Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

This paper formed part of the Green Institute Report ‘Rebalancing Rights: Communities, Corporatations and Nature’.

Around the world, people are working hard to protect their local communities and local ecosystems from the destructive impacts of excessive industrial developments.  One strategy that is receiving growing attention is changing the legal status of nature from being human property or, at best, a protected ‘object’, to being recognised as a living entity with its own legal rights – a subject of the law. But can this approach make any difference to the legal protection of nature?

In this essay, I’ll outline criticisms of traditional environmental law that are used to argue that a paradigm shift is needed in western industrial legal systems and trace the origins of the Rights of Nature movement and the developments around the world that have now seen the Rights of Nature shift from being a “fringe” legal issue, to one that is capturing the imagination of courts, lawyers and communities around the world. While the concept is potentially open to many of the same problems faced by ‘traditional’ environmental law, it also represents an exciting and optimistic development in legal theory and practice that is being embraced by a range of communities, and can offer an effective way to advocate for Earth democracy.

Criticisms of traditional environmental law

Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

Despite the important gains won by modern environmental law, the current system has been criticised by both ‘traditional’ environmental lawyers and commentators and those who identify as ‘Earth jurists’. Thomas Linzey, Founder of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) notes that: “environmental laws simply ‘permit’ environmental pollution” and the only thing ‘managed’ by environmental law, are environmentalists, as governments and corporations collude to control the use of the environment and public resources to perpetuate benefits for vested interests.[1]  Legal writers like Joseph Guth have provided comprehensive critiques of environmental law, claiming it is incapable of calculating or ‘managing’ the cumulative impacts of human activities and the reality of ecological limits.[2]

From an Earth jurisprudence perspective, the inadequacies of modern environmental law run much deeper than just the legal tools and frameworks that are commonly used.  The problems stem from the dominant cultural world views that shape the legal system in the first place.  Despite the scientifically-based, observable patterns of an evolutionary process creating a complex and interrelated universe, the themes of alienation, separation and mechanisation resulting from the 17th century Renaissance writings of René Descartes, Francis Bacon, and Isaac Newton continue to be the basis for the dominant Western worldview within most academic, economic, legal and religious institutions.[3] This linear, dualistic world view places humanity outside the natural functioning of the Earth community, and often teaches an anthropocentricism that ignores the intrinsic value of other beings. Humanity is perceived as somehow “outside” of nature, and not accountable to nature’s laws and functions.  Even though humanity’s wellbeing is utterly dependent on the healthy functioning of Earth’s basic systems such as a clean atmosphere and dynamic microbes in the soil, major Western institutions seldom consider these Earth dynamics as a primary source and maintainer of life forces. Legal structures and governance are equally inadequate in recognizing that the primary law giver is Earth itself.[4]

Situating the Rights of Nature within the Earth jurisprudence movement

Earth jurisprudence

Deep ecologist, ‘geologian’ and Earth scholar, Thomas Berry[5] (1914-2009) proposed in 1999, in his book The Great Work: Our Way Into the Future, that the challenge for humanity is to understand the underlying, systemic reasons for the ecological crisis, and to transform our relationship with the natural world from one of destruction, to one of mutually beneficial support.[6]  He suggests that acting ethically and living within Earth’s natural capacities requires that we look to a new jurisprudence, a new way of governing ourselves for the challenges and possibilities of the 21st century so as to protect the integrity of Earth systems.[7]

Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

Berry proposes that the primary cause of the ecological crisis is anthropocentrism – a belief by people in the industrialised world that we are somehow separate from, and more important than, the rest of the natural world.[8] Berry argues that this anthropocentric world view underpins all the governance structures of contemporary industrial society – economics, education, religion, law – and has fostered the belief that the natural world is merely a collection of objects for human use.[9]  He elaborated that the “Great Work before us, the task of moving modern industrial civilization from its present devastating influence on the Earth to a more benign mode of presence”[10] requires current governance structures and laws to recognise the cosmological origins of the human species and its interdependent, interconnected place within the single, comprehensive Earth community.[11]  The lack of respect for the health of the Earth is interrupting the vital evolutionary processes that the Earth community is actively engaged in.[12] He noted that despite extensive scientific knowledge, industrial societies continued to live within a false dualism that teaches us that humanity is separate and apart from the rest of the natural world.[13]  This dualism has enabled the creation of environmental laws that do not adequately protect nature nor prohibit significant environmental harm being done.

