As the days get shorter and the cooler temperatures begin to set in, providing great relief for so many, including us humans, we at CELDF feel the time is right to pick up where we left off at the end of June with our Nature Leads Series. In June, we celebrated and reviewed the very positive constitutional court decision in Ecuador, ruling in favor of the Los Cedros Cloud Forest over a mining project. If you missed it, the webinar recording and supporting documents can be found here.
Picking up where we left off, we want to begin this next chapter of the Nature Leads Series by unveiling our beautiful new Rights of Nature artwork and logo designed by two talented artists and organizers from the St. Lawrence River / Kaniatarowanenneh Watershed, Haudenosaunee Territory, in what is known as New York State.
When several of CELDF staff signed up for a Rights of Nature event they had organized in March of 2022, it seemed the universe had brought us together.
Blake Lavia and Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo together make up Talking Wings. Blake is a filmmaker, illustrator and author and Tzintzun is an environmental artist-scholar and story weaver, striving to plant the seeds of a regenerative future. This amazingly creative team was able to take CELDF’s verbal description of our Rights of Nature work and transform it into creative illustrations and logos to convey our message visually. Art has always played an important role in movements for systemic change.
Even though we are taught to believe that our laws and courts have the final say, we at CELDF have learned over the 20-plus years of working on advancing Rights of Nature laws that in the end, Nature will prevail. And so this illustration represents this belief that Nature is above human courts and systems of law.
The “scales of justice” on the courtroom face are shown in balance, contrasting with the very unbalanced place in which it is currently stuck. The courtroom is depicted as gray, colorless and lifeless, but the colorful birds flying out of the courtroom doors and the vivid colors of nature atop the courthouse depict how life-giving change can happen if we continue to challenge and fight for Nature’s rights, which in the end are also our rights—as we are part of Nature.
We at CELDF are honored and inspired by Blake and Tzintzun’s talent and work advancing Rights of Nature in their own community along the St. Lawrence River. And since the St. Lawrence is the gateway to the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes, they are also following closely the Great Lakes Bill of Rights legislation introduced in the New York General Assembly this year.
It is our hope that their amazing artwork inspires you to continue to protect your community and the amazing ecosystems that you are interconnected with, and to remind you that CELDF is here to assist and support you moving forward. The Nature Leads Series will continue with more interesting and thought provoking documents, conversations and webinars over the next several months…. stay tuned.
May you also be moved by this inspirational poem by Tzintzun—-
The Ecosystem Without and Within By Tzintzun Aguilar-Izzo, Talking Wings
We have forgotten,
the angles of words and stone
trapping our stories
within walls of faulty dreams.
Universes of living,
replaced with lists
of numbers and things.
We organize our possessions,
behind illusions of marble
to ward off
the inevitable revelation,
the haunting totality,
the frightening reality:
That the “We” of our laws and statues,
our communal fantasy,
is nothing but a humanoid blasphemy.
From the temple of our superiority complex,
grows a world,
a world living inside and around us,
a world that envelops all of us,
crashing our dams,
our cities, our walls,
a tree breaking through the cracks
to breathe back in our relations.
It is time
To let the walls become rivers,
water flowing like roots,
writing a new current,
Us and our words our straight lines,
are only one piece,
shard of a larger,
ever evolving, existing, regenerating, adapting
(our collective conversation