Aaron Perry


  • Home
  • |
  • All Episodes
  • |
  • Episode 41 – Addison Luck on the Global “Rights of Nature” Movement
Y On Earth - Podcast Cover
Stewardship & Sustainability Series
Episode 41 - Addison Luck on the Global "Rights of Nature" Movement

Addison Luck grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia, and is an Environmental Studies and History student at Yale University, Earth Law Associate at the Earth Law Center (earthlawcenter.org), and the Law and Policy Intern at Boulder Rights of Nature (BRON – boulderrightsofnature.org), discusses the globally active “rights of nature” movement. This special episode is filmed at the shore of Boulder Creek, who’s “voice” you’ll hear in the recording. We discuss the legal history, precedent, and contemporary needs and opportunities informing a more comprehensive and intelligent inclusion in legal proceedings of our Earth’s ecosystems and billions of non-human species co-habitating with us in our biosphere (and, without question, forming the fabric of the life-support systems of the biosphere upon which we all depend).

Addison references the opinion of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, as well as the work of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the United Nation’s Harmony with Nature (harmonywithnatureun.org) and the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (celdf.org/rights/rights-of-nature). In New Zealand, the Whanganui River, sacred to the indigenous Maori people, and critical to that region’s ecological stability, has been recognized with legal rights (which, incidentally, most corporations also enjoy since the late 1800s), helping to ensure a saner, more sensible stewardship and sustainability forecast for that ecological region.


(Automatically generated transcript for search engine optimization and reference purposes – grammatical and spelling errors may exist.)

Welcome to the YonEarth Communities stewardship and sustainability podcast series.

Today I’m so happy we have the opportunity to visit with Addison Luck, A. Addison.

Welcome to the show.

Thanks for having me.

So we’re here right by Boulder Creek, you can probably hear it and see it in the background.

And there’s a reason we’re here, we’ll get to that in just a few moments.

Before we dive in, I want to share with you a little bit about Addison.

He grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia and is a rising senior at Yale University majoring

in environmental studies and history.

He is currently an Earth Law Associate for the Earth Law Center and the Law and Policy

Intern for Boulder Rights of Nature, both of which are environmental nonprofits that have

the goal of legally recognizing the intrinsic rights of nature.

The Earth Law Center has a variety of projects and campaigns centered around the rights of

nature, while the Boulder Rights of Nature group is more focused on specific campaigns

within Boulder City and County.

They’re graduating Addison hopes to attend the law school with a strong environmental

law program to continue exploring the rights of nature and other legal tools to protect

the environment.

So it’s so great the work you’re doing Addison and I’m so excited to have this conversation

today and to be able to share it with our audience.

I guess by way of kicking off, I want to ask you what the heck are rights of nature?

What is this?

Why do we need it?

Why do we need to be thinking about this?

I guess it may sound a bit funny at first, but I guess the rights of nature generally

is a new environmental law movement where nature, so that can mean specific ecosystems

or specific environmental features such as the river are given legal standing in court

and are able to represent themselves as represented by maybe a guardian against an incoming environmental

doom or damage.

So this movement started and well putting aside a lot of indigenous communities that

have believed and followed the rights of nature for thousands of years, this modern movement

has been introduced to Western law basically in the 70s and since then there’s been a variety

of countries and probably like more than 20 communities in the U.S. that have recognized

the intrinsic rights of nature through a municipal ordinance charter, federal constitution

through like a variety of legal forms.

This is so interesting and so you know basically of course here in the United States we take

a log of our legal foundation from the British system of law and we don’t have in this system

a mechanism really to recognize or incorporate the well-being of nature if you will.

It’s a loose use of those terms perhaps but and we’ve got some laws on the books that

attempt to take care of nature but it sounds like in some ways or perhaps even in many

ways the laws we have such as the Endangered Species Act and others, the Clean Water Act

perhaps aren’t merely robust enough to deal with what’s happening in these times.

Is that is that an accurate thing to suggest?

