For Immediate Release
Tish O’Dell
Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Philippine Bernard
Marie Toussaint Team
Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament
Tel. Brussels: +32 2 28 47201
Mobile: FR: +33 6 70 80 26 06
Office – Brussels: ASP 08 G 261

Virginie Bonneau,
+41 78 825 02 7

Following international support for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, CELDF is honored to work in solidarity with a new French-speaking network to advance Rights of Nature in Europe.

OHIO, UNITED STATES: The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund applauds the formation of a French-speaking network to advance Rights of Nature in Europe. The network includes the following groups:

  • Loire Parliament, an initiative of the organization POLAU that is working to recognize the rights of the Loire river and its ecosystems. They are thinking collectively about how to represent the river and ecosystem within a democratic institution.
  • The local organization Valentransition that is also working on a similar project on the Escaut river, which is afflicted with a massive industrial pollution crisis in the North of France.
  • The organization A.R.B.R.E.S., which carries a Declaration of the Rights of the Trees.
  • The organization id-eau that is working on a campaign for recognition of the rights of the Rhône river.
  • Notre Affaire à Tous, a climate justice organization formed in 2015 and anchored in the fight for the preservation of nature.
  • Lobby de Poissy in France, which is part of the Kids of Planet’s Rights collective, who have drafted a European Declaration of Planet’s rights, submitted to the European Commission.
  • Nature Rights, an NGO advocating for the protection of nature and the rights of indigenous people.
  • Wild Legal an interactive legal program where students, experts and citizens collaborate for the Rights of Nature.

“We are now working to grow the network with other similar organizations and communities active in the defense of the ecosystems in which they live,” says Marie Toussaint, European Parliament member.

“The initiatives for the defense of the rights of Nature are multiplying in France and it appeared important to us to put together our forces, our creativity and our hopes,” says Marine Calmet, president of Wild Legal.

In January 2020 Notre Affaire à Tous and Toussaint, were among over 1,000 individuals and organizations who signed a public statement of support for the Lake Erie Bill of Rights. Messages came from across the globe, including from Canada, Mexico, Chile, Romania, Australia, Sweden, Italy, France and England.

Building off this solidarity, CELDF Organizer Tish O’Dell, who worked on the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, participated in a symposium calling for the recognition of the Rights of Nature within Europe. International solidarity and lessons-learned sharing is key for the linking of the many local fights we face in the global Rights of Nature movement. We are honored to participate.

“It is exciting to read about several French-speaking communities joining together to form a network to advance Rights of Nature in Europe,” says O’Dell. “Sometimes when working towards paradigm-shifting cultural change that seems so obvious and yet so challenging, it is difficult to feel like any progress is being made. But this is progress!

“Here in the United States CELDF staff have been working with local communities for over two decades and have supported local communities working to protect the environment using Rights of Nature strategies. We soon realized that many of these communities shared many of the same challenges and so our next task was to help communities connect with one another to build a greater coalition of power, and so “Community Rights” networks were formed. The news that three French-speaking communities are joining together to form such a network is truly exciting.”

Even though the process for how laws are passed varies between communities and countries, the cultural shift that will push for legal change will come from the local level and push upward.

“Water connects us all. Grassroots organizing can feel small at times, but we build on one another. These collective efforts across the globe build momentum toward a shift in our understanding that water is life,” says CELDF’s Markie Miller, a key local organizer for LEBOR.

Announcement of the French-speaking network (French):

Statement in support of Lake Erie Bill of Rights: 


About CELDF — Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) is helping build a decolonial 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 levels.

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