Berry laid the foundation for an Earth jurisprudence at a conference held in Arlie, Virginia in 2001, which was attended by deep ecologists, lawyers and Earth advocates.  Berry said that “Earth needs a new jurisprudence” and the term ‘Earth jurisprudence’ was coined.[14] He also presented his original paper on “The Origin, Differentiation and Role of Rights.”[15] That paper built upon the land ethic articulated by Aldo Leopold,[16] the deep ecology writings of George Sessions and Arne Naess,[17] and the legal pioneering work of Christopher Stone who asked the provocative question in 1975, “Should trees have (legal) standing?”[18]

Berry stated that: “(E)very component of the Earth Community has three rights: the right to be, the right to habitat, and the right to fulfil its role in the ever-renewing processes of the Earth Community.”[19]  He stated that these rights “originate where existence originates. That which determines existence determines rights.”[20] Thus existence and the laws of the emerging universe, of Earth’s functions, are the highest laws, and human-made laws need to be in alignment with them. Not only governance but all human institutions need to operate in coherence with the laws and relationships already embedded within the natural world.

Berry wrote “The Great Work” after already completing an important foundational building block for the field of Earth jurisprudence.  In 1992 he published a book called ‘The Universe Story’[21] with mathematical cosmologist Brian Swimme.  In this book, Swimme and Berry created a new, science-based cosmology, that used current scientific understandings of the emergence and functioning of the universe and planet Earth to remind humanity about Earth’s wider, interconnected system of life and our humble place in it.  They proposed that the Universe Story should be a source of inspiration and guidance for humanity in the 21st century and beyond.

Earth jurisprudence then, is an emerging theory of law and governance that requires a radical rethinking of humanity’s place in the world, to acknowledge the history and origins of the universe as a guide to humanity and to see our place as one of many interconnected members of the Earth community.[22]  By ‘Earth community’ Berry refers to all human and ‘other than human’ life forms and components of the planet – animals, plants, rivers, mountains, rocks, the atmosphere – our entire Earth.[23]  Berry and the broader Earth jurisprudence movement acknowledge the inspiration and guidance that Indigenous cultures and Indigenous wisdom can provide to industrialised societies and the development of Earth jurisprudence.[24]

As noted, Berry built on the work of many great writers and thinkers.  Indeed, many of the key elements of Earth jurisprudence and eco-centrism have long been debated in environmental philosophy and human ecology, and eco-centrism in the law has been explored by many writers, including Christopher Stone,[25] Roderick Nash[26] and Klaus Bosselmann.[27]  However the 21st century has seen Berry’s work – and the work of many people inspired by him, including Cormac Cullinan, Peter Burdon, and many others – translated into action, through law reform and community based, Earth democracy campaigns.

Rights of Nature as one element of Earth jurisprudence

Earth jurisprudence offers a rich body of literature, but for the sake of this essay, and for brevity, it can be described as having four key elements:

First, Earth jurisprudence acknowledges that the universe is the primary lawgiver.  In contrast to the current western legal system which sees human laws as the highest authority for human society (and implicitly, for all other life forms and ecological systems), Earth jurisprudence sees the laws of the universe, the ‘Great Jurisprudence’ or ‘Great Law’, as providing the fundamental parameters of the Earth Community, including human societies.[28]  This then sees Earth jurisprudence as explicitly advocating for an idea of human societies living within the ‘rules’ or limits of the natural world.

Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

Second, Earth jurisprudence sees the Earth as an interconnected community and argues for a relationship-based existence between humanity and the rest of the Earth Community. This contrasts with the current western legal view that creates relationships between people, and between people and corporations, through constructs like property law, but commodifies and exploits all other aspects of the natural world.[29] By framing the natural world as a community, Earth jurisprudence imposes greater constraints on humanity’s actions than our current legal system does.  By claiming that ‘the primary concern of the human community must be the preservation of the comprehensive community’, Berry argued for a human world that works to ensure that all members of the Earth Community can thrive and continue their evolutionary journey.[30]

Third, many advocates of Earth jurisprudence have argued that the Earth Community and all the beings that constitute it have ‘rights’, including the right to exist, to habitat or a place to be, and to participate in the evolution of the Earth Community.[31]  Berry argued that “nature’s rights should be the central issue in any … discussion of the legal context of our society”.[32] This view contrasts with the current western legal system, which grants rights only to humans and selected human constructs such as corporations. Granting rights to nature is a radical rethinking of the role of our anthropocentric legal system, and yet the idea appears to be taking hold in many jurisdictions, as outlined below.

Berry distinguishes these Rights of Nature from other legal rights by saying they are “analogous”[1]: that is, these rights are already existent; they are not created by human law but rather are created by the very act of the universe bringing forth its evolutionary processes. These rights of nature come from the same source as human rights: the universe itself.[1]  Therefore it is the work of Earth jurisprudence to develop and advocate for cultural, legal – and even spiritual – change that recognises these already existing “rights”, and to provide legal consideration and protection of those rights.

Following this notion of rights emerging from existence is a fourth and critical element of Earth jurisprudence: the idea of Earth Democracy. Many advocates for the Rights of Nature embed these rights within a framework of ‘Earth Democracy’. Earth Democracy has been defined as an attempt to fuse ecocentric ethics with deeper forms of human democracy and public participation.[33] It promotes the idea that all human and non-human life forms are borne of Earth, and as evolutionary companions, we all have a right to exist, thrive and evolve. In terms of human relationships, Earth Democracy is a concept that examines power, privilege and inequity, and rejects them in favour of the idea that all people have the right to their own self-determination, particularly when it comes to Earth stewardship within their local communities. It is important to recognise that, under an Earth jurisprudence approach, human rights are an interdependent and correlative subset of Earth rights; humanity cannot be healthy and our rights as humans cannot be secure if Earth is veering towards depletion and over-extraction.

Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

But how do we change the current system and move towards an Earth jurisprudence of human governance?  Fortunately there is a multitude of people, community organisations and Indigenous leaders who are doing their Great Work and leading by example. The Earth laws and Earth democracy movement is being embraced by people from all cultures, countries and professions, and this multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary response to Earth jurisprudence is one of its most powerful strengths.  We need people from all walks of life to engage in the work of creating new, Earth-centred laws and governance systems.  And as Cormac Cullinan suggests, for lawyers in particular, in order to take on the challenges that we face, we ‘must bring our whole selves to the party’, going beyond our rational legal skills to also embracing and channelling our compassion, spirit and love for the Earth that exists within us all. [34]

Rights of Nature laws around the world

The implementation of Rights of Nature laws came to international attention in 2008, when Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognise the legal Rights of Nature in its national constitution.  In 2010, Bolivia passed a national law, called the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which defines Mother Earth as “a collective subject of public interest” and as a title holder of inherent rights specified in the law. Provision was also made in the legislation to create a special ombudsman’s office for the rights of Mother Earth, similar that which exists for human rights.[35]

The Ecuadorian and Bolivian approaches have two important elements: they grant positive rights to nature – including the right to exist, to restoration and regeneration.  They also grant broad legal standing, enabling anyone to speak on behalf of nature and defend nature’s rights. For example, in Ecuador, all persons, communities, peoples and nations can demand that Ecuadorian authorities enforce the Rights of Nature.

While Bolivia has had little traction with its Rights of Nature laws, Ecuador has had several dozen cases based on the Rights of Nature provisions in the constitution, and around half have been successful.

