Events and Comment Opportunities

Hammer Museum, LA, Oct. 29th: At UCLA’s Hammer Museum the evening of October 29th, ELC will participate in a panel discussion with state water experts on "Who Owns Water?" ELC will be debating the topic with Buzz Thompson from Stanford Law School, and Eric Garner with Best Best and Krieger. Mark Gold, Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability at UCLA, will moderate. For more information on the panel, which is part of the museum’s The Next Wave water series, visit the Hammer Museum website. Admission is free.
Rights of Nature and ELC in the News: NGO colleague Biohabitats has just released its Fall Equinox newsletter, and the issue is devoted to the rights of nature movement, including updates on the December International Rights of Nature Tribunal, to be held in Paris to coincide with the international climate change talks. Read Biohabitats' interview of ELC's Linda Sheehan on implementation of nature's rights through local law.
TELL GOVERNOR BROWN WATERWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT TO FLOW: The state of California, mired in its fourth year of climate-accelerated drought, continues to push massive, twin water tunnels as a "solution" to the state's water crises. These crises include the imminent extinction of the Delta smelt and other species due to human mismanagement. Comments on the tunnels are due October 30th - tell the Governor to reject the tunnels, support waterways' rights in law, and immediately and widely begin to implement sound solutions for California’s water needs.
EARTH LAW, Vermont Law School: ELC once again taught the two-credit Earth Law to talented future attorneys, policymakers and advocates at Vermont Law School's Summer Session. Read the detailed Earth Law syllabus, and email us if you would like to know more about this innovative course!
READ THE POPE'S ENCYCLICAL: Pope Francis has released his long-awaited Encyclical, or formal statement, on climate change and the environment. Read Laudito Si': Care for Our Common Home in English here. Also, read ELC's latest newsletter highlighting key provisions. We strongly agree with the Pope's statement that The establishment of a legal framework which can set clear boundaries and ensure protection of ecosystems has become indispensable. We also commend the U.N. Secretary-General's statement that climate change is an "issue of...fundamental ethics." The Pope is taking action with this Encyclical in advance of the major international climate talks occurring in Paris later this year. Read regular updates on reactions from world leaders and quotes from the document here.
ELC ANNOUNCES UPCOMING REPORT: The Pope's Encyclical emphasizes that our current economic system of endless growth harms us all. With the Encyclical's distribution, ELC announces that we will release a report on the increasing number of violations of human rights and nature's rights arising from this flawed legal and economic system. The report, which will come out at the international climate change talks in December, will also offer solutions for change. For more on this new ELC report, read here.
WORLD OCEANS DAY: The United Nations began recognizing June 8th as World Oceans Day in 2008. The theme this year is "Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet." Earth Law Center is working to ensure the oceans' own, intrinsic right to health. For more, read ELC's recommendations for achieving ocean health and check back for more information soon.
ECOLOGICAL CIVILIZATION: On June 4-7 in Claremont, California, ELC spoke on two rights of nature tracks at the international conference “Seizing an Alternative: Toward an Ecological Civilization." The conference is organized around the idea that there is an alternative to modern industrial life, and that in order to avoid catastrophic conditions we must seize an alternative way of thinking and living. That “alternative” is an ecological worldview. Other speakers include Vandana Shiva, Bill McKibben, Herman Daly and many more. See press release here.
HAPPY EARTH DAY: On April 27th the United Nations held a General Assembly Dialogue for Earth Day; watch the webcast here. The U.N. is now accepting Statements of one to two pages on this Dialogue for posting on the Harmony with Nature website. Please consider drafting a short Statement supporting rights of nature and related reforms and submitting to We provide ELC's Statement as an example. In related news, a new report by Global Witness details more violence against defenders of the Earth by those violating human, indigenous and nature's rights. We must support these and other actors for the rights of people and nature. To learn more, visit Earth Law Center's map of co-violations of rights worldwide.
