Across the world, human societies are being disconnected from their ecosystems and cultures at an alarming rate. Customary laws, indigenous rights, and Earth-centred values and practices are being undermined by an economic development model that is driving privatisation and land grabs, a spiralling of extraction of ‘natural resources’, overconsumption and individualism.

Alongside allies from around the planet, our response has been to nurture a growing network of lawyers, human rights and environmental activists, agro-ecology practitioners, community leaders and change-makers in Africa and globally. Together, we have been exploring and evolving both the idea and the practical application of Earth Jurisprudence and the Rights of Nature – recognising that the wellbeing of the natural world is primary, and human wellbeing is derivative.

That is why we are excited to join our friends and fellow members of GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature) for the upcoming International Rights of Nature Symposium in Quito, Ecuador. There we will celebrate the 10thAnniversary of the Rights of Nature in Ecuador, and look to the work that lies ahead. See the official press release below, to find out more.

Gaia is a founding member of GARN. This year, we are delighted that Method Gundidza, a recent graduate from Gaia’s trainings for African Earth Jurisprudence practitioners, will speak at the Symposium.

Method will share the stage with Nnimmo Bassey from Nigeria, on a panel about global initiatives to advance the Rights of Nature. You can watch this talk, and the whole two-day event via the livestream.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. 24 September 2018


QUITO, Ecuador – From September 27 to September 28, 2018, the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (GARN), along with its global partners, will hold the International Rights of Nature Symposium to commemorate the 10thAnniversary of the Rights of Nature in Ecuador, at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar.

Ecuador was the first country to recognize the Rights of Nature in its Constitution through the ratification of a referendum by the people in September 2008. Since then, at least seven countries have recognized the inherent rights of and legal standing for nature in their legal systems, including dozens of U.S. communities. This Symposium will commemorate the 10thAnniversary of the Ecuadorian ratification, analyze the history and current status of the Rights of Nature movement globally, and determine the next steps for greater recognition of Nature’s inherent rights. As Fiona Wilton of the Gaia Foundation explains, “Earth-centred values and practices, including customary laws and indigenous rights, are being undermined at an alarming rate. This International Symposium in Quito brings together global voices to celebrate the movement that nurtures the rights of all components of Nature – the right be, to right habitat, and the right to fulfil their role in the ever-renewing processes of our Mother Earth.”

In order to ensure an environmentally sustainable future, humans must reorient themselves from an exploitative and ultimately self-destructive relationship with nature, to one that honors the deep interrelation of all life and contributes to the health and integrity of the natural environment by recognizing its intrinsic rights. “Climate change is the Earth’s way of letting us know we are out of balance with the system or laws of the Earth,” says Shannon Biggs, GARN Executive Committee member and Director of US-based Movement Rights. “Rights of nature is about transforming human law and culture to be in alignment with natural laws.”

During this two-day event, attendees will hear from professors, legal experts, indigenous leaders, activists, economists, government officials, artists, authors, and ecologists from 20 different countries and 9 indigenous nations on 12 different panels and roundtables focusing on topics including the Judicial Comparative Analysis of Rights of Nature in Ecuador and in the World, the Perspective of Indigenous Peoples and Civil Society Organizations, Examples of the Application of the Rights of Nature in the World, and many others.

According to Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) and GARN Executive Committee member, “To truly address climate disruption and socio-ecological degradation globally, we must stop the financialization and commodification of our sacred living Earth. For this, Rights of Nature offers us a solid path forward and is a vital solution to the great struggles of our time. The Symposium in Ecuador, the first country in the world to adopt Rights of Nature into their constitution, is a landmark event in the movement to change how we are living with each other and Mother Earth.”

For more information about this historic event, please visit

The Global Alliance for Rights of Nature (GARN) is a network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect, and enforce “Rights of Nature” and to making the idea of Rights of Nature an idea whose time has come.

For more about the GARN, please visit

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