Archive for Rio+20

America’s Deficit Attention Disorder by David Korten

Read the full article in YES! Magazine by David Korten

Money is the least of our problems. It’s time to pay attention to the real deficits that are killing us.  …

So long as money frames the debate, money is the winner and life is the loser. To score a political victory for life, the debate must be reframed around a narrative based on an understanding of the true sources of human well-being and happiness and a shift from money to life as the defining value.

A promising new frame is emerging from controversies surrounding the recent United Nation’s Rio+20 environmental conference. Wall Street interests argued that the best way to save Earth’s biosystems is to put a price on them and sell them to wealthy global investors to manage for a private return. Rather than concede the underlying frame to Wall Street and debate the price and terms of the sale, indigenous leaders and environmental groups drew on the ancient wisdom of indigenous peoples to challenge the underlying frame. They declared that as the source of life, Earth’s living systems are sacred and beyond price. They issued a global call to recognize the rights of nature.

Thus framed, the Rio+20 debate highlights a foundational and inherent conflict between the rights of nature, human rights, property rights, and corporate rights.

In current practice, based on the same financial logic that leads us to treat financial deficits as more important than social and environmental deficits, we give corporate rights precedence over the property rights of individuals. We give property rights precedence over the human rights of those without property.  And we give human rights precedence over the rights of nature.

We will continue to pay a terrible price for so long as we allow the deeply flawed logic of pure finance to define our values and frame the political debate.

Read the full article in YES! Magazine by David Korten

Rights of Mother Earth in People’s Summit Final Declaration

The social and popular movements, trade unions, people, civil society organizations and environmental organizations from around the world present at the People’s Summit at Rio+20 for Social and Environmental Justice experienced in the camps, mass mobilizations and debates the building of convergences and alternatives, conscious of the fact that we are the subjects of another type of relationship among human beings and between humankind and nature, tackling the urgent challenge of curbing the new phase of capitalist recomposition and building, through our struggles, new paradigms for society.

The People’s Summit is a symbolic moment in a new cycle of the trajectories of global struggles, giving rise to a new convergence among movements of women, indigenous peoples, Afro-descendants, youth, family and peasant farmers, workers, traditional peoples and communities, defenders of the right to cities and religions from around the world. The assemblies, mobilizations and the massive People’s March were the most powerful expressions of this convergence…

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For the People’s Summit Final Declaration visit:

Dr Vandana Shiva – Seed Freedom is Earth Rights

“Seed freedom is Earth Rights … it is the right of the seed in all its diversity and self organization to evolve into the future.” Dr. Vandana Shiva

Seed is the source of life and the first link in the food chain. Control over seed means a control over our lives, our food and our freedom…

At the Rights of Nature as the Foundation for Sustainability Side Event at Rio+20 Earth Summit, a young Zambian women asked “How to we return control of seed selection to the farmer and the restore the ability of rural farmers to save their seeds rather than being forced to by GMO seeds?”  It is currently against the law for farmers in Zambia and other countries to save their own seeds for replanting.  They are forced to by new seeds each season from multinational corporations.

Dr. Vandana Shiva eloquently responded by pointing out in 1930 Gandhi led the Salt March – Salt Satyagraha – to the sea against British salt laws because nature gives us salt for free.  “When I started Navdanya, we started with the idea of a Seed Satyagraha… Seed freedom is Earth Rights … the right of the seed in all its diversity and self organization to evolve into the future.”

Rights of Nature and Rio+20 – Seeds for the Future We Really Want

Rights of Nature and Rio+20 – Seeds for the Future We Really Want

A Report from Robin Milam, Global Alliance for Rights of Nature

My intention for Rio+20 was very specific: to make a bold statement for our planet and offer the recognition of Rights of Nature as a viable, positive solution for our Earth Community. Rights of Nature is the recognition that the natural ecosystems that sustain us have the right to exist, to persist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. Today we treat nature as property to be bought, sold and consumed, much like we once treated slaves. As advocates for Rights of Nature, we propose it is time to recognize nature and its ecosystems as a subject of the law such that the ecosystems themselves can be named as a defendant of the law.

Rights of Nature offers the foundation for true sustainability that is so missing in the formal UN negotiations. Moreover, it is a viable solution that is gaining traction globally and in over two dozen communities in the United States and was enthusiastically embraced by many participants at the Rio+20 conference.

In the face of what we knew would be a dismal outcome for the formal negotiations, my Global Alliance colleagues and I achieved far more on behalf of Rights of Nature than we had expected. We are encouraged by the breadth of the response we received and by the creatively that has been stirred by the global focus on Rio+20.

Front and center, the Future We Want ─ the formal Rio+20 document ─ actually includes a statement acknowledging that Rights of Nature. We have lobbied for the last year to have Rights of Nature language in the final document and succeeded in that endeavor. Linda Sheehan of Earth Law Center was a galvanizing force for us within the UN.

