The Good Life
Living the Good Life
An essential element of successfully advancing rights for ecosystems is demonstrating the benefits of living in harmony with the Earth, through both research and direct application. These benefits include healthy local food, sufficient clean water for our daily needs, meaningful work at fair wages, self-sufficient and close-knit local communities, close interaction with nature, and prosperous, locally-owned businesses that incorporate human and natural communities in their bottom line.
Too often, the existing legal and economic paradigms discourage healthy communities at the expense of short-term, concentrated profit to the few. Recognition of the rights of nature will redirect such profits and result in benefits to human communities in the form of cleaner air and water, more reliable supplies of healthy food and necessary energy, and enhanced support for local work and businesses.
Nations and communities are working to implement this vision already. Most notably, Ecuador's National Plan for Good Living sets specific goals and objectives that help lead this plurinational and intercultural state to a vision of a "good life" for all its people, and one that includes a healthy environment.
Earth Law Center's Initiatives
Earth Law Center is working to develop relationships with “sustainable living” groups worldwide to engage involved spokespeople for a legal system that rewards their work, rather than discourage it. The Center highlights these organizations and the work they do on an online map that demonstrates the growing strength of the movement to "take back the good life."
Earth Law Center also promoted the benefits of "sustainable communities" in its comments and advocacy around Rio +20, as discussed in the Economics section of this site. As articulated in the Center's comments to the U.N., sustainable human communities include not just the economy, but also culture, societal/familial relations, healthy food, clean drinking water, sanitation, housing, necessary medical care, democratic governance, education, meaningful and appropriately rewarded labor, spirituality, civic duty, volunteerism, and other factors. Sustainable environmental communities similarly require healthy nutrients, clean water, biodiversity, restoration in the face of destruction, and thriving, connected habitats. The economy must be viewed as serving human and environmental communities, not the reverse. Earth Law Center will promote these positions as well in post-Rio +20 efforts to describe a "new social contract" and implement People's Sustainability Treaties, as described on this site.
The Happiness Initiative
Business Alliance for Local Living Economies
Marin Clean Energy
Earth Policy Institute
Roots of Change
United Nations Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform
John Helliwell et al., eds, "World Happiness Report" (April 2012)
United Nations Resolution 65/309, "Happiness: towards a holistic approach to development" (Aug. 2011) Mark Jacobson et el., Examining the Feasibility of Converting NY State's Energy Infrastructure to Wind, Water and Sunlight, Energy Policy (May 2013)
Food Bill of Rights and Local Self-Governance
Economic Roundtable, "Water Use Efficiency and Jobs" (2011)
U.N. Draft Resolution, "International Day of Happiness" (June 25, 2012)
Orange County Coastkeeper "Kayaking The Santa Ana River Becomes Reality"
RPA, "9 Ways to Make Green Infrastructure Work for Towns and Cities" (Nov. 2012)
UCLA, "Vision 2021 LA: A Model Environmental Sustainability Agenda" (Dec. 2012)
A Guerrilla Gardener in South Central LA
Interview with Nic Marks, Creator of Happy Planet Index, The Guardian (Dec. 2012)
YouTube: Bioneers Channel
The Story of Stuff
Rain Gardens: Slowing Pollution at Its Source
South Durban Toxics Tour and Call for Rights of Nature
U.N. Meeting on Well-Being and Happiness: Defining a New Economic Paradigm (April 2012)
The Happiness Initiative
The Republic of Ecuador, "National Plan for Good Living: 2009-2013"
Green Collar Jobs Campaign
Food and Water Watch: Food Safety