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May 2018


From the Executive Director

Lobbying for the rights of nature in the Balkans region

Happy official start of summer to you and yours!

A coalition of organizations, including Earth Law Center, have launched a campaign to permanently protect sensitive Balkans ecosystems from threats such as widespread pesticide use and a flurry of dam construction.

From speaking to new potential local partners in India and Pakistan, to kicking off our program to expand the Mock Trial Workshops and Earth Law Clubs – our connecting and catalyzing activities continue as we grow our networks.

“Giving legal rights to nature, including rivers, challenges the flawed notion that nature is mere property for human exploitation,” said Grant Wilson, Directing Attorney at Earth Law Center. “We are creating a new ‘operating system’ for our environmental laws based on equal rights for all life on Earth.”

A big welcome to new colleague Devon Kearney, who brings 18 years of development expertise with legal non profits to join our drive for growth and impact. (p.3) Also a hearty welcome to ELC’s summer interns from law school, graduate and undergraduate levels who started this month and are already busy with specific initiative teams. Thank you for making all this possible!


Earth Thrive Photo credit: Andrej Nihil at

The Balkans region is home to Europe’s last truly free-flowing rivers. In Serbia alone, some 800 dams are planned which have the potential to devastate entire ecosystems. Advocates in Serbia will utilize the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Rivers, drafted by civil society leaders worldwide, as a basis for framing national law that recognizes the rights of wild Balkans rivers and the legal right to flow. Read more here.

"I feel privileged to be working with ELC on this very pioneering issue of nature rights in my native Balkans as they are one of the leading organizations in the world on the subject. ELC's expertise, knowledge, professionalism and friendly approach make them a joy and very exciting to cooperate with. I very much look forward to introducing and hopefully establishing rights of nature in our beautiful but very endangered Balkans with the ELC's help and guidance" -Zoe Lujic, Founder & CEO

May 2018



Protecting Southern Resident Orcas in the wider Salish Sea

The Earth Law is currently under construction, and ELC is leading this change. I have the privilege to be part of it, of this change of social values, of this new social contract where nature is subject to rights, just like human beings.

Photo by Michelle Bender

From the human aspect, I never felt more valued as a professional; I feel privileged to work with people so young, professionally powerful and generous with their knowledge. Earth Law Center changed my perspective of being an attorney; it is not anymore just a profession but a mission to make this world a more ethical place.�

Subscribe today for more news and updates from Earth Law Center!

Earth Law Center together with partners Nonhuman Rights Project have launched an initiative to support local communities and indigenous groups in the Puget Sound and the wider Salish Sea. Photo from Wikimedia Commons

“Earth Law Center is by far my professional experience that I am most proud of because it has given me another perspective of what the law could be and how social organizations can influence the world.

With the end goal to gain legal rights for the entire Salish Sea, Earth Law Center (ELC) aims to secure legal rights for the Southern Resident Orca and expand ecosystem protection through coastal ordinances and marine protected areas.. By Matthew Allen, Creative Commons

Constanza Prieto Figelist Ocean Rights Lead

This initiative is one of the first applications of nonhuman rights for marine species, particularly those in the wild, and legal personhood for an ecosystem in the United States. Sign the petition here or read more here.

May 2018



Braiding Sweetgrass

Welcome to our new (and first) Development Director!

As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In a rich braid of reflections, Kimmerer Wall circles toward a central argument: that the awakening of a wider ecological consciousness requires the acknowledgment and celebration of our reciprocal relationship with the rest of the living world. Click here to read.

Please join me in welcoming Devon Kearney to the team. Devon is a development professional who has spent his career in the service of organizations that defend fundamental rights and advance solutions to pressing social problems. From post-September 11 threats to civil liberties at the Center for Constitutional Rights to efforts to overcome the legacy of mass human rights abuses at the International Center for Transitional Justice, he has followed a passion for building strong, creative institutions that use legal and political know-how to create a more just world.

EDUCATION UPDATE Grant Wilson, Directing Attorney, is speaking to community residents of Crestone, CO and the San Luis Valley about Earth Law and rights of nature on May 18. Co-hosted by Kairina Danforth, the Mayor of Crestone and Myra Jackson; the event builds on the love for the natural environment that Crestone-Baca and San Louis Valley residents share. | 646 833 8521 | 249 East 118th Street, Suite 3B, NY NY 10035

Wikimedia commons

ELC speaks at Crestone, CO

Elc newsletter may 2018 with links  
Elc newsletter may 2018 with links