Yeah that’s what I feel and I guess before I talk about that I should just mention that

I’m really not an alloyer or I don’t have that much experience I’m hoping to go to law

school eventually but so I just I apologize if I offend anybody or I get some facts wrong

but basically I think it’s obvious it’s pretty evident to everyone in this world no matter

if you have law experience or not that we’re kind of in facing a huge environmental crisis

right now that has based it’s not been the result of our environmental laws that have

basically not been solved by environmental laws and I find it pretty interesting that at

least in the U.S. and a lot of other Western modern countries we didn’t really have very

strong environmental laws before the 1960s and 70s and so during that time there was

obviously a huge environmental outcry also crazy environmental damages that were happening

and it’s like specifically in the U.S. like the Kayahoga River climate fire, the sand

of our royal spill, like DDT and Rachel Carson and there’s creations of the first earth

day so there’s kind of like a public outcry that we need environmental laws and it’s kind

of funny history actually because I think at the start of the 70s there was a push by

a few people to sort of incorporate the rights of nature into American law but rather than

do that we did or the government basically enacted all of our existing environmental laws

that we still have today like Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, Nanyah Species Act, Federal

Safe Water Drinking Act, all of those sorts of laws and although they were really groundbreaking

at the time I think that it’s just obvious that they have not really solved the environmental

crisis that we’re affected with today and basically I think that kind of has happened

because they have limited the amount of pollution, extraction, extinction or damage that can

occur to a specific ecosystem before they really kick in and I guess that compares a little

to the rights of nature because a goal of rights of nature is to find a much better balance

and like outline a lot of really harmful activities that can happen to a river or do an ecosystem

rather than limiting that activity.

It’s so interesting so it seems like a lot of the laws that we enacted over the last

generation or two going back to the 70s approximately have to do with quantitative limits right

like you can pollute but only up to this level into the air or discharge heavy metals but

only up to this level into the river or we’re not going to respond on protection of species

until they’re this close to going extinct which is quite a dangerous threshold to be dealing


So I’m just curious in terms of this being a quantitative approach and of course there’s

been a lot of good that has come from these rules and regulations but it sounds like

in a deeper sense it’s not enough.

Yeah I definitely think so and I guess a kind of funny analogy that maybe is a bit too

extreme but kind of shows a point I think that I was thinking of earlier today was that

if you look at some of these laws which are all really anthropocentric and really like

value nature in terms of human uses or like it’s our property or it’s our resource that

we’re used.

So I was thinking about the Endangered Species Act which obviously was really revolutionary

time very forward thinking in order to protect species that are threatened but I was thinking

if you sort of like apply that same logic to maybe human rights violations then it would

just be like totally absurd and there would be a public out front.

So for example if there was like an ethnic minority in a really powerful country that was

being oppressed by the federal government if you applied the Endangered Species logic

to this situation it might be something like okay if the ethnic minority is basically

like clins to a fourth of the current population then the laws will start kicking in and will

outlaw any sort of activity activity that we’ve been doing and obviously an absurd and

a horrific parallel or observation that’s occurring there right.

Yeah it’s definitely not the same case but I think it shows how we have not necessarily

given nature the value that it deserves in our legal system.

And I guess another way of kind of formulating that is basically right now I think my understanding

is that all of our environment to laws sort of put nature in terms of our use as a resource

or as property and because of that we can really only litigate on behalf of nature or

like represent nature in court if we are economically affected by some sort of environment

to law and I just think that’s like inherently a wrong way to go about protecting nature

because let’s say I who don’t live here in Boulder wanted to protect this river because

I saw some sort of my crazy environment at the home that was happening I really wouldn’t

be able to if I didn’t have a house along the river or an economic interest on the river

and the goal of rights of nature is to allow anyone basically the opportunity to protect

an environmental feature based on some sort of income.