With respect to Rights of Nature laws, it’s often less well known that two years before Ecuador’s Constitutional provisions were in the news, local communities in the USA passed the first rights of nature ordinances in the world, and today there are more than 30 local ordinances in place that recognise the legal Rights of Nature and local communities.  All of these ordinances assert the positive Rights of Nature to exist, flourish and evolve, and assert the rights of local communities within the relevant jurisdiction to speak for and defend the Rights of Nature.

Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

The innovative approach of using local municipal law-making to pass Rights of Nature and community rights laws has been led by the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a public interest law firm founded by Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil.  Their local community rights ordinances have built networks of advocates in a number of states, and there are now State-wide networks advocating for community and nature’s rights at the State level.[36]

CELDF’s work can now be described as a ‘legal movement’, as their ground breaking work to redefine community and nature’s rights has directly influenced the laws developed in Ecuador, Bolivia and the emerging grass roots campaigns around the world, including in Australia.

In contrast to the Rights of Nature laws in Ecuador, Bolivia and USA, legal developments in New Zealand, India,Colombia and Bangladesh represent a different approach to changing the legal status of nature.

Legal developments in New Zealand in 2017 captured the world’s imagination, as the Whanganui River, Urewera Forest and, later that year, Mount Taranaki, were all recognised as having “legal personhood”. While these developments have been referred to as Rights of Nature laws, they have very different origins and potentially different outcomes from the Rights of Nature laws in other jurisdictions, as they have emerged from New Zealand’s specific colonial legal structures.

Each of the three legal personhood laws emerged from settlement agreements under the Treaty of Waitangi, which involved years (and in the case of the Whanganui River, decades) of negotiations between the New Zealand Government and the relevant Maori tribes.  In each instance, when agreement was reached, a Record of Understanding documented the agreement, and legislation was enacted that articulated the new legal status and management arrangements for each separate ecosystem.

In contrast to the broad standing allowed under the Rights of Nature laws in Ecuador, Bolivia and the USA, the arrangements in New Zealand are narrower, as each of the ecosystems with ‘legal personhood’ have explicitly defined guardians who are allowed to speak (and stand) for the ecosystem.   Each of the new Acts also recognise the cultural connection and responsibility the Maori tribes have to those ecosystems.

While emerging from the unique cultural context of New Zealand, what’s remarkable is that in countries such as India, Colombia and Bangladesh which do not have any legislation enabling recognition of the Rights of Nature, courts have made decisions that draw on the New Zealand approaches, and legally recognise  that particular ecosystems must be recognised as ‘living beings’ and must have their own legal rights.

In March 2017, the High Court of the State of Uttarakhand, located on the northern border of India and including the headwaters of the Ganges River, as well as part of the Himalayas, declared that:

… the Rivers Ganga and Yamuna, all their tributaries, streams, every natural water flowing with flow continuously or intermittently of these rivers, are declared as juristic/legal persons/living entities having the status of a legal person with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person in order to preserve and conserve river Ganga and Yamuna.

The court decision was quite contentious in India and was appealed on several grounds, in an effort to clarify the ramifications of the decision, including the reference to the ‘liabilities’ of the ecosystems. Rights of Nature laws in other jurisdictions have not suggested nature has ‘liabilities’; it’s a problematic issue that has now stimulated research and analysis from academics interested in Rights of Nature.[37]

In 2017, the Atrato River, together with its basin and tributaries, was declared to be an ‘entity sujeto de derechos’ (legal entity) by the Colombian Constitutional Court. What was interesting is that local communities and the river were acknowledged as having rights.  The river’s rights (distinct from the communities’ rights), are to protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration by the state and local communities. The Court made a number of orders to implement its decision, including that the rights of the river be represented by a guardian – with one representative from Government and one from the claimant communities, and it explicitly referenced the Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River) model from New Zealand. Earlier this year, legal rights were also recognized for the entire Amazon region in Colombia.[38]