RIGHTS OF NATURE IN LIMA, PERU: Following the Oakland Tribunal on rights of nature (see below), an International Rights of Nature Tribunal was held in Lima, Peru on December 5th and 6th. This event coincided with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Lima, the 20th session of the Conference of the Parties on climate change. The final verdict for each of the cases has been prepared and can be reviewed now here.
It is clear that swift, meaningful change is needed, and the series of Tribunals ELC and partners have been holding are illustrating starkly the scope of this need. Read the press release and a Guardian article on the event.
In tragic news, an indigenous advocate associated with the Tribunal was found dead just days before he was to speak out against a major mining project; for more read here. His death highlights the increasing danger that environmental advocates are facing worldwide, highlighted in a UN study and in ELC's growing map of co-violations of human and environmental rights.
ELC addresses Beijing Water Authority ELC IN BEIJING: In a series of lectures over two days on November 13-14, ELC addressed City of Beijing officials on the history and philosophy of the concept of "sustainable development" and its evolution to an "ecological civilization of thriving communities," where humans and the Earth flourish together.
ELC IN LONDON: ELC traveled from Beijing to London to speak on rights of nature at the Gaia Foundation, a longtime, effective advocate for a new Earth Jurisprudence. ELC then co-led a November 18th workshop with the WILD Foundation on implementing nature's rights through set-aside of healthy, connected natural habitats.
ELC IN FINDHORN, SCOTLAND: ELC next spoke on "Legal Initiatives for the Rights of Nature" on November 19th at an event held at the Findhorn Foundation and Ecovillage, outside Inverness, Scotland.
Photo by Sarah Jornsay-Silverberg WATCH VIDEO: On October 5th at Laney College in Oakland, ELC and the Bay Area Rights of Nature Alliance held the Bay Area Rights of Nature Ethics Tribunal, which examined the impacts of the fossil fuel industry on nature's rights. Watch the summary video of the day's events here. Full videos and summaries of the Tribunal are also online. Please also visit the summary of the day's Web of Life Labyrinth, which provided information on people, ecosystems and species harmed by the fossil fuel industry. The Tribunal has already provided a model for a similar Tribunal in Australia, and it will inform the December Tribunal to be held in Lima, Peru in conjunction with the international climate talks. Thank you to all who participated and attended!
LISTEN TO PRESENTATIONS: On Oct. 25-26, at Cooper Union, NYC, 45 renowned activists and scholars from around the world conducted the Teach-In on "Techno-Utopianism and the Fate of the Earth". At the Teach-In, ELC spoke to a "new consciousness and new economic strategies" that can arise from the false assumption of human dominion over nature and the planet. Full audio is now available of all the presentations here and of ELC's presentation here.
VISIT ELC's online, interactive Map of Human and Environmental Rights Violations worldwide. Please send in information on other examples to share.
READ: Cambridge University Press has released Rule of Law for Nature: New Dimensions and Ideas in Environmental Law, including ELC's chapter on "Realizing Nature's Rule of Law through Rights of Waterways." Learn more here.
WATCH ELC's Executive Director Linda Sheehan speak before 700 attendees at TEDxMarin's annual event in San Rafael, California in the TEDx video, "Earth Jujitsu: Escaping the Climate Chokehold by Adapting to Nature's Rights."

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Greenwire, the "one-stop" source for those who track environmental and energy policy, has published a feature-length article about Executive Director Linda Sheehan. The article is available here and more information about Greenwire can be found here.

Why Rights of Nature

The ELC video, "Why Rights of Nature," explains more about the need for this movement. We invite you to view the video and visit our website further to learn more about our work to create legal systems that support the planet. Thank you!

Earth Law Center is a “think, share and do” organization dedicated to advancing laws that incorporate the inherent rights of all Earth’s inhabitants and ecosystems to co-exist, thrive and evolve. Watch a video of Executive Director Linda Sheehan addressing the need for this movement in a presentation at Southern Cross University, Australia.

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