Land Ordinances

Cities and towns around the United States are adopting laws and policies to recognize the human right to a healthy environment and the environment’s own right to be healthy.


Advised by Earth Law Center and community groups, the City Council of Santa Monica unanimously passed in 2013 a Sustainability Rights Ordinance, which recognizes that “natural communities and ecosystems possess fundamental and inalienable rights to exist and flourish in the City of Santa Monica.” The Ordinance also articulates the rights of Santa Monicans to self-governance, a healthy environment, and sustainable living, and protects these rights from acts by corporate entities. Currently, Santa Monica leaders are examining the role that the Sustainability Rights Ordinance can play in providing extra protection to the City’s aquifer.


To correct the environmental problems we face, we must fully understand their scope. Transparency is critical. We also must know who are allies are and reach out to them to work together in this shared effort. ELC maps the data on both problems and allies, to help focus and galvanize the support needed for success.