Legal rights of Pacific Ocean pushed forward

"Granting legal rights to the Pacific Ocean allows lawsuits to be filed on behalf of ecosystems. “This means there is no longer a requirement to demonstrate personal human injury to protect and restore their (ecosystems’) health — a huge roadblock in environmental protection suits,” explains Michelle Bender of the Earth Law Center, a legal advocacy group."

ELC Launches UN Initiative to Ensure Recognition and Protection of the Ocean's Inherent Rights

ELC has created an initiative to present to the UN Ocean Conference and to be attached to a subsequent voluntary commitment to support SDG 14. This initiative requests UN Ocean Conference members support the incorporation of the inherent rights of the ocean into the "Call for Action." To sign on in support, please email name, organization/affiliation, location and logo to

Blueprint for a Sustainable Water Future

Based on input from water-policy experts from across the state, California Water Governance for the 21st Century offers a blueprint for a sustainable water future. The report, co-authored by ELC and Stanford Law School's Environmental Law Clinic, addresses the shortcomings of California's inefficient and inequitable water management regime and offers a range of potential policies and strategies for transforming our water governance system into one that maximizes social and ecological well-being. Further reading here.

ELC Releases Updated Co-violations Report

ELC released its second annual report detailing co-violations of human rights and nature’s rights around the globe. Rights co-violations occur when governments or industry, or both, impact humans and nature out of the same destructive activity. The report examines 200 instances of co-violations of rights worldwide and highlights specific solutions. The report is paired with an online map, where the public can also submit details on additional co-violations.

A Planet at the Crossroads

ELC spearheaded the effort at the IUCN World Conservation Congress to incorporate rights of nature into the IUCN's Programme of work and priorities. We are pleased to announce that this work was successful: the IUCN has just completed the final 2017-2020 Programme, which commits to rights of nature as a key strategy. Read ELC's media release on recent IUCN and UN actions here. Also at the IUCN Congress, ELC led a joint workshop on "Earth-Centered Law and Regulation for Safeguarding Nature," which explored the latest developments on the rights of nature and our responsibilities towards nature, and reparations for ecological damage.

Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal

ELC and partners of the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance (BARoNA) held a Rights of Nature Tribunal in Antioch, CA. An esteemed panel of Judges listened to witness and expert testimony on nature's, community and human rights violations that have occurred due to reduced flow in the Delta, and will occur with the Governor's Delta Tunnel Plan. What Did the Delta Say? Read the media release and ELC's closing remarks as prosecutor.