2021 was a big year for Rights of Nature – from huge wins worldwide to expanding the movement to new boundaries, we have been busy!
As we wrap up the year, we are excited to share Rights of Nature movement highlights.
2021 in review: Highlights of the year
We hosted the 5th International Rights of Nature Tribunal
At the COP26 in Glasgow, GARN hosted the 5th International Rights of Nature Tribunal.
The Tribunal was an incredible opportunity to bring forward two strong cases for Nature: the False solutions to the climate crisis case, and the Amazon as a threatened living entity case, and was watched by thousands of people both online and in-person at the University of Strathclyde.
GARN’s Hubs continued to grow
We are very proud to say GARN’s Hubs, which coordinate and support the activities of members within a particular issue, area, or region, have grown and expanded in 2021.
The Youth Hub has put forward a Rights of Nature Declaration at the IUCN; the Latin American Hub hosted the first Rights of Nature Symposiums in the continent. GARN Academic, Legal and African Hubs all got started and are welcoming members and organizations to join them; the Indigenous Council held its first series of meetings and put forward a Declaration at COP26. The European Hub hosted the Rights of Nature Tribunal in Defense of Aquatic Ecosystems at the start of the year and has initiated a Rights of Nature French-speaking network.
We are looking forward to seeing all of our Hubs’ work and new ideas for 2022!
Rights of Nature advances worldwide!
2021 was a big year for the Rights of Nature, and we witnessed developments and victories around the world.
- Brazil: Lawyers and researchers from a research group filed a lawsuit in Florianópolis on behalf of local organizations. It seeks the recognition of the lagoon Lagoa da Conceição as a rights-bearing entity.
- Chile: Commission on Environment and Rights of Nature established in Constitutional Convention
- Ecuador: The Constitutional Court used the constitutional provision on the Rights of Nature to safeguard Los Cedros protected forest from mining concessions (more info below!)
- France: Corsican citizens recognized the rights of the Tavignanu River, a first in France.
- Ireland: Donegal County Council became the first council area in the Republic of Ireland to recognize the Rights of Nature.
- México: Constitutional amendment in the State of Oaxaca recognizing Nature as a collective entity subject to rights; Mexican Congress voted to include Rights of Nature in their Magna Carta
- Perú: A coalition of international organizations filed an Amicus Curiae brief requesting the recognition of the inherent rights of the Marañón River
- Uganda: Indigenous Bagungu communities pioneered legislation to protect sacred natural sites and recognize the customary laws of the Bagungu People
- UK: The Green Party of England and Wales introduced a “Rights of Nature Act” to give nature legal rights; Derry City and Strabane and Fermanagh and Omagh Councils in Northern Ireland passed motions to recognize Rights of Nature
- US: White Earth Nation of Ojibwe is suing the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in tribal court on behalf of wild rice; in Colorado, the Town of Crestone became the world’s first International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) community to acknowledge the Rights of Nature, Boulder Creek, Nederland became the first community to pass a Rights of Nature resolution, and the Ridgway town council approved a resolution to recognize the rights of the Uncompahgre River
Finishing the year with a huge Rights of Nature victory!
In a landmark victory, Ecuador’s Constitutional Court ruled in favor of Rights of Nature to safeguard the Los Cedros Protected Forest!
Earth Law Center, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and the Center for Biological Diversity filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in September 2020 before the Ecuadorian Constitutional Court. It asked the court to protect Los Cedros and robustly enforce constitutional provisions that establish basic Rights of Nature, or “Pachamama,” including the rights to existing, to restoration, and the rights of the rivers, especially river Magdalena.
This is a historic victory in favor of Nature, and the best way to close a big year for the movement.
In the wake of this landmark sentence, ethologist and conservationist Jane Goodall speaks in support of Los Cedros.
“This landmark ruling gives people in Ecuador a way of preserving other precious areas of biodiversity, many of which are home to Indigenous peoples, and it sends a message to the government that mining concessions should not be granted in areas of great environmental importance. It’s our disrespect of nature and animals that’s led to the twin threats of climate change and loss of biodiversity. Universal support for the Rights of Nature would go a long way to tackling these threats before it’s too late.”
Our hopes for 2022
In 2022, we are going to keep working on advancing the Rights of Nature globally. From improving and strengthening our Hub work to supporting Chile’s Constitutional Assembly to include the Rights of Nature in their new Constitution, GARN will continue our work to build the Rights of Nature movement around the world.