Article 39. We recognize that the planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home and that Mother Earth is a common expression in a number of countries and regions and we note that some countries recognize the rights of nature in the context of the promotion of sustainable development. We are convinced that in order to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environment needs of present and future generations, it is necessary to promote harmony with nature.

Furthermore, the UN published a beautiful coffee table book for Rio+20 entitled Future Perfect. Rose.pdf The first two chapters in Future Perfect are about Rights of Nature.

Doris, Alexandra, Osprey and Robin with Hercules GoesThe Rights of Mother Earth Signature Campaign has a vision of gathering 1 million signatures in support of Rights of Nature. At this point, over 120,000 individuals from 113 countries and leaders of 186 organizations representing over 600,000 people have signed petitions. Among the distinguished signatories are Vandana Shiva, Desmond Tutu, Joanna Macy, Paul Hawken, Jack Canfield, Nnimmo Bassey, and many others. On June 21, the Rights of Mother Earth campaign delivered a package of signatures to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. Later that day former Brazilian Senator Hercules Goes publicly presented the signature campaign document to President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil. Goes also arranged at least half a dozen interviews with UN Radio for the Global Alliance team and for Cormac Cullinan and Natalia Green to present a 30 minute Rights of Nature presentation on UN Television.

Rights of Nature Panel Ri0+20 June 17

Osprey Orielle Lake at Women's Earth and Climate Caucus Rights of Nature was a major theme in at least a dozen side events. The Global Alliance hosted events inside Rio+20 and at the People’s Summit entitled Rights of Nature as a Foundation for Sustainability & Rights of Mother Earth Signing Ceremony. Hosts of other related events represent diverse entities including the Blue Pavilion (water and oceans ), Peoples Sustainability Treaties: Rights of Mother Earth, the government of Ecuador, the Women’s Earth and Climate Caucus, Future Governance beyond Rio, Vandana Shiva et. al.’s Visions of the Living Earth book signing event, Indigenous gatherings at Kari Oca2 and others. During Ecuador’s Rights of Nature and Bien Vivir event Cormac Cullinan publicly acknowledged President Correa and presented the results of our signature campaign,,

A series of books and reports advocating Rights of Nature were also released at the Conference:

  • Rights of Nature: Planting Seeds of Real Change, a collection of essays published by Global Exchange;
  • Visions of the Living Earth: Future of Governance Post Rio, a collection of essays by Vandana Shiva, Leonardo Buff, and others;
  • Bolivia distributed their Proposal for a Law of Mother Earth ;· Foundation Earth published their The Economic Rethink – Who Does It Well? A report card for assessing what countries are taking “right actions” using Rights of Nature as a key criteria for assessing Rethinking our Economy Future Perfect by the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

While we were a small force, we showed once again that a dedicated team can make a difference. We were very present both at the UN Rio+20 and the People’s Summit Conferences. We put a bold stake in the ground with respect to the Future We REALLY Want.

Our message: Viable solutions do exist! Rights of Nature is the foundation for a sustainable future. With what we accomplished, the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature sees Rio as a successful launch for the next unfolding of Rights of Nature.

Also posted by The Well of Light at

Open Your Eyes by Milena Paraschive and Radu Popescu

Winners of the Rio+20 Global Rockstar Contest – Milena Paraschive and Raud Popescu of Romania – sang their beautiful composition of Open Your Eyes for the Rights of Nature as the Foundation for Sustainability Panel Dialogue and Rights of Mother Earth Signing Ceremony at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janiero.

“The message of our video is to “Open your eyes” to make this planet a better place & also to see the beauty of nature all around you.We wanted you to think a little bit more about what you can do to make this world a better place, and to appreciate what Mother Earth gave us. We also wanted to bring out the natural splendor of our homeland, Romania. In the end, the song is about the potential of our country, but more importantly, the potential of humanity as a whole. If we stop to think for a minute and come together as a single, unified race, we can make the world a better place for us and the generations to come. We have been blessed with a wonderful gift. Let’s try and make the best of it. That is what the song is all about.”

Read more at Global Rockstar

Open Your Eyes

See the gentle waters flow
On the crystal sand below
Hear them echo as the sailors row-row-row

To the north, the golden seeds
Never seem to fail our needs
As long as the sun will shine
We will all be fine-fine-fine
We just came here today
We feel so happy to say

Open your eyes and see the stars
Why can’t we just heal all the scars
Poluiton war and violence
Why do we all stay in silence
It’s about time you realize
You need to open your eyes

See the mountains way up high
Reaching far into the sky
Scraping clouds where only birds can fly-y y y

We’re waiting for the day when we
Will learn to live in harmony
All the peace and love we’ve found
Can make the world go round round round

We live on a green land
Its beauty has no end
Open your eyes and see the stars
Why can’t we just heal all the scars
Poluiton war and violence
Why do we all stay in silence

We can make it all work
We should stay together and be all so strong
Peace should guide us;
Love beside us
If we try together
we can make everything better
For us…
If we just open our eyes….