While the Atrato River case refers to the Whanganui River legal model, it is more like a ‘blend’ of the New Zealand approach and the Rights of Nature approaches in Ecuador and Bolivia.  The Atrato River’s ‘biocultural rights’ include the river’s protection, conservation, maintenance and restoration – which is language similar to Rights of Nature laws.  And it demands that local people be empowered to manage their river properly, which is a powerful reinforcement of the role that rights can play in supporting Earth Democracy.[39]

International initiatives and statements

In addition to country-specific initiatives, more than 80 organisations from around the world are now working in partnership as the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (the Global Alliance), to advocate for legal rights for the Earth community.[40]  This growing network of lawyers and Earth advocates is made up of groups and organisations around the world, that use Earth centred frameworks such as the Rights of Nature and ecocide, to challenge the destruction of the Earth community by mining, fracking, logging, unsustainable water extraction, factory farming and pollution.

Rights Of Nature, Earth Democracy And The Future Of Environmental Governance

At the international level, the movement has created two important initiatives that are challenging the anthropocentrism of existing international law and governance.  The first is the Universal Declaration for the Rights of Mother Earth (UDRME)[41], which is a declaration that asserts the rights of all of the Earth community to exist, thrive and evolve. This Declaration is not presently recognised in the legal system created by nation states, but it represents the agreed values of thousands of members of civil society.  It has been estimated that over 35,000 people from 100 countries attended the People’s Congress that created the Declaration.  The second initiative of the Global Alliance is the creation of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal.  The objective of the Tribunal is to hear cases regarding alleged violations of the Rights of Nature and make recommendations about appropriate remedies and restoration.  The Tribunal was created to respond to concerns by members of the Global Alliance that State-sanctioned laws are facilitating atrocities being inflicted on the natural world.  The Tribunal has held hearings that have drawn attention to the violations of the Rights of Nature around the world.

Rights of Nature and Earth Democracy – Recent developments in Australia and the Pacific

In November 2018 a group of researchers, lawyers and regional environmental and First Nations groups in the Pacific, met at the University of Auckland, to discuss a possible process to create a Regional Convention for the Rights of the Pacific Ocean.  A ‘Statement of Principles’[42] has been created, as a way of capturing the cultural and legal thinking that’s progressing the project, and as a way of inviting interested people to become involved in the movement.  This project represents the convergence of a number of different approaches to recognising the Rights of Nature.  It advocates for recognising the Pacific Ocean as a living entity with rights to exist, thrive and evolve, and also recognises the cultural traditions of people around the Pacific who have deep cultural and spiritual connections to the Pacific Ocean. It places priority on implementing Rights of Nature at all scales of law and governance, including local communities, which is another reflection of how Earth Democracy is being connected to Rights of Nature campaigns.

In Australia, the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (AELA) is engaged in a range of projects and conversations exploring the potential of the Rights of Nature in Australia. AELA’s view is that changing the legal status of nature in Western laws – whether through asserting positive rights of nature in a jurisdiction, or by using ‘legal personhood’ approaches for specific ecosystems – can offer legal and strategic benefits for strengthening environmental protection, and can help to transform Western attitudes towards the living world. However a critical priority is to work in partnership with First Nations colleagues, to explore how a ‘Rights of Nature’ approach might be adapted in Australia so that it supports – and doesn’t undermine – the existing ancient first laws of First Nations People across this continent.

A number of First Nations initiatives, statements and documents already include reference to the Rights of Nature. In 2016, First Nations Peoples in the region now known as the Kimberley created an historic declaration – the Fitzroy River Declaration – which sets out their intention to protect and manage the River, and it also recognises that ‘the River is a living ancestral being and has a right to life’[43]

In 2017, sixteen Aboriginal nations from across the northern Murray Darling Basin signed a treaty to work together, and have a united voice, on issues of importance to them.[44] The treaty, known as the Union of Sovereign First Nations of the Northern Murray-Darling Basin, also pledges to uphold the “rights of Mother Earth”, as follows:

“the rights of Mother Earth are upheld by all Nations …. And we pledge our commitment to ensuring ‘respect’ and preservation of her inalienable rights and all things natural. We acknowledge that these guarantees are the absolute inherent rights to the human condition” [45]

