Wild Law

Declaration from Wild Law: Australia’s First Conference on Earth Jurisprudence

We the participants of Wild Law, declare that the perceived separation between nature and human beings is a fundamental cause of the current environmental crisis. Our law reflects this in treating nature as property and by restricting rights to human subjects. We assert that law needs to transition from an exclusive focus on human beings and recognise that we exist as part of a broader earth community.

We recognise that the universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be used. Each component member of the universe is thus capable of having rights.

We commit to evolving law so that it protects the natural world from destruction and cultivating Wild Laws that are consistent with the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence.

On 16-18 October 2009, 60 people including scientists, students, lawyers, government workers, activists, educators and other concerned individuals from all over Australia and the world gathered in Woodhouse, Piccadilly, South Australia for ‘Wild Law’, Australia’s first conference on Earth Jurisprudence.

Sincere thank you to Friends of the Earth Adelaide, Search Foundation, Conservation Council SA, University of Adelaide, Research Unit for the Study of Society Law & Religion, UK Environmental Law Association and Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, University of South Australia.

Elizabeth Rivers has written a paper on the conference, to view please click here.

Further Reading and Information

For background reading please refer to the following:

Thomas Berry, The Great Work (1999)

Thomas Berry, Evening Thoughts (2006)

Cormac Cullinan, Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice (2002)

Cormac Cullinan, If Nature Had Rights What Would We Need To Give Up? (2008)

Aldo Leopold, A Sand Country Almanac (1966)

Roderick Nash, The Rights of Nature (1986)

Christopher D Stone, Should Trees Have Standing? And Other Essays on Law, Morals and the Environment (1996)

Vandana Shiva, Earth Democracy: Justice Sustainability and Peace (2005)

Internet Resources

The Center for Earth Jurisprudence has material available from their website. In particular, see web streaming from their 2008 Earth Jurisprudence Symposium.

The Gaia Foundation have podcasts on their webpage.  For an introduction on Earth Jurisprudence from Cormac Cullinan, please click here. For an introduction from Ian Mason, please click here. For a two part analysis of the relationship between Earth Jurisprudence and Natural Law please click hereand here. For information of Earth Jurisprudence is expressed in African customary law by Ng’ang’a Thiong’o, please click here.

The UK Environmental Law Association (UKELA) and the Gaia Foundation have published an international research report on: “Is there any evidence of earth jurisprudence in existing law and practice?”. This can be downloaded from the UKELA website. See also papers from the UKELA Wild Law conference, here.

The Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) has additional resources. See in particular a speech given by CELDF director Thomas Linzey on the recognition of legal rights for nature in Pennsylvania.

Social Networking

To connect and share information with other like minded individuals, please join the Earth Jurisprudence social networking sight, Wild Frontiers.