CELDF is proud to share an eight-part video series highlighting our grassroots work with our partner communities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

Our series was completed in association with the Myrin Institute and with the support of the JustPax Fund. We thank them!

Episode One: The Hill We Choose

(Grant Township, Pennsylvania)

In 2015, Grant voters adopted a new rights-based Home Rule Charter – a local constitution – and reinstating a court-overturned ban on injecting frack waste into the same ground from which they draw drinking water. In 2016, in a first-in-the-world action, the Township passed a law legalizing nonviolent direct action to protect the community from being poisoned if the courts again stripped them of their democratically enacted local law.

In 2017, Grant Township was sued by its own state “environmental protection” agency – the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Why would an environmental agency sue a community for attempting to protect their environment?

Answer: Because the state protects corporate profits before people and ecosystems.

Episode Two: Rights of Nature

(Toledo, Ohio)

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 the Rights of Nature movement that has seen other significant developments in Bangladesh, El Salvador, Mexico, New Hampshire, White Earth Band (Minnesota), Yurok tribe (California), and elsewhere in 2019.

Episode Three: The Grassroots Level

(Plymouth, New Hampshire)

For the better part of a decade, Plymouth residents have been working with CELDF to stop Northern Pass, a high-tower electrical transmission line carrying industrial hydro-power from Canada. Community members recognized the Granite State was being used as an extension cord to deliver power to other states. The cost to communities: risks to their health, water quality, local economies, and surrounding ecosystems. Not only did they come together to stop Northern Pass, but to drive Community Rights and Rights of Nature into higher levels of law.

Episode Four: What Can We Do Differently?

(Barnstead, New Hampshire)

In 2001, residents of Barnstead, New Hampshire, learned that USA Springs wanted to take water from the local aquifer and sell it overseas.Community members insisted their water was not for sale. In 2006, they made history, adopting the first-in-the-nation Community Rights law banning corporate water withdrawals for resale as a violation of democratic and environmental rights. This is their story.

Episode Five: Liberate the Community

(Lincoln County, Oregon)

Meet the avant-garde of Community Rights work in Lincoln County, Oregon, who led the way for the county’s historic vote in 2017: the first-in-the nation countywide Freedom from Aerial Sprayed Pesticides law. Lincoln County community members were the first in the state to secure environmental and democratic rights, secure Rights of Nature to be free from toxic chemicals, and challenge the claimed “rights” of corporations.Here, Community Rights leaders share a round table discussion about their trials and tribulations as they organized to ban aerial pesticide spraying, the need to forge ahead for the sake of the community, and how CELDF has helped them build the skills, confidence, and capacity to help better their community.

Episode Six: We the People

(Youngstown, Ohio)

Be prepared to be inspired: Meet Hattie Wilkins, Susie Beiersdorfer, and Randy Younkin – three Community Rights heroes of Youngstown, Ohio.Since 2013, Hattie, Susie, Randy, and other Youngstown community members have worked with CELDF to protect their water from fossil fuel extraction, waste disposal and disinvestment, and to protect their democratic rights free from corporate influence. Check out their story!

Episode Seven: Exercising Our Rights

(Lane County, Oregon)

Community Rights Lane County and founding members Michelle Holman and Richie Gross are taking a stand to protect their community from corporate aerial spraying. Despite ongoing efforts to block their advancement of Community Rights and Rights of Nature, Michelle, Richie, and other community members are building momentum. They are determined to create a viable future for themselves, their children, and their community.

Episode Eight: Violation of the Sacred

(Lancaster, Pennsylvania)

Mark and Malinda Clatterbuck are long time residents of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They came together with their neighbors in fierce love, courage, and commitment, to oppose the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline that is permitted to pass through their community.Listen to their story and the profound realizations they had as they chose community and nonviolent civil disobedience to protect against harms from a fixed system.