This is such an interesting approach I can sense that it is stretching perhaps for a lot

of our audience the ways we’re even conceiving our human relationship to this living planet

and I’m struck that you know when our founders framed the legal structures that created our

country the United States then Franklin in particular looked to indigenous wisdom to the

wisdom of the Iroquois League of Federation of Tribes in the Great Lakes of state New York area

to in view some mechanisms for wisdom and balance in our three system government IE in this case

the requirement of Congress to consent before going to war the Iroquois had a mechanism that is

the grandmothers council the grandmothers had to say yes before going to war and of course

grandmothers are not probably going to say yes to unnecessary or irresponsible wars but if

there’s a real threat to the family to the tribe they’re probably going to want to have that

defended and I’m just I’m so struck that indigenous traditions all around the world have had

deep rooted mechanisms to voice to speak on behalf of river and eagle ocean mountain forest tree

deer lion whatever it might be and also have had mechanisms to voice to speak on behalf of the future

the future generations some of us are familiar with this notion of seven generations in this country

right now legally speaking we don’t really have that mechanism yeah I think we definitely lost that

value too and the legal tool to use it and that’s I think the overall goal of right of the

rights of nature movement is really to have a a shift in the way people view the world in the

values that we have when we’re addressing all sorts of issues and I think legally or by an

active rights of nature and law it’s a really unique way to sort of influence people to start

shifting that way and just in terms of a lot of indigenous cultures that have believed in

this a really neat example of a way indigenous culture is believed in this as sort of combined

with modern legal tools as a New Zealand and so the New Zealand now are people the indigenous

people there have since I guess they’ve lived New Zealand since like 1300 but traditionally

it’s known that they have had a really sort of like intrinsic belief that nature has its own

rights and certain environmental features are really that’s it’s like a basis of their

their societies and so within the past like nine years there have been three or four

environmental features in New Zealand that the government is actually recognized in

accordance with the Maori beliefs as a as a living person so a really a famous

example is the Wanganui River which is the first river in the world to be granted legal

personhood and they’ve also done this to Tain Uruwara which was a former national

part in Mount Tarnaki which is really beautiful volcanic dome and by recognizing the rights

of nature the New Zealand government has sort of acknowledged the traditional Maori

beliefs towards nature and sort of fostered a better relationship with the environment

and they’ve also in doing this they’ve also appointed Maori and Crown officials to act

as a guardian on behalf of the river and the former national park in the mountain and

those guardians are basically tasked with sort of monitoring the ecosystem and

representing it in court and representing it in decisions that the government is making

and so I think it’s a really neat way to empower Indigenous communities through modern

governments and I guess we’ve also seen that actually sorry if you could go.

Yeah this is pretty good.

We’ve also seen that in the US there’s been like three or four Indigenous

communities and Indigenous tribes that have recognized the rights of nature

in their tribal constitution or in a tribal law so just I think about like a

week ago the year of tribe in northern California recognized the rights of the

climate river which those through their tribe and the wider fan of the OG way

of people in Minnesota I think Minnesota had recognized the rights of the

Newman which is a wild rice that grows in there which they like such a stop

up and the host nation of Wisconsin I believe has also recognized the rights

of nature in their tribal constitution so there’s lots of examples in the US

also where this has sort of been fostered by Indigenous groups.

That’s so wonderful and I would add to the list that even within certain

corporations who have very strong dare I say enlightened leadership are

enacting within their own governing bylaws mechanisms to care for the

planet and to care for people in the communities in which they’re operating.

The B Corp movement, B certification is one of the mechanisms more and

more companies are utilizing incorporating literally into their legal

corpus and of course this includes pretty good size companies like Patagonia

that does about a billion dollars of sales per year and it’s so beautiful to see

that in communities in corporations there’s leadership emerging that is saying

yeah we’re going to do what we can within our domain within our area of

influence to change the way we’re making decisions basically.

So what’s the what’s the problem like what’s the pushback what’s the what’s

the rub are you getting are you getting are you getting resistance to this idea?

Yeah definitely I guess it’s kind of funny though I think because every

conversation that I’ve had with well almost all conversations I’ve had with

you don’t have much legal experience about rights of nature they are like

the people who are taught to are really sort of motivated and are really

like pleased by the idea and they think wow that I got the natural idea to give

nature legal rights and standing is like why don’t we have that already but within

the legal world I think especially people who really know a lot and have like

devoted their lives to protecting the environment or to like studying law,

teaching law I think that’s what the most distance happens because they know or

they understand the actual challenges that that occur when you do legally

recognize a new entity as having rights and having standing and I think all those

challenges are really like really important to acknowledge but I don’t think that

the challenges are necessarily strong enough to sort of stop the process of

granting of granting nature legal thing I just think there’s something that

we’ll have to sort of deal with as we do this and sort of like solid as we do this.

