Upcoming Events and Comment Opportunities
MARCH 22 IS WORLD WATER DAY. California is now in its fourth year of drought, still without a contingency plan other than hoping desperately for rain. While the drought makes things worse, this is not a drought problem - this is a worldview problem. We take water for granted, and assume it will always be there for us no matter how much we abuse it. NASA scientists correctly note that "the simple fact is that California is running out of water — and the problem started before our current drought." There is much we can do, starting with calling for meaningful rationing, swift control of groundwater overpumping, and immediate Proposition 1 support for real solutions. ELC and colleagues will be in Sacramento on April 8th to urge the state to formally recognize the dire flow conditions in many California waterways. Read ELC's comments here, and contact us if you would like to learn more.
UNITED NATIONS AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: On March 23-27, the U.N. will continue its debates around a new, "post-2015" set of development goals that will span approximately the next 15 years. Read ELC's comments on prioritizing the rights of nature in this process. Also read the summary of the Stakeholder Preparatory Forum for the post-2015 development agenda negotiations here. The next set of discussions will be March 23-27. In related news, read here for a summary of the December 2014 conference at the UN in Geneva on a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature, organized by Objectif Sciences International.
RIGHTS OF NATURE IN LIMA, PERU: Following the Oakland Tribunal on rights of nature (see below), an International Rights of Nature Tribunal was held in Lima, Peru on December 5th and 6th. This event coincided with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Lima, the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties on climate change. The final verdict for each of the cases has been prepared and can be reviewed now here.
It is clear that swift, meaningful change is needed, and the series of Tribunals ELC and partners have been holding are illustrating starkly the scope of this need. Read the press release and a Guardian article on the event.
In tragic news, an indigenous advocate associated with the Tribunal was found dead just days before he was to speak out against a major mining project; for more read here. His death highlights the increasing danger that environmental advocates are facing worldwide, highlighted in a UN study and in ELC's growing map of co-violations of human and environmental rights.
ELC IN BEIJING: In a series of lectures over two days on November 13-14, ELC addressed City of Beijing officials on the history and philosophy of the concept of "sustainable development" and its evolution to an "ecological civilization of thriving communities," where humans and the Earth flourish together.
ELC IN LONDON: ELC traveled from Beijing to London to speak on rights of nature at the Gaia Foundation, a longtime, effective advocate for a new Earth Jurisprudence. ELC then co-led a November 18th workshop with the WILD Foundation on implementing nature's rights through set-aside of healthy, connected natural habitats.
ELC IN FINDHORN, SCOTLAND: ELC next spoke on "Legal Initiatives for the Rights of Nature" on November 19th at an event held at the Findhorn Foundation and Ecovillage, outside Inverness, Scotland.
WATCH VIDEO: On October 5th at Laney College in Oakland, ELC and the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance held the Bay Area Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal, which examined the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on nature's rights. Videos and summaries of the Tribunal can now be found online. Please also visit the summary of the day's Web of Life Labyrinth, which provided information on people, ecosystems and species harmed by the fossil fuel industry. The Tribunal has already provided a model for a similar Tribunal in Australia, and it will inform the December Tribunal to be held in Lima, Peru in conjunction with the international climate talks. Thank you to all who participated and attended!
LISTEN TO PRESENTATIONS: On Oct. 25-26, at Cooper Union, NYC, 45 renowned activists and scholars from around the world conducted the Teach-In on "Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth". At the Teach-In, ELC spoke to a "new consciousness and new economic strategies" that can arise from the false assumption of human dominion over nature and the planet. Full audio is now available of all the presentations here and of ELC's presentation here.
ELC AT THE UNITED NATIONS: On Earth Day, ELC moderated the Interactive Dialogue on Harmony with Nature before the UN General Assembly. Watch the webcast of ELC's introductory remarks as moderator and visit the Dialogue webpage. ELC worked with the UN to finalize the report and recommendations from the Dialogue; the final report was just released and features notable language recognizing the importance of nature's rights. ELC spoke on the significance of this report at a UN Climate Change Summit side event on September 23rd, "Rights of Nature and Systemic Change in Climate Solutions".
REVIEW COURSE: Earth Law Center has once again been invited to instruct a two-credit law class on "Earth Law" at the renowned Vermont Law School Summer Session, in July 2015. Browse the Summer 2014 syllabus to learn more about how law and master's students are examining the role of law in advancing nature's rights.
READ: Wild Law in Practice, edited by Michelle Maloney and Peter Burdon and featuring a chapter by Earth Law Center, "'Water as the Way’: Achieving Well Being through ‘Right Relationship’ with Water." Read the Introduction to learn more about this important work, which is available now!
VISIT ELC's online, interactive Map of Human and Environmental Rights Violations worldwide. Please send in information on other examples to share.
READ: Cambridge University Press has released Rule of Law for Nature: New Dimensions and Ideas in Environmental Law, including ELC's chapter on "Realizing Nature's Rule of Law through Rights of Waterways." Learn more here.
WATCH ELC's Executive Director Linda Sheehan speak before 700 attendees at TEDxMarin's annual event in San Rafael, California in the TEDx video, "Earth Jujitsu: Escaping the Climate Chokehold by Adapting to Nature's Rights."
ONGOING: Sign a petition to make Ecocide a crime in Europe. The European Citizens' Initiative “End Ecocide in Europe” aims to make severe environmental destruction a crime. Details are given in a draft directive, and in this brief YouTube video. For the intellectual grounding of the End-Ecocide movement, see this report from the Human Rights Consortium at the University of London.
Follow Earth Law Center on our Tumblr account.
Video: POLIS Project on Ecological Governance, Water Sustainability Project, Webinar: Giving Nature a Voice: Legal Rights of Waterways - Linda Sheehan on rights of waterways and Vernon Tava on Whanganui River agreement.