- Lead-organizer: Global Exchange
- 09:30 - 11:00
- Date: 17 Jun 2012
- Room: T-3
Rights of Nature - the Foundation for Sustainability
Organizing partnersGlobal Exchange
Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN)
Earth Law Center
Global Alliance for Rights of Nature
The Pachamama Alliance
IntroductionRights of Nature ? the Foundation for Sustainability
An international panel of Rights of Nature experts will illustrate the vital role of a new legal framework recognizing rights of nature as the foundation for sustainable development.
The panel will examine why a new framework for governance is necessary and is part of a bigger shift required in society today ─ a shift that will require that modern laws and policies comply with the laws of the Earth, and a way of living which maintains the health and integrity of the whole Earth Community.
? Nnimmo Bassey ? Environmental Rights Action / Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
? Cormac Cullinan ? EnAct International, South Africa
? Tom Goldtooth ? Indigenous Environmental Network, USA
? Natalia Greene ? Fundación Pachamama, Ecuador
? Linda Sheehan ? Earth Law Center, USA
? Pablo Solon ? Former Ambassador to the UN, Bolivia
Moderator: Shannon Biggs, Global Exchange, USA
Detailed programmeRights of Nature ? the Foundation for Sustainability
A diverse international panel of legal, social and environmental leaders will present the case for Rights of Nature as the inherent and necessary foundation for sustainable development.
Human communities are inextricably intertwined with the natural communities that sustain them. Yet, modern day legal systems fail to recognize our human interdependence with the natural world. Our legal systems treat the natural world as property to be exploited and degraded, rather than as an integral ecological partner with its own rights to exist and thrive. While our laws focus on the rights and needs of people to flourish, they pay relatively little attention to the same rights on the part of the natural world. Such systems lead to dangerously unbalanced, unsustainable relationships among humans and Mother Earth.
After 40 years of environmental protection laws, our modern legal systems have failed to prevent the increasingly grave threats of climate change, degradation of earth's ecosystems, and the growing dislocation of humans and other species.
To achieve sustainable development even at its most rudimentary level, the time has come for society to restructure the fundamental framework of our governance systems as they relate to the relationship of humans and our environment.
The will examine why a new framework for governance is necessary and is part of a bigger shift required in society today ─ a shift that will require that modern laws and policies comply with the laws of the Earth, and a way of living which maintains the health and integrity of the whole Earth Community.
A growing movement is committed to creating a system of jurisprudence that treats nature and Mother Earth as a fundamental, rights bearing entity. Rooted in traditional indigenous wisdom which grants equal rights to nature and honors the interrelationship of all life, a new paradigm grounded in the notion of living in harmony with all life is emerging.
The panel will include:
? Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian architect, environmental activist and poet, is Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria and Chair of Friends of the Earth International. In 2010, Bassey received of the Right Livelihood Award (alternative Nobel Peace Prize) and was featured in Time Magazines ?Heroes of the Environment? in 2009.
? Cormac Cullinan is a director of the South African environmental law firm, Cullinan & Associates Inc, and Chief Executive Officer of EnAct International, an environmental governance consultancy. His Wild Law A Manifesto for Earth Justice has played a significant role inspiring a growing international movement to recognize rights for Nature. At the invitation of Bolivia, Cullinan led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. Cullinan currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Alliance.
? Tom B.K. Goldtooth is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) and an Organizing Partner for the Indigenous Peoples Major Group of the UN. A social change activist within the Native American community for over 30 years, he is an international environmental and economic justice leader. Mr. Goldtooth co-produced an award winning documentary film, Drumbeat For Mother Earth, which addresses the affects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous peoples, and is active with many environmental and social justice organizations besides IEN.
? Natalia Greene, born in Ecuador, coordinates the program on ?Political Plurinationality and the Rights of Nature? at Fundación Pachamama in Ecuador and is the President of CEDENMA, Ecuador?s national coordinating entity for environmental NGOs. Greene was a key figure in the effort to include the recognition of rights for nature in Ecuador?s constitution. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.
? Linda Sheehan, environmental law attorney, is Executive Director of Earth Law Center. Formerly ED of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, Sheehan was recognized as a 2009 ?California Coastal Hero? by Sunset Magazine and the California Coastal Commission. She is a contributing author to Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence.
? Pablo Solon, international speaker and advocate for Rights of Mother Earth, is former Ambassador to the UN for Bolivia and spearheaded successful resolutions on the Human Right to Water, International Mother Earth Day, Harmony with Nature, and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He was very active in climate change negotiations under the UNFCCC, and helped organize the World People's Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia in 2010. Solón was named 2011 international Human Rights Award winner by Global Exchange.
? Shannon Biggs is director of the Community Rights program at Global Exchange and co-chair International Advocacy Working Group, Global Alliance for Rights of Nature. She co-authored Building the Green Economy: Success Stories from the Grass Roots and The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.