WHO WE ARE
Earth Law Center works to ensure that the laws of all governments recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights, to exist, thrive and evolve.
Advocates for the Earth are winning battles, but losing the war. Our current legal systems have reduced some forms of pollution. But they fail to address systemic problems, like climate change, loss of fish and wildlife, the spread of toxic chemicals, and the depletion of our rivers and streams. These are pushing the planet towards a precipice. To reverse the tide, we must create and strengthen laws that protect the rights of nature.
Just as human rights were violated when other humans were considered to be someone’s property, the natural world is being abused because our legal system treats nature as property. This denies our underlying interdependence we have with nature, with which we co-evolved.
The rights of nature to exist, thrive and evolve for its own sake need to be reflected in our laws. Earth Law Center exists to create and advance this rallying cry for change. We are committed to building a movement with others who share this vision.
WHAT WE’VE ACHIEVED
- Coordinated and served as co-prosecutor at the Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal held in Paris December 2015.
- With Yale Law School, created and released a report highlighting 100 cases of co-violations (activities giving rise to both nature's and human rights violations) worldwide: Fighting for Our Shared Future: Protecting Human Rights and Nature's Rights.
- Co-drafted and ensured passage of Santa Monica’s “Sustainability Rights Ordinance,” the West Coast’s first “rights of nature” law
- Co-established the “Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance” in the San Francisco bioregion
- Co-organized and acted as Prosecutor for the 2014 Bay Area “People’s Tribunal,” addressing co-violations of nature’s rights and human rights
- Brought instream water rights messages to the California State Legislature and Water Board
- Worked with Yale University Law School to develop an instream water rights campaign
- Developed and taught “Earth Law” graduate course at Vermont Law School and elsewhere
- Moderated and served as an expert for two United Nations General Assembly meetings on Harmony with Nature, in 2013 and 2014
- Successfully incorporated rights of nature language into United Nations consensus documents
- Created and disseminated widely an online map of “co-violations” of human and environmental rights
- Working with marine scientists to define “ocean health” so that ocean’s rights laws can be effectively implemented