Also in 2017, the Victorian government passed the Yarra River Protection (Wilip-gin Birrarung Murron) Act, which enables the identification of the Yarra River and the many hundreds of parcels of public land it flows through as one living, integrated natural entity for protection and improvement.  While this legislation does not change the legal status of the river, or explicitly refer to the Rights of Nature, it’s acknowledgement of the river as a living entity is important in Australian law, and it’s the first time in Australia that Aboriginal language and custodial responsibilities are recognised in connection to and responsibility for this important waterway.[46]

The Rights of Nature concept is receiving increasing attention from non-Indigenous communities in Australia. After several years of workshops and discussions by AELA, with communities around Australia, early 2018 saw a number of community driven initiatives that reflect how Rights of Nature can capture peoples’ imagination in a way that traditional environmental law does not, and how Rights of Nature framing and strategies can be embraced by people seeking to support Earth Democracy.

In March 2018, more than 100 local people rallied in support of the Margaret River, in Western Australia.[47]  Their signs, banners and strategy focused on giving the river its own voice and its own legal rights.  One of the local advocates for rights of the river said that people ‘understood the idea of recognising the river as a living entity, because we all know it’s more than just a resource, it’s alive and it has a right to exist.’[48]

In the Blue Mountains, community members concerned about threats to the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area have worked with AELA to draft a Local Council statement which they hope to gain support for, and to advocate for local recognition of the Rights of Nature in the Blue Mountains local council area.

AELA has also started a new conversation about how to increase protection and custodianship of the world’s largest coral reef community, the Great Barrier Reef (GBR).  AELA has drafted laws for all three levels of Australian government – a model law for Local Councils in the GBR Catchment, a State law recognising the Rights of the GBR and a proposed amendment for the Federal Constitution.  These model laws are to demonstrate what’s possible in Australia, and how Rights of Nature laws might be crafted to embrace Earth democracy and recognition of First Nations Peoples’ rights and obligations to care for land and sea country. [49]

Conclusions

At its essence, a “Rights of Nature” approach states that “where life exists, rights exist.”  This has the potential to be a powerful way to push back at a legal system that treats the living world as merely human property, and which privileges government control and corporate rights.

We must transform our environmental governance to nurture rather than destroy the natural world, or we will perish along with much of our precious Earth community.  Earth jurisprudence and the Rights of Nature can make an important contribution to this transformation.  The practical implementation of Earth jurisprudence is building a very different approach to environmental governance from that of traditional environmental law.  Rather than treating the health of the earth as just one of the many variables humans need to ‘weigh up’ in their anthropocentric decision making processes, Earth jurisprudence advocates putting the Earth first.  Earth jurisprudence requires humans to see the non-human world as sacred, non-negotiable and irreplaceable.  This approach is fundamentally challenging to the dominant pro-growth human culture but it is critical if we are to save what’s left of our precious Earth community and rebuild and restore our world for future generations.

References

[1] Thomas Linzey, www.celdf.org or his paper to the Schumacher Society, 2004.

[2] Joseph H. Guth, ‘Law For The Ecological Age’ (2008) 9  Vermont Journal Of Environmental Law 431.

[3] Cormac Cullinan, Wild Law: A Manifesto For Earth Justice, Chelsea Green, 2011, 44-46.

[4] Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts: Reflecting On Earth As Sacred Community, University of California Press, 2006, 110.

[5] Berry often described himself as a “Geologian” as he studied the Earth rather than Theology. See Cormac Cullinan, above n 3, 21.

[6] Thomas Berry, The Great Work: Our Way Into The Future, Harmony/Bell Tower, 1999, 7.

[7] Ibid, 161.

[8] Ibid, 182.

[9] Ibid, 4.

[10] Berry, above n 6, 7.

[11] Ibid, 163; 4-5.

[12] Ibid, 5.

[13] Ibid, 137.

[14] Cullinan, above n 3, 11.

[15] Cullinan, above n 3, 103.

[16] Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac, Oxford University Press, 1949, 201.