And I guess some of the bigger challenges that some like law professors and

people in the legal world have sort of pointed out to me and others like

the writing is the idea of who will represent nature and like how will we

know if that person is adequately representing nature and so in a lot of

places like in New Zealand the nature or environmental feature is given

a guardians represent nature and that’s appointed by the court and this is

kind of similar to how courts deal with people with like an incapacitating

illness or with a child who can’t represent itself in court.

People who are not capable of speaking on their own behalf.

Yeah, yeah. The court won’t grant them a guarding to speak on their behalf.


And so basically a big challenge is determining who is adequate enough to

speak for the environment basically.

And really I think this is an answer that like every community and every

area itself will have to answer and it may be appointing like a local wild

by expert, a local biologist, a callologist to represent nature

adequately and you’ve got to you have to assure that they’re not going to be

influenced by third parties and it can’t be like a very strong economic

interest in anything. It really has to represent nature on its own without

any other influencing opinions.


And I think that’s the biggest.

There are definitely other challenges with frankly nature-liquid standing,

but so far that’s the one that I’ve found is like the most important.

I guess.

That’s really really interesting and are you suggesting also in some

communities that the voice is coming not just from a single individual,

but is coming from a group of individuals representing something like a river.

Yeah, it could be a guardianship system where there’s like six or seven people

appointed from different backgrounds with different interests who probably

will not always agree on the best action.

But it just sort of influences or just shows how the conversation can really

affect giving nature a voice and public opinion.


So this whole notion of voice I find to be really important and rich

with meaning and really with history and Addison, you and I were just talking

before the camera was rolling about our mutual interest in history.

And I’ve done quite a bit of study as some of our audience knows in the realm of

German history and philosophy.

And I’m struck that Emmanuel Kant, the great enlightenment philosopher,

was asked, what is this thing called enlightenment?

What is this thing that’s happening?

And his response was, it is our own liberation from our own self-imposed

unmundish kite was the German term, our own self-imposed voicelessness.

And it turns out our legal traditions coming from Europe have actually

a whole lot to do with who has a voice in a court of law and who doesn’t.

And the truth is, just a couple hundred years ago or even more recently than that,

there are all kinds of people who did not have legal voice.

Women, many indigenous peoples, peoples of color, peoples enslaved are

examples not too long ago that literally did not have a voice in a court of law.

I think we could say we’ve made some pretty good progress in the last century or two

along these lines.

That said, we also have living with us on this great spaceship we call Earth.

All sorts of other creatures and critters upon whom we depend for very existence.

And I’ll dare say our legal system is utterly limited in the sense that

we don’t yet have a good mechanism for voices to be heard,

thinking about and representing these other living entities and thinking about and

representing future generations.

And these two seem to really go hand in hand from my perspective having studied a bit of the history

that’s gotten us kind of to where we are today.

I think one thing that might surprise a lot of people and really surprised me when I learned it was

that in the 1890s the Supreme Court basically granted legal personhood to corporations.


And in this case, it was a railway company.

And that was like 70 years before women were granted the right to have legal standing in court.

And I think that just sort of highlights how much corporate influence the United States

and other countries has basically had and sort of limited nature’s rights.

And one also interesting thing about sort of like the judicial perspective towards the rights of nature is

so there’s been a couple of court cases, some of which have fallen under the Endangered Species Act

where the Supreme Court and I think maybe like a district court has both ruled that nature itself

or so basically Article III of our Constitution gives basically like grain standing to a couple different groups

people and like separate requirements for what you need to have standing.

And the Supreme Court, I’m pretty sure it was the Supreme Court but I could be getting my tax on it.


And a couple of court cases that Article III of the Constitution does not necessarily prohibit nature having its own standing.


But it does not, but it does not like grant nature legal standing also.


