Tribunal on REDD and forests will listen to testimonies on the concern of REDD and other carbon and emissions trading and offset regimes violating the rights established in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Mary Lou Malig of the Global Forest Coalition spoke against carbon markets:

“[They’re] basically a mechanism to cheat. It’s about enabling you to pollute. Instead of cutting your emissions, you increase them and pretend to reduce by offsetting.”

Ninawa Kaxinawá, president of the Huni Kui people in Acre, Brazil spoke out against REDD. “Nature has no price. It’s our forest, it’s our food, it’s our spirit.”

In an interview with Democracy Now, Ninawa explains that REDD prevents communities from fishing on their own land and from practising agriculture. He says that, “leaders are being criminalized for opposing the project, and communities are told that the services provided for education or transportation or healthcare will be suspended if they oppose the project.” Ninawa has received death threats for opposing REDD.

Amy Goodman of Democracy Now asked Ninawa how REDD affects his community. Here’s his reply:

The first impact is that the state of Acre is one of the first states in the world that is promoting REDD, and it is the first state of the Brazilian Amazon that is doing REDD. And it has already violated Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, which guarantees indigenous people’s right to free, prior, informed consent and the right to say no to projects that affect us. So, Brazil is violating Convention 169, because indigenous peoples have not been consulted about REDD and it is moving forward.

The second impact of REDD is that it has divided indigenous leaders, who before were united to defend the territories and Mother Earth.

A third impact of REDD is that it has resulted in the co-optation of some leaders who have accepted money and bought cars with that money, and they don’t even know where that money is from and what it means.

Another impact is that the government of Brazil, because it is opening its doors to this carbon-offset mechanism, is that it’s gutting the laws and the legal framework on indigenous people’s rights and the guarantees that have been enshrined to protect our rights to our territories.

You can watch the full interview at http://www.redd-monitor.org/2014/12/11/redd-on-trial-as-long-as-nature-is-seen-as-property-in-law-there-can-be-no-justice-for-communities-the-climate-or-nature/

WOMEN ON THE RISE – Connecting Stories From The Frontlines

Trailer | WOMEN ON THE RISE – Connecting Stories From The Frontlines from Indigenous Environmental Network on Vimeo.

Trailer for a short film chronicling & connecting the stories of Indigenous Women worldwide leading the charge to protect the rights of Mother Earth and the generations to come; representing frontline communities most impacted by extractive industries.

Stories shared from:
Kandi Mossett (Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara), Native Energy & Climate Campaign Organizer for the Indigenous Environmental Network; Melina Laboucan-Massimo, (Lubicon Cree First Nation ) Climate and Energy Campaigner for Greenpeace Canada; Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree Nation) Climate and Energy Campaigner for The Sierra Club; Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, communications manager of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation; Patricia Gualinga Montalvo, Kichwa Leader from the Ecuadorian Amazon | Amazon Watch; Pennie Opal Plant of Idle No More Bay Area California, and more to come.

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

Bioneers: Indigenous Women on North-South Frontlines of Earth Protection

Bioneers

Indigenous Forum – (Double session)
Sunday October 19

2:45 PM:   Indigenous Women on the North-South Frontlines of Earth Protection (I)

This indigenous North-South cultural exchange builds bridges and solidarity among North-South indigenous people and their allies. Courageous indigenous leader Patricia Gualinga (Kichwa) from the Ecuadorian Amazon joins Amazon Watch and Pachamama Alliance with an urgent report from the rainforest front lines where indigenous women are stepping into leadership to defend the rights of Mother Earth (Pachamama) and their peoples, and to protect the Amazon from oil concessions.

4:30 PM:   Indigenous Women on the North-South Frontlines of Earth Protection (II)

Hosted by Tom Goldtooth (Dine’/Dakota) of the Indigenous Environmental Network. With indigenous women from the North: Casey Camp (Ponca), elder indigenous rights activist and actress, on historical impacts of oil development in Oklahoma and current threats from pipelines from the Canadian Tar Sands; Faith Gemmill (Gwich’in), of REDOIL (Resisting Environmental Destruction On Indigenous Lands), on the history of oil and gas development in Alaska and expansion plans for offshore drilling; and witnesses Crystal Lameman (Beaver Lake Cree Nation) and Eriel Deranger  (Athabaskan Chipewyan First Nation) with Idle No More.