Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal- Antioch

Expert Testimony, David Cobb
We are dealing with a law in this country that is facilitating such harms, and a society which is not recognizing our role as a human actor in this larger ecological web of life. The Delta is not being recognized for what it is, as a living entity. The Delta is at best looked at as a resource to exploit and water to be diverted.
— Expert Testimony, David Cobb

The Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance held another local Rights of Nature Tribunal on April 30, 2016 in Antioch, California to address violations of the rights of the Bay-Delta Estuary and Delta communities from over-diversion and pollution of Delta waterways. 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. Once again ELC's Linda Sheehan served as Co-Prosecutor for the Earth; read her closing statement here. The Tribunal was covered by local media outlets, and more summary information will be forthcoming soon.

Bay Area Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal- Oakland

Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth
Has Chevron ever listened to the land or made an effort to hear what land was offering? Do any governments or corporations listen to the land? No – they violate the rights of nature.
— Judges Verdict, Brian Swimme

The Bay Area Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal in Oakland, California in October, 2014, co-sponsored by ELC, examined the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on nature's rights. This Tribunal examined combined violations of human rights and nature’s rights, or “co-violations” of rights, by the Chevron Refinery in nearby Richmond, California. Spills and accidents at the refinery, the largest single emitter of greenhouse gases in the state, have sent thousands of neighboring residents to local hospitals and created lingering, long-term human and environmental health issues. "The rulings call[ed] for defining new economic models, social systems and governance structures to create a new path forward that recognize the interdependencies of humans and earth systems."

Video segments of the Tribunal are available here.

Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal- Paris

As we heard this morning, we will not bargain for the destruction of Mother Earth. We must insist on laws that recognize the inherent rights of nature. Any laws or conventions that aim for less must be rejected.
— Closign Statement, Linda Sheehan

The Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal held in Paris December 4-5, 2015, again coincided with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting (COP21). Internationally renowned lawyers and environmental justice leaders from around the world heard 8 cases over 2 days, including GMO and fracking cases. ELC's Linda Sheehan, served as Co-Prosecutor for the Earth, producing a well-received closing statement. In addition to turning away several thousand interested people due to lack of space, the Tribunal received international attention from the media; with stories published by Alternet, Open Democracy, DemocracyNow! and in many French outlets.

The cases covered:

  •  Financialization of Nature/ REDD
  •  Climate Crimes Against Nature
  •  Agro-food Industry and GMOs Threat
  •  Defenders of Mother Earth
  •  Hydraulic Fracking
  •  Mega Dams in the Amazon- Belo Monte & Tapajos
  •  Corralejas Colombia
  •  Victims of Mining de Rosia Montana
  •  Tar Sands of Canada
  •  Depletion of Marine Life
  •  Oil Exploitation Ecocides- Yasuni and Texaco/ Chevron

“The evidence presented at the Tribunal established beyond any doubt that human rights and the rights of Nature are inseparable, and that both are being systematically violated by systems based on arrogant delusions arising from the misconception that humans have the right and ability to dominate and exploit Earth.” Tribunal Offers Earth-Driven, Not Market- Driven, Solutions to Climate Change: Press Release.

Second International Rights of Nature Tribunal- Lima

Final Verdict for Climate Change Case, Osprey Orielle Lake
When we think about the rights of nature we have to ask: Do we have the right to sell and destroy something that belongs to everyone and should be a shared commons? And, does it make any sense to try and protect nature and heal our damaged ecosystems by further subjecting nature to an economic and legal system that caused the damage int he first place?
— Final Verdict, Climate Change Case, Osprey Orielle Lake

In December 2014, the Second International Rights of Nature Tribunal coincided with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting (COP 20). Earth Defender José Isidro Tendetza Antun, Shuar leader from the Condor Mine region of Ecuador, was murdered only days before the Tribunal commenced. 13 judges from around the world heard 12 cases alleging violations to nature’s rights, human rights and indigenous rights.

  •  Conga- Cajamarca Mine
  •  Condor Mirador
  •  British Petroleum
  •  Belo Monte Dam
  •  River Basins
  •  Chevron/ Texaco
  •  Defenders of the Earth: Bagua
  •  Hydraulic Fracking
  •  Climate Change and False Solutions
  •  REDD (Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation)
  •  Great Barrier Reef
  •  Yasuni

The Final Verdict is available here and affirmed “that all persons, groups and individual peoples have not only the right but the responsibility for protecting the rights of nature and condemns all these intimidating practices by companies and by the States, and stands in solidarity with all those affected.”

First International Rights of Nature Tribunal- Quito

Opening Statement, Casey Camp Horinek
A paradigm, that is based on Indigenous thought and philosophy needs to be forwarded which grants equal rights to Nature and which honors the interrelation in all life. This is the greatest challenge facing humanity, whether here in Ecuador or globally, to recognize its responsibilities, duties and obligations to the rights of Mother Earth.
— Opening Statement, Casey Camp Horinek

The first Tribunal took place in Quito, Ecuador in January 2014. Dr. Vandana Shiva, internationally renowned author, physicist, and environmental activist, presided over this historic Tribunal together with nine other distinguished judges from seven countries and five continents. These cases alleged violations of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and, for cases based in Ecuador, of the Ecuadorian Constitution’s provisions on nature’s rights.

The nine cases covered:

  •  British Petroleum (BP) Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill
  •  GMOs and Transgenincs
  •  Climate Change
  •  Great Barrier Reef, Australia
  •  Chevron/ Texaco
  •  Mirador Open Pit Mine
  •  Defenders of Nature
  •  Yasuni- ITT
  •  Hydraulic Fracking (USA)

Dr. Shiva presented the closing ruling to admit for further examination of all nine cases in Lima, Peru.