So it’s not really saying one way or the other.


And so basically the Supreme Court has said this is not like an impossible notion but they have basically called upon Congress

to have some sort of like congressional act that decide this.


Because being in a judicial branch they don’t really want to like create law.

No, that makes sense.

But I want to underscore something for our audience because I know some of you out there

because I talked about this issue with you before.

I know some of you are familiar with this but I suspect some of you may not be as familiar.

Here’s the deal.

We as individual people, human beings in this country have legal rights as living entities.

So do corporations codified in the 1890s.

So if we’re getting hung up on well, we shouldn’t extend legal rights to anything other than human beings.

We’ve already done that.

We did that well over a hundred years ago.

And with universities and municipalities and ships.


And sometimes objects and entities.

So since that’s happening and clearly I dare anybody to argue that there are no negative outcomes

to the situation we face where corporations have the rights of legal entities like Darryl.

This is a dare.

So that said perhaps one of the ways we need to be creatively, proactively,

carefully thinking about how to help rebalance our situation is by extending these rights

and this voice fullness to living entity-founded nature.

Yeah, I completely agree.

And if we don’t like the idea at all, if we think that only humans should have legal rights.

Well, let’s think about what about seven generations from now?


And let’s think about perhaps the rights that have been extended to the corporations need to be reigned in.

That would be a whole nother take on the same set of ethical issues that we’re discussing.

Yeah, and really I think, I mean honestly I don’t know what will happen in the future obviously we can’t predict the future.

But I think that the rights of nature and like granting legal rights to nature, legal standing to nature could be the defining rights issue of our time.

So like in the 60s and 70s and maybe a civil rights that was a defining issue.

But I think this period could see the rights of nature being the defining issue.

And maybe in like 70 years people will be really like shocked that nature didn’t have standing.

They’ll be like, what? They’re crazy?


That’s really interesting. I like that perspective.

It reminds me of the letter that Alex Stefan wrote that he imagines being written a hundred years from now back to us in this time when many of us basically rose to the call to be heroes and to help heal our relationship with the living world.

Our relationship with each other in our communities.

And it’s a beautiful and inspiring letter I encourage you all to check it out.

You know, I’m struck so many of us are mobilizing around the world to help take care of our living ecosystems to help heal in communities.

And this kind of work that’s being done is so important at a sin.

And I’m curious. You’re obviously a young man and in the midst of your formal education and what brought you into this?

What was it that took you in this direction when you could have gone so many other directions?

Yeah. So I was actually, this was, I guess about a year ago and I was studying abroad through my university in New Zealand with my girlfriend and two of my friends.

Like one of my best friends from high school and another friend.

And we were all at the university there.

And I guess when classes ended, I think we took a road trip up to the North Island of New Zealand, which is where the Wunganui River is.

And previously, in one of our classes, we sort of, we learned about how the New Zealand government oriented legal person into the Wunganui River.

And to be honest, when I first learned about it, I thought it was pretty cool, but I wasn’t like, I wasn’t like shocked by everything.

But then we spent five days basically canoeing and kayaking down the river in a campaign on like the hills that sort of went into the river.

And I think during that time, I guess I sort of thought about it more, maybe talking about it with my friends more.

And that was when it kind of struck me how cool this idea was of granting legal standing to nature and how sort of obvious it was also and how it like really should exist.

And so after that trip, basically, I started researching more when I was back at a university in the South Island.

And then when I got back to Yale, I started to get more involved.

So I started working or interning for the Earth Law Center, which is kind of like an international group that’s working on a month of rights of nature campaigns around the world.

And they’re working or we’re working on a textbook right now to get to law schools in the next spring.

And it’s like an Earth Law textbook.

And I’m helping out a little bit with that.

And then at Yale, I hosted like a rights of nature panel.

And we had a few lawyers, like a lawyer from Ecuador and Hugo Estevedía, who has represented sharks in the Galapagos using rights of nature.

Because Ecuador was actually the first country in the world to recognize the rights of nature in their constitutional.

And that was in 2008, so it was kind of like groundbreaking.

So I guess I’ve gotten a little bit involved with rights of nature at Yale.