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

Click to access UN Radio Interview - then click Listen

Rights of Nature and the Commons

Remix the Commons is a collaborative and evolutive multimedia project. It aims to document and illustrate the key ideas and practices of the commons movement, including through the creative process of the project itself.

The following videos with Shannon Biggs, Nati Greene, Vandana Shiva and Pablo Solon (in Spanish) speak about Rights of Nature with respect to the Commons and moving on beyond Rio+20.

Shannon Biggs

Nati Greene

Dr. Vandana Shiva

Peoples Sustainability Manifesto

For Action Beyond RIO+20, June 2012

Sign the Peoples Sustainability Manifesto

The fourteen Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties, evolved through a consultative process with hundred of civil society organizations, converged at the Rio+20 to launch a Manifesto on the final day of the summit. They have declared that another world is possible after Rio+20 and pledged their commitment to a transition toward increasingly sustainable futures on earth.

The Global Alliance for Rights of Nature is proud to participate actively in the Peoples Sustainability Treaty process and a sponsor of the Peoples Sustainability Treaty for Rights of Mother Earth.

Click to Sign the Manifesto

Click for printable PDF

The signatories to this Manifesto refuse to sit idly by in the face of another failure of governments to provide hope for a sustainable future for all. They announced their own responsibility for undertaking actions, inviting and encourage similar actions and commitments by other rightsholders and stakeholders, communicating a vision for healthy communities, sustainable and equitable human well-being and its associated strategies, and coming together in the form of a global citizen’s movement to shepherd the transition to a sustainable, equitable, and democratic future. These would come together in the form of a global citizen’s movement to shepherd the transition to a sustainable, equitable, and democratic future, one in which ethics is both a right and a responsibility—at the level of the individual, the community and the planet.

Humankind faces multiple and daunting crises that are more than likely to confront and impact billions of people in the decades to come.  In addition, research is showing us that our actions are very likely going to cause us to transgress multiple planetary thresholds and boundaries.  Despite this, governments at Rio+20 are missing yet another opportunity to formulate an effective response to these crises.  Indeed, since 1992, there has been a retrogression in the consensus that was reached at the Earth Summit—and reflected in such principles as burden sharing, articulation of rights, mobilization of support, and protection of the vulnerable.  Repeated attempts to revive this consensus—at Johannesburg in 2002, Bali in 2007, Copenhagen in 2009, and now Rio de Janeiro in 2012—have come up empty handed, thus thwarting efforts to build upon it.  Despite unprecedented growth in the global economy since 1992, governments are trapped in making insatiable demands for still more unsustainable growth and rising inequity to remedy problems that economic globalization itself has caused.

The signatories have pledged to:

Equity is the overarching demand from the civil society world, and must be the foundation of the collective global response. We call for equity within generations, equity across generations, and equity between humans and nature.  For this we need to revert back to making individual and societal decisions based on equity and ecological factors and not merely on monetary factors. A different sort of economics, a new approach to learning and education as a process, a revised understanding of ethics and of spirituality then become the ways in which we can work toward a more Equitable society; one that recognizes our integral relationship with the natural world

Localizing our systems of economies, decentralizing governance, and advancing sustainable lifestyles and livelihoods becomes the new social order of sustainable societies. Localism is the theme emerging across the board which is linked to the principles of devolution, of decentralization and of subsidiarity, turning localism into a world-wide movement becomes the key to unpacking many of the complexities we face, whether in the case of sustainable consumption and production or in the case of radical ecological democracy. Protecting the rights of Mother Earth and of humans, transforming our governance systems through radical ecological democracy, respecting cultural diversity, and strengthening sustainable economies is the way towards sustainable futures for all. It is thus essential that we create a more effective, responsible and democratic system of global governance

A Global Citizens Movement is the collective response towards transitioning to a sustainable world. All sections of society must thrive to converge upon their visions and convictions and find common ground for collective action that can bring about the transformation required to ensure the wellbeing of all on the planet—humans as well as nature. Such a global citizens movement would catalyze for a peaceful and prosperous new world that generates widespread happiness and contentment – thus propagating widespread practices of mindful intentional action. For this, a new sense of ethics, values and spirituality must be seeded within current and future generations through a redesigned system of learning, education and enlightenment.

This manifesto calls for action that helps move simultaneously toward a more localized socio-economic structure and toward a supra-national mindset that helps us transcend the parochial concerns of a corporate-capitalistic globalization to activate a global citizens movement.

The Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties is an initiative by global civil society organizations to come together to develop an independent, collective outcome for a sustainable future beyond Rio+20. The treaties are essentially a forward looking process and targets a future beyond Rio+20 and will become a living document towards the transition to a sustainable world order.

Click to Sign the Manifesto

More information on the Peoples’ Treaties process, the outcome documents and on the Manifesto of post-Rio+20 action can be found at:

Please find attached the Peoples’ Sustainability Manifesto at Rio+20 with initial signatories.

All civil society organizations and citizens of the world are invited to commit themselves by endorsing the Manifesto at:

For any Rio+20 follow-up action please contact Mr. Uchita de Zoysa at