Planning for the future
We are witnessing tremendous gains for the Rights of Nature movement and an expansion of awareness surrounding the injustices perpetrated by highly centralized state government systems. At CELDF we actively fight some of the most powerful corporate interests in the nation, in Ohio, Oregon and Pennsylvania.
We are helping to advance the most comprehensive state constitutional change in the nation to recognize the rights of ecosystems and communities, through legislative efforts in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, we have continued organizing and legal action in Oregon, Pennsylvania, Ohio and New Hampshire. Clara Township, PA is campaigning to consider a Home Rule charter to protect precious water sources from fossil fuel developments. Residents in Reading, PA have pursued a campaign to amend the city charter to address environmental racism and outlaw “toxic trespass.” The Washington Community Rights Network has been relaunched. The recently-launched Virginia Community Rights Network has finalized text for an ordinance in anticipation of gold mining in Buckingham County. The group Community Roots is collecting signatures to place the Asheville Climate Bill of Rights ordinance on the 2022 ballot. In Florida, outreach and education has included a 2021 Rights of Nature billboard campaign. And CELDF’s Democracy School program has made a quick pivot to an online format.
Our work has taken us (virtually) across the world and into living rooms across the United States.
This year CELDF officially endorsed a proposal for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Wetlands, to be shared with the Declaration with the 171 signatory countries of the Convention on Wetlands (Ramsar Convention). We work in solidarity with a new French-speaking network to advance Rights of Nature in Europe. The network includes Marie Toussaint, elected Member of the European Parliament, Loire Parliament, Valentransition, A.R.B.R.E.S., id-eau, Notre Affaire à Tous and others. We participated in World Unity Week. CELDF’s Ben Price presented a paper at the Transnational Institute of Social Ecology 2021 Conference. We’ve participated in international screenings of the documentary film “Invisible Hand.”
We’ve been hosted by Montclair State University, presented at the University of Toronto Mississauga and University of Toledo, participated in the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, and hosted interns from Elisabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University and Lewis & Clark Law School.
We’ve been featured on the nationally syndicated Climate One Podcast, the Stuff You Should Know Podcast, Raging Chicken Podcast, Legal Talk Network: Lawyer 2 Lawyer Podcast and on local radio stations across the country.
CELDF’s Ben Price wrote the foreword to the new De Gruyter book Enabling Municipal Sustainability: A Guide for Towns, Cities, and Citizens. CELDF’s Kai Huschke authored a chapter for the new Latah Books publication One-Block Revolution: 20 Years of Community Building. Simon Davis-Cohen authored a chapter in The New Press’s The World We Need: Highlights, Stories and Lessons From America’s Unsung Environmental Movement titled “CELDF’s Effort to Decolonize the Law.” An exciting new book titled The Politics of Rights of Nature: Strategies for Building a More Sustainable Future has been published; this MIT analysis identifies CELDF as a top contributor to the international movement.
Our work was featured in “The People vs. Agent Orange” a PBS Independent Lens film.
Along with participating in a multitude of local events and discussions, we hosted a Beyond Earth Day series, and participated in events with Earth Law Center, Fix Democracy First, Carolina Public Humanities, MN350, Western States Waterkeeper Alliance and others.
We anticipate 2022 with excitement. Keep an eye out for the opportunity to participate in a national symposium focusing on systems change, and the upcoming CELDF book Death By Democracy, detailing Rights of Nature and municipalist activism in Ohio over the past decade.