And later this summer, I’m actually going to Ecuador on behalf of the great insight my environmental studies major at Yale gave me to research rights of nature in Ecuador for my senior thesis project.

Oh, wonderful.

And so that should be really interesting.


So I hope to sort of like learn more about the rights of nature and learn, especially more, learn more about the legal challenges and precedence that have to be beaten basically.


And it’s such an important set of structural issues that we’re dealing with.

You know, I want to, I want to make sure that we share something with the audience that is really important to understand.

Yes, we have the Clean Water Act.

Yes, we have the Clean Air Act.

Yes, we have the Endangered Species Act.

And guess what has occurred in the few decades since then?

We have been conducting an all-out chemical poison warfare on the lands from coast to coast of this beautiful nation in the name of agriculture specifically among many other arenas.

Specifically in terms of agriculture, we have been dumping millions and millions of pounds and gallons of toxic chemicals on the landscape every year for decades and decades.

And it has created a dead zone of so many square miles at the mouth of the Mississippi River where it flows into the Gulf of Mexico.

I think the area of the dead zone is now larger than at least one of the states in the Union.

This is the reality. One of the things legally we have not done well in this country is incorporate the precautionary principle into our framework, one that says, hey, if we don’t really know what the negative consequences are going to be,

we need to be careful and not create a situation where we realize those negative consequences inadvertently.

In Europe, much of the law there has moved in the direction of the precautionary principle.

So before certain pharmaceutical drugs, before certain agricultural chemicals, before certain consumer goods chemicals can be introduced into the marketplace, much more testing and assurance has to be established that these are indeed safe and benign for us and the rest of the living creatures we share our environments with.

In this country, what we’ve done instead is tilted the scales way in the direction of favoring returns, financial returns to existing capital, shareholder stockholders, etc.

That has to come back into balance and we have to one way or another stop poisoning ourselves and our environments.

And I applaud you at a young age with so many options in front of you to be choosing to do this kind of work.

I imagine there are probably other things you could be doing that would allow you to make a lot more money and you’re choosing something that is a greater benefit to much more people in the world to the future and to this living planet.

And I applaud you, you’re a hero, you’re a hero for the future and it’s important to recognize that.

Thanks, I appreciate that. And I think I guess that’s an important thing about rights of nature is that in terms of talking about, or what everything you’re just mentioning, is that I think rights of nature can really help find that balance between humans and our destruction of the environment and our use of the environment.

And I think it’s really important to highlight that, that human rights coincide almost exactly with environmental rights, I think.

Because we subsist, like everyone knows that we subsist off of the environment, without the environment we would not exist.

And so I think by combining like a human right to a healthy environment with the rights of the environment itself, you really can create like an ideal space to have a conversation where you can really like formulate what’s best for the community and the environment.

And I guess also this is a bit of a different track, but I think it’s important to note that the rights of nature has like legal, it has like a strong history to it as well.

And so there are like really, there are people who are like really respected in US politics and around the world that have really supported the rights of nature.

So like in 1971 or two, I think this law professor from US seeing Christopher Stone published should trees have standing.

And that has been the seminal work that has basically sparked the rights of nature movement, which has also taken the form of other names like earth, earth, earth, earth, earth, earth.

But as soon as Christopher Stone published this Supreme Court justice, William O. Douglas, who’s the longest serving Supreme Court justice, he’s not on it more anymore, but who was the longest serving Supreme Justice of all time, he cited Stone’s work and basically called for nature to have legal standing in our courts in

in Sierra Club versus Morton, which is a 1972 place where Walt Disney was trying, or Walt Disney company was trying to build a ski resort in, or is it called Mineral King Valley in California.

And Justice Douglas basically said that Mineral King Valley should have standing on its own right to sue on its behalf.

And so that was sort of like a similar moment, I think the rights of nature, because the Supreme Court justice, who basically argued for the rights of nature, knew it was a dissenting opinion, so it was not, I think actually the ski resort that was posed, it did not end up going through, but it was on different legal means like procedural means or something.

