Earth Law Center Launches Community Toolkit for Rights of Nature

Community Toolkit


Contacts: Grant Wilson (, 510-566-1063)

New York, NY (March 26, 2019)—Today, Earth Law Center (ELC) announces the launch of a Community Toolkit for Rights of Nature as a free tool for local communities wishing to strengthen their protection of Nature. 

Municipalities across the U.S. have passed ordinances and resolutions that recognize Nature as a legal entity possessing rights, including in Santa Monica, CA and Crestone, CO. These local laws bolster existing ecosystem protections and guide a community towards a stronger, more meaningful relationship with Nature.

As with the abolition of slavery, granting women the right to vote, and the civil rights movement, local governments have been at the forefront of enshrining our expanded ethical considerations into law. So too is true with the Rights of Nature movement, with dozens of communities having recognized that Nature is a subject of rights. By contrast, our current legal and economic paradigms generally treat ecosystems and species as mere property.

“Our Toolkit is designed for communities that wish to take bold action in the face of global environmental degradation,” remarked Grant Wilson, Directing Attorney at Earth Law Center. “The effort to save our planet really begins inside town halls and city council meetings.”

The Rights of Nature movement is rapidly growing both in the U.S. and globally. In addition to Ecuador and Bolivia recognizing Rights of Nature nationally, at least three rivers, a national park, and a sacred mountain have also exercised their fundamental rights (the Whanganui in New Zealand, the Atrato in Colombia, the Vilcabamba in Ecuador, and the Te Urewera protected area and Mt. Taranaki in New Zealand). Last year, a judge in Colombia also declared the entire Colombian Amazon to be a subject of rights. 

The Toolkit was developed with significant input from Marsha Moutrie (former Santa Monica City Attorney) and Myra Jackson (Senior Advisor on Whole Earth Civics and Focal Point on Harmony with Nature with Geoversiv Foundation), who are leading experts in the field.

Earth Law Center ( works to transform the law to recognize and protect Nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. This includes advancing the inherent rights of rivers through initiatives with local partners to secure rights recognition.