About Earth Law Center

A Global Force of Advocates for the Rights of Nature

Just as people have fundamental rights, so too should nature. 

Earth Law is the idea that ecosystems have the right to exist, thrive, and evolve—and that nature should be able to defend its rights in court.

Earth law looks at the pressures on the Earth that contribute to the destruction of its ecosystems and species. It then argues that a balanced approach can provide for the entire Earth community, including humans. 

We envision a future in which humans and nature flourish together. Join us in defending nature’s rights. 

Our Work


Rights of Rivers

Four rivers have been granted legal personhood status, the same legal rights as a person. See what ELC is doing to fight for universal river rights.

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Ocean Rights

Marine protected areas play an important role in protecting and restoring ocean health.  ELC has formulated a framework for protecting our oceans.

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Lakes and coastal communities are delicate environments, vulnerable to climate change, contamination, invasive species, and more. ELC fights for the rights of lakes alongside local communities and indigenous tribes.

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Land Ecosystems

Nationwide, roughly three dozen communities have adopted local laws that protect the rights of nature. ELC advises cities on establishing rights of nature protections.

Take Action



Your contribution will help establish legal rights for nature.

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Nature needs your talents! Join us to become an advocate for the inherent rights of nature.


Stay Informed

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Global Outreach and Education

ELC Global Outreach

Our environmental challenges span the globe, arising from legal systems that fail to recognize nature’s rights. ELC defends the rights of nature alongside local partners around the world. It advocates before the United Nations and other forums for laws and policies that allow people and nature to flourish together.


Education Initiatives

ELC prepares tomorrow’s leaders to develop solutions that support the inherent rights of nature. ELC has created and taught a graduate-level curriculum at Vermont Law School and California Institute of Integral Studies, and has expanded with a secondary school curriculum.

Earth Law Center Blog


On behalf of Earth Law Center, Darlene Lee delivered a statement on the Rights of the Ocean at the U.N. Ocean Conference's 7th Plenary Meeting.