Women's Earth & Climate Action Network, International
The Women's Earth & Climate Action Network is a solutions-based, multi-faceted effort established to engage women worldwide to take action as powerful stakeholders in climate change and sustainability solutions. For Our Earth and Future Generations A project of Women's Earth and Climate Caucus and its partner eraGlobal Alliance
« Rights of Nature, New Economics, Relationship with Earth

Enacting Nature's Rights in Law

photo of Linda Sheehan

Started by: lsheehan


Enacting Nature's Rights in Law

Earth Law Center works to advance in our laws the inherent rights of ecosystems and species to exist, thrive and evolve.  Earth Law Center also develops and provides instruction of law school curricula that discusses the need for an Earth-based legal system, how to achieve it, and what it might look like.

Reasons for working in this topic, project or business:

I came to Earth Law Center after recognizing, based on years of experience on California environmental policymaking, that the deep flaws in our current legal system will inevitably prevent us from reaching our desired goal of a healthy planet.  My goal for Earth Law Center is to help us move from a flawed world-view of "people over nature" toward a transformation of environmental consciousness and awareness that recognizes nature as partner, not as servant.  This will be achieved in part through advocacy for rights of nature in California and elsewhere.

Root causes of the problems in this field and main barriers:

Our overarching governance (legal and economic) systems, and more particularly our environmental laws, accept unquestioningly that the environment is property to be manipulated to meet human desires.  By contrast, ethics and science demonstrate that we are inextricably bound up with the natural world, indicating a partnership - rather than ownership - relationship.  Environmental laws cannot by themselves hold back the inexorable pressure of overarching governance systems that financially reward environmental destruction. The Center works to evolve the law to recognize our interconnections and thereby drive positive ecological and societal change.

What is needed to overcome barriers to implement solutions:

Numerous substantive tools are needed - sample laws, model ways of living in harmony with nature, litigation, technology that maintains our well-being but lightens our footprint, etc.  Process tools are also critical, and of these the most important is social movements - working for the rights of nature, and rejecting the rights of corporations to destroy the well-being of both the natural world and the people in it.

Specific needs and/or support requests:

See below re local solutions.

Suggested best local solution for this topic:

Please see www.earthlawcenter.org - your ideas and suggestions are welcome! Two efforts ongoing that the Center is partnering in are (a) adoption of a Sustainability Bill of Rights in Santa Monica, California, paired with a Sustainable City action plan, and (b) amendment of Vermont's Constitution to include rights of nature.

Suggested best global solution for this topic:

Please see www.earthlawcenter.org; your ideas and suggestions are welcome!


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