Wild Law        Glen WrightANU Sustainability and Human EcologyPecha Kucha EveningSustaining People, Sustaining Place23 Se...
Thank YouANU Sustainability and Human EcologyPecha Kucha EveningSustaining People, Sustaining Place23 September 2012      ...
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
Wild Law (pecha kucha)
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Wild Law (pecha kucha)

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A pecha kucha style presentation on Wild Law.

You have to look at the notes for each slide. Even with these, it is difficult to replicate the pecha kucha experience on slideshare.

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  • Before I start, I have to apologise. Tonight, I am going to talk about law. Nobody, not even lawyers, like to talk about law!And in any case, why is law relevant to human ecology? Well, law is the social institution that governs out interaction with each other, the world and our environment.
  • When people first saw this image in 1972, it revolutionised the way we thought about our little home in the universe. Today, where Google Earth makes it possible to zoom from space to your back garden, we take this for granted.We now at least realise what a fragile existence we have on this spinning ball of water, land and air.
  • So we have environmental laws, to balance our decisions and ensurethat the environment that sustains us healthy and protected. Or at least that is the what we think environmental law does.
  • In practice, despite endless reams of environmental laws in the statute books, we have, since the industrial revolution, presided over massive degradation of the Earth’s ecosystems.Environmental law is not there to protect the environment, it is there to manage human exploitation of the environment.
  • This is because law reflects our worldview, and we humans are fundamentally anthropocentric. We believe that the world revolves around us, and that everything on the planet is a resource at our disposal.We see the Earth as a collection of objects, rather than as a communion of subjects.
  • Humans are just one of the subjects of nature. We are part of nature, and rely on natural systems for our very survival. Yet we do not regulate ourselves in relation to nature, we regulate the exploitation of nature, for our short-term benefit.
  • Land law, to take just one example, strips nature of its complexities and packages it into neat little parcels to be bought, sold and ‘developed’. Sometimes we leave a nature reserve or two, until a valuable resource is found or until land becomes scarce and expensive, and inevitably that small haven too is sold on.But just as law reflects our world view, it can also be an engine of social change.
  • Christopher Stone suggested nearly 40 years ago that trees and other natural subjects could easily be represented in the courts, while Thomas Berry argued for a new consciousness that would reconnect us with nature.More recently lawyers have begun to consider a new paradigm for legal systems, what Cormac Cullinan calls ‘Wild Law’.A key tenet of this new paradigm is to assign rights to nature, or, more accurately, recongnise the rights of nature.
  • When a layer hears the idea of recognising the rights of nature, the reaction is usually laughter, humour. The concept is dismissed out of hand and as nonsense. This is because our worldview and method of legal thinking won’t let us see beyond our existing narrow frame.
  • Rights for nature are dismissed as ridiculous, and yet, corporations are people. Only they are more like superhumans – able to live forever, leverage their enormous wealth to influence politics, and not take responsibility for their actions.To many, the idea that a corporation is a person but that an animal or tree has no right to exist seems strange.
  • Let us not forget that cultures still exist today where the idea of nature rights is not stupid, it is intuitive and an integral part of the way their societies function. We are lucky that these people survive today, with their customs, knowledge, and abiding connection to the natural world in tact. Indeed, we can learn a lot from these people, who are not responsible for the vast environmental challenges we face today.
  • Of course, ‘rights’ is simply a practical shorthand. Nobody suggests that this river can vote. But could it not have a right to life? To exist? To carry out its part in its ecosystem? Where does these rights come from?
  • Simply put, science, ecology. All of the Earth’s subjects have a certain function in their ecosystem. Their rights come not from a human decision, but from the fact that they are as integral to the functioning of the ecosystem as we are.
  • At Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 2008, 30,000 people from 130 countries came together for the WorldPeople’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth and adopted the Universal Declaration of Mother Earth’s Rights.
  • The declaration states: We, the peoples and nations of Earth, considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings…Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.
  • Ecuador, in addition to having quite possible the best coat of arms of any nation, also has a constitution that recognises the rights of nature, stating:Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.
  • Bolivia, with the world’s first indigenous president, also passed a law recognising the rights of nature, and the rights of every natural subject to live and exist, rights to clean air and water, and the right not to be genetically modified or affected by large infrastructure projects.
  • Wild Law is possible. It can reconceptualiserights, and recognisethat our narrow anthropocentric conception of rights fails to acknowledge the delicate and intricate dance of nature, which is essential to the existence of the systems that sustain us.We must stop valuing nature as if it were a commodity, but instead treat it with the respect it deserves as an equal holder of rights, as part of our ecosystem.
  • We must move to an ecologically sustainable method of regulation, Wild Law. We must localise, regenerate communities and the community mindset, and, importantly, reconnect with nature.
  • Wild Law (pecha kucha)

    1. 1. Wild Law Glen WrightANU Sustainability and Human EcologyPecha Kucha EveningSustaining People, Sustaining Place23 September 2012 www.GlenWright.net
    2. 2. Thank YouANU Sustainability and Human EcologyPecha Kucha EveningSustaining People, Sustaining Place23 September 2012 www.GlenWright.net

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