[17] Arne Naess And George Sessions, Foundation For Deep Ecology, http://www.deepecology.org/.

[18] Christopher Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, And The Environment, Oxford University Press, 3rd Ed. 2010.

[19] Cullinan, above n 3, 103.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Brian Swimme And Thomas Berry, The Universe Story: From The Primordial Flaring Forth To The Ecozoic Era – A Celebration Of The Unfolding Cosmos, HarperOne, 1992.

[22] Ibid.

[23] Berry, above n 6, 125

[24] Ibid.

[25] Christopher Stone, above n 18.

[26] Roderick Frazier Nash, The Rights Of Nature: A History Of Environmental Ethics, University Of Wisconsin Press, 1989.

[27] Klaus Bosselmann, Governing The Global Commons: The Ecocentric Approach To International Environmental Law, In Droit De L´Environment Et Développement Durable, Limoge, 1994.

[28] Peter Burdon, The Great Jurisprudence, in P Burdon (Ed), Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy Of Earth Jurisprudence, Wakefield Press, 2011.

[29] Nicole Graham, ‘Lawscape: Property, Environment And Law’ (2011) 23(1) Journal Of Environmental Law 160; Cullinan, above n 3.

[30] Berry, above n 6, 580.

[31] Thomas Berry, ‘Rights Of The Earth: We Need A New Legal Framework Which Recognises The Rights Of All Living Beings’ (2002) (214) Resurgence  <Http://Www.Resurgence.Org/> Footnote 24.

[32] Berry, above n 6, 80.

[33] Peter Burdon, Wild Law And The Project Of Earth Democracy, in M Maloney And P Burdon (Eds), Wild Law In Practice, Law, Justice And Ecology, Routledge Press, 2014.

[34] Cullinan, above n 3.

[35] Law Of The Rights Of Mother Earth, Bolivia 2010   Http://Www.Worldfuturefund.Org/Projects/Indicators/Motherearthbolivia.Html

[36] For example, see the Oregon Community Rights Network – http://orcrn.org/

[37] Discussions at the Recent AELA Symposium (25-26 October 2018) by Chief Justice Preston and others.

[38] Nicholas Bryner, Colombian Court Recognises Rights Of The Amazon River Ecosystem, https://www.iucn.org/News/World-Commission-Environmental-Law/201804/Colombian-Supreme-Court-Recognizes-Rights-Amazon-River-Ecosystem

[39] Colombian River Gains Legal Rights  https://www.Internationalrivers.org/Blogs/433/Colombian-River-Gains-Legal-Rights

[40] For more information about the Global Alliance, please visit their website – http://Therightsofnature.org/  and for more details about the work of individual members of the Alliance, see Michelle Maloney And Patricia Siemen, ‘Responding To The Great Work: The Role Of Earth Jurisprudence And Wild Law In The 21st Century’, Environmental And Earth Laws Journal,  2014, Volume 5, Issue 1.

[41] Universal Declaration Of The Rights Of Mother Earth (2010), Https://Pwccc.Wordpress.Com/Programa/

[42] See the Statement of Principles here: https://rightsofnature.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Statement-on-the-Rights-of-the-Pacific-Ocean.pdf.  See the media release here: https://rightsofnature.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Rights-of-the-Pacific-Ocean-Press-release-Dec-29-2018.pdf

[43] See https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/environskimberley/pages/303/attachments/original/1512653115/fitzroy-river-declaration.pdf?1512653115

[44] See https://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-05-11/murray-darling-aboriginal-nations-sign-treaty/8518228

[45] See http://nban.org.au/treaty/   For the relevant paragraph of the Treaty, see: http://nban.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/page-4.pdf

[46] Katie O’Bryan, “New law finally gives voice to the Yarra River’s traditional owners”, The Conversation, 25 September 2017.

[47] Jacqueline Lynch, “Calls to give legal rights to nature flow to WA’s South West”, ABC Online, 23 March 2018.

[48] Personal discussion, 24 March 2018.

[49] See https://rightsofnature.org.au/rightsofthereef/