But it’s sort of ignited, that along with Stone’s should trees have standing work sort of ignited the modern day rights and nature movement, which is, they’re like, a lot of countries are on the world like Ecuador, Bolivia, India, New Zealand that have enacted some sort of rights and nature laws, and in the US there are low communities, like Boulder is hoping to be one of them.

Long call and auto has enacted a climate bill of rights, Christopher Pennsylvania enacted a rights and nature law that basically been crafting within the city, Santa Monica has a rights and nature law within like a climate ordinance, sustainability rights ordinance.

So there’s lots of different communities in the US and in other places around the world that sort of like brought up the rights of nature and really believed in it.

And even in like the green party of the UK in like 2015 or so, I forget the year, but they sort of adopted the rights of nature in their campaign push.

So I think it really, it just goes to show that it’s not some sort of totally alt right or alt left like extremist view towards connecting the environment, but there’s something that is really like founded in like strong beliefs.

Yes, that’s beautiful.

I want to make sure to acknowledge our sponsors before we wrap off our discussion Addison.

So let me do this. Let me first of all thank all of the ambassadors out there and the folks who are part of our monthly giving program.

Your donations are going a very long way in making this and other podcast episodes possible as well as our monthly pulse meetups where we are building soil, working in community, planting trees, connecting with boats from all walks of life.

And if you haven’t yet joined our monthly giving program, you can do so by going to the website yhonour.org and you’ll see at the top level navigation button there for support or donate.

You go right to it. Be great to have you on board. Also as a token of gratitude for all the great work y’all are doing, including what you’re learning.

You can use the code mobilize to get free downloads of all of our ebook and audiobook resources. Check that out. That’s also at yhonour.org.

And in addition to the individuals supporting this work, I want to thank the sponsors and partners who are making this possible and who made our recent summit possible massively mobilizing sustainability.

And those include earth coast productions, waylay waters, the Brad and Lindsay Lidge family foundation, equal exchange, Patagonia, Purium, and the International Society of Sustainability Professionals.

And we’ll make sure our friends at ISSP know about this episode. It’s going to be I think of particular importance to them because they, on a member, we are a worldwide body of executives and professionals doing sustainability work in all kinds of different corporations, municipal governments, university governing bodies.

And many of them are chief sustainability officers. And my sense is that this conversation is so important is paramount and germane to the work that they’re doing in those different institutions and organizations.

So we’ll be sure to do a special share with them. And Addison, I just I want to thank you so much for taking time to be with us today.

And I thought it would be really cool if you don’t mind me asking you to read something. This is the statement in support of the rights of the Boulder Creek watershed.

It would be really cool to share with our audience what this has to say.

Yeah, so I guess just a little bit of background about this is that here in Boulder, this group that I’m working for called Boulder Rights of Nature is currently campaigning to grant legal standing and legal rights to the Boulder Creek watershed, which is this, well, this river is part of the watershed.

And recently we’ve been working on a campaign to get organizational support from environmental groups in Boulder and even like some coffee shops and some restaurants in Boulder to basically support our campaign as we are submitting to the City Council in ordinance and a resolution to grant legal standing to the Boulder Creek watershed.

And so this is basically this is not the actual ordinance that we’re submitting, but this is the statement of support that organizations are signing in support of the campaign based fund.

So I’ll just go ahead and read some of it.

Whereas governments around the world are beginning to recognize the inherent rights of nature, including the rights of specific natural systems such as rivers, mountains, and entire watersheds.

Whereas recognizing the rights of nature also benefits humans who rely upon clean air, water, and soil to survive and who benefit from a healthier relationship with nature.

Whereas the county of Boulder and all cities and towns therein have long embraced new approaches to protect and restore native ecosystems.

Now, therefore, the undersigned organizations hereby do declare as follows.

We officially support the campaign to recognize Boulder Creek watershed as a living entity possessing legal rights who pledge to work with all governments located within Boulder County, as well as all organizations and citizens there and to create a new legal framework that recognizes and implements the rights of the Boulder Creek watershed.

Upon recognition of these rights, we also pledge to work to promote the rights and interests of the Boulder Creek watershed through our organizations work.

