Earth Law Center works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve.
We do this by building a force of advocates for nature's rights at local and international levels. Our initiatives aim to secure legal rights for rivers, oceans, coastal and land ecosystems.
Key initiatives include:
securing legal rights for Marine Protected Areas, such as the Patagonian Sea, to protect thousands of species of animals and help preserve its ecosystem;
protecting the Magdalena River, Mexico City’s last remaining free-flowing river, to enable its restoration and ease pressure on the surrounding environmental resources;
fighting for legal protection of the Great Lakes, to ensure they can sustain both human needs and the ecosystem as a whole.
We envision a future in which humans and nature flourish together.
Our planet’s health depends on a paradigm shift in law. In most countries, nature has the legal status of property. Under this system, the environment has no voice in decision-making and cannot bring issues to court.
Earth Law will give ecosystems the same rights as people and corporations. This will enable the defense of nature in the courts—not only for the benefit of people, but for the sake of nature itself. Earth Law argues that humans and nature are not at odds, but are deeply connected and dependent on one another. Formal recognition of nature’s inherent right to thrive will enable the restoration of balance in the global environment.
Made Earth Law statement at United Nations Ocean Conference 2017 after gathering 62 signatures from 34 countries in support of including the topic of Rights of Nature in Ocean Governance.
Co-organized 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 of both nature's and human rights 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.
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.