Updated July 24, 2019


Tish O’Dell, Ohio Community Organizer

A pending state ban on Rights of Nature. Anonymous legislators. A lawsuit to enforce the lake’s rights. A new county petition…

COLUMBUS, OH:  The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) made history when 61 percent of Toledo, Ohio, voters approved the groundbreaking law to establish legally enforceable rights for the 11th largest lake on Earth. Gaining national and international acclaim, it has helped accelerate a Rights of Nature movement that has seen other significant developments in Bangladesh, El SalvadorMexicoNew Hampshire White Earth Band (Minnesota), Yurok tribe (California), and elsewhere in 2019.

However, LEBOR faces significant obstacles and backlash in Ohio. A corporate lawsuit has been filed to overturn the law, which the State of Ohio is supporting, and the law faces a legislative attack by anonymous Ohio legislator(s).

But residents are not backing down. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has been assisting these communities on the ground and in the courtroom.

In the past week: 


Lake Erie news:

“By attempting to ban Rights of Nature enforcement, the state has delegitimized itself,” says CELDF’s Ohio organizer, Tish O’Dell. “The people of Toledo have exposed the truth. No one is protecting the Lake.”

“We are celebrating July 4th this week,” O’Dell continued. “This time 243 years ago, ordinary people making up communities across the colonies took action because they lived under a government that represented its own interests and the interests of its corporate allies, ignoring the needs and wants of the people. And so it is today. As those fireworks explode, I hope people think of the people in Toledo, Ohio who are challenging this system. They worked tirelessly and without pay to assert the ideals and beliefs of local self-governance. The people of Toledo, and nearly 200 other communities across the country, have had enough and are challenging this system.”

About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is building a movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international level.

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