And we’ve got about, right now we’ve got about like 17 organizations that have been Boulder that have supported this and we’re aiming to get like 30 or 50 before we submit our actual resolution to the city council.

It’s absolutely beautiful and I’m so excited that many in our YonEarth community ambassador framework right around here are doing a lot of stewardship work in this watershed and even right along the creek all the way up to the high country.

And what a beautiful thing we can get involved in right here in this community and our hope is that not only can we support this effort here, but we can help others in communities elsewhere to pursue similar frameworks and efforts in places all around the country and all around the world.

And you know, Addison, I just want to make sure to give you an opportunity to mention anything that I haven’t had a chance to ask you about yet.

And I know you’ve got a very busy schedule with everything you’re doing and appreciate you taking the time.

It’s wonderful to be able to speak with you today, but before we sign off, is there anything else you’d like to share with the audience?

I guess the people are particularly interested in the rights of nature and maybe think that it’s a really cool tool or really cool strategy to protect the environment.

There are a couple of resources out there that are really particularly helpful and sort of pursuing that.

It’s a one of them is the Earth Law Center, the group that I am helping work on a textbook project with.

They’ve got a really neat website that highlights all of their campaigns and you can sign up to volunteer for them.

And they’ve got a really good like resources page.

There’s also a website called the UN Harmony with Nature Network that has sort of highlighted the history of rights of nature as it goes through different communities and as different laws have been enacted.

And there’s another group called the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund that goes by Cell Def Persort, C-E-L-D-F.

And they are really like at the forefront of American rights of nature movements and they have a really good, they’ve got a good website that highlights the work that they do and also shows ways that you can get involved through democracy, training, school and stuff like that.

So I think those three resources are really good to kind of explore more.

And also if you’re in Boulder, the Boulder Rights and Nature Group which also has a really nice website with a lot of resources and like campaigns that are going on is a really good way to sort of get involved in the rights of nature movement.

And that’s BoulderRightsOfNature.org. We’ll put that in the show notes as well.

And I was really impressed by the map that you shared with me and I don’t know if that’s a public resource or not but I love maps and I love seeing where communities are taking these actions all around the world and it’d be great to be able to share that with folks.

And with our ambassadors we’re going to be adding mapping to show where Ambassador groups are active, where we’re doing soil stewardship, where we’re planting trees.

And it’d be really fun to figure out some sort of collaboration or at least be able to share the map that’s showing where communities are enacting rights of nature.

Yeah, so for part of my work this past six months I was working on a map with the Earth Law Center that basically highlighted where rights of nature has been enshrined and law and so it’s on the website of the Earth Law Center under what is Earth Law and it’s also on BoulderRightsOfNature website but it’s definitely like a public tool that is meant to be sort of like a continuing work in progress.

Sure, it’s meant to be always at it.

It’s absolutely beautiful. And if folks want to get a hold of you, Addison, what’s the best way? Are you social media or…

Yeah, but I guess the best way is the email problem.


Hey, look at Earth Law.org.


Hey, look at Earth Law.org.


Well, Addison, thanks so much for visiting with us.

Yeah, thank you for having us.

It’s such an important work.

Yeah, thank you for having me. It’s a great podcast and you have to.

And it’s a great work that you’re doing at YonEarth.

Thanks, Addison.

The YonEarth Community Stewardship and Sustainability podcast series is hosted by Aaron William Perry,

author, thought leader, and executive consultant.

The podcast and video recordings are made possible by the generous support of people like you.

To sign up as a daily, weekly, or monthly supporter, please visit YonEarth.org backslushsupport.

Support packages start at just $1 per month.

The podcast series is also sponsored by several corporate and organization sponsors.

You can get discounts on their products and services using the code YonEarth,

all one word with a Y.

These sponsors are listed on the YonEarth.org backslashsupport.page.

If you found this particular podcast episode especially insightful, informative, or inspiring,

please pass it on and share it with a friend whom you think will also enjoy it.

Thank you for tuning in.

Thank you for your support.

And thank you for being a part of the YonEarth community.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to the
Y on Earth Community Podcast:

Listen On Stitcher