Too much noise. There is simply too much noise for people to think clearly and calmly.
I’m not talking about honking horns, sirens, and social media conflicts. I’m talking about the social upheaval and unrest that’s descended not just in this country, but around the globe. Some is justified. Some not. I’m not going there, however. We’re all living in the midst of this terrible social angst and no one needs yet another voice from the wilderness dishing out unsought opinions. I’ll keep my thoughts about George Floyd and his untimely, unnecessary death to myself. I’ll refrain from railing about the lawless looting, vandalism and destruction of so many people’s dreams. Commentary on the innocent dead left in the wake of the massive and brutal uprising will not be discussed. And most certainly Covid-19 is not going to rear its ugly head here.
Despite the brouhaha raging in cities across America, I find it odd that I’m still mostly just concerned about plastic pollution, the Southern Resident Pod of Orcas, diminishing salmon runs, and the continuous destruction of nature and our earthly habitat.
I’m still plugging for the Rights of Nature. I recently renewed my membership to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), and I’m applauding CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) for providing invaluable assistance to those fighting for the right to live in communities that aren’t damaged by greedy developers and industrial chemical tycoons.
However, I must confess that I’m a bit conflicted (is that a real word?) that I still eat red meat a few times a week. I love cows. I used to own a small herd of Texas Long Horns. I never butchered them except for one who was very mean and surly. Okay, I did eat her. I found wonderful homes for the other beautiful animals when we moved though.
I feel a bit bad that I no longer have any interest in being a political activist. Been there done that back in the Viet Nam days. I feel even worse that I’m not busting my ass getting more businesses and people involved in the JUST ONE THING Alliance. My thinking is that people have too many other things to deal with right now to be concerned about plastic pollution, captive whales held in swimming pools, the Rights of Nature, growing dead zones around the globe, aquifers worldwide drying up, the JUST ONE THING Alliance – and the list goes on.
Perhaps it’s my job to keep these things remembered until the noise stops.
If every single person chose one form of plastic that they were willing to eliminate from their life, the results would be colossal.
Moonlight Mesa Associates, a western book publisher, will host the JUST ONE THING Alliance on the Moonlight Mesa website, according to publisher Becky Coffield.
“It’s no secret – in fact it’s pretty obvious – we are currently engaged more with environmental issues than we are with publishing,” Coffield said. “In fact, we published only one new title this year (C.L. Lee Anderson’s The View from My Old Saddle) and we have no other titles planned for 2020.”
Moonlight Mesa and publisher Becky Coffield support the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and The Whale Museum in Friday Harbor with donations. “Also, the proceeds from the sales of Saving Our Oceans are donated to these organizations,” Coffield said. “But we also contribute to The Nature Conservancy (Arizona branch), CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) and NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council), and we are also a member of GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature)” the publisher added. She’s also now the unofficial chairperson for JUST ONE THING.
Eventually Coffield plans on getting JUST ONE THING its own website, but for now she says, “We do what we can do. It would be great, though, if someone volunteered to host the website – or pay for it. Obviously we need to spend more time marketing books to pay for all the things we want to support and do!”
JUST ONE THING is simple: it asks people to eliminate one plastic product. Just one. “No one expects people to go without plastic products. It would be impossible in today’s world,” Coffield said. “But If every single person chose one form of plastic that they were willing to eliminate from their life, the results would be colossal. Just one. And here’s a good place to start because small things add up!”
JUST ONE THING invites individuals and businesses to join this Alliance. If you’d like to do so, Contact us and you will be added to our growing list of people who want to see plastic use and waste diminish.
As a nation we are rabidly concerned about the Covid-19 scourge, but we fail to notice, or to remember, that people have been a ruthless scourge to nature for centuries. Is Covid-19 nature’s payback, as some claim? Or is it already too late?
GARN stands for “The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. The “Alliance” is a global network of organizations and individuals committed to the universal adoption and implementation of legal systems that recognize, respect and enforce “Rights of Nature”. Rather than treating nature as disposable property under the law, the time has come to recognize that natural communities have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. “Our legal and political establishments perpetuate, protect and legitimize the continued degradation of Earth by design, not by accident.” (Wild Law by Cormac Cullinan)
“The members (of GARN) are a diverse network of scientists, attorneys, economists, indigenous leaders, authors, spiritual leaders, business leaders, politicians, actors, homemakers, students, activists: people from all walks of life in over 100 countries on 6 continents of North and South America, Africa, Europe, Asia and Australia who are looking to transform our human relationship with our planet.” (Yale Forum on Religion and Ecology)
Individuals as well as businesses can join the alliance. There is no fee to become a member. The idea in joining, however, is that you will engage in some manner, to some degree, in promoting and protecting the Rights of Nature. Even monetary donations count.
Nature isn’t just animals and birds – The title of nature also refers to all ecosystems, from rivers, lakes, forests, streams to living things. According to Wikipedia: An ecosystem is a large community of living organisms (plants, animals and microbes) in a particular area. The living and physical components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Ecosystems themselves are of any size, but usually they are in particular places.
Being part of the GARN organization is critical. Without people working to protect ecosystems we would very shortly have none left. Corporations and state and federal government agencies would very likely claim and overwhelm every “nature area” in the country with development and pollutants of all kinds. Unfortunately, thoughtless individuals also contribute to ecological destruction. Scientists have discovered that even the most remote lakes in the world have plastic pollution in them.
A few countries have adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitutions. Obviously the United States is nowhere close to doing this. However, in this country there are groups who are pursuing the Rights of Nature in their areas and going to court against government and corporations and winning – often with the help of CELDF, a Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund that itself does not sue offenders, but helps its clients do so.
If one ponders the implications of our infringement on nature it’s easy to consider the real possibility that diseases of all sorts come from despoiled and invaded ecologies, “wet markets,” air and water pollution, and environmental destruction. Unfortunately, fresh water pollution and shortages are already becoming a disastrous problem. No water – no world.
What can a person do to save the world: Remember that even small things add up. Act on that.
Despite our obsession with the slaughter and captivity of whales and dolphins, there are some growing bright spots on the horizon! Here at Moonlight Mesa Associates we’ve agreed to stop obsessing about captive whales and focus on the bigger picture. Plenty of other people are focusing on whales and dolphins. The four of us aren’t going to be missed. The Rights of Nature movement needs support and obsessing over too.
Essentially, the idea of the Rights of Nature arose in the “western” world around 1972, although indigenous citizens in many countries have pretty much always recognized and respected the rights of nature. However, in 1989 Professor Roderick Nash published the Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics which really began the ball slowly rolling.
The fact is, and it’s a happy fact, the Rights of Nature is being increasingly recognized worldwide. Just this past week, Sweden introduced a Rights of Nature Constitutional Amendment in their parliament.
Parliament member Le Moine succinctly made it clear when he said, “The underlying value in our society is that we are the dominators of this world and Nature is just a resource for us to use. Economic growth has been the real goal, not a healthy environment. I’m tired of this era, where our arrogant worldview has driven us far beyond the planetary boundaries. Now, when we’re in the beginning of an ecological and climate collapse, I hope we can re-think our relationship with Nature. And for me, it starts with admitting that Nature has rights.”
Mari Margil of CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) stated: “We need to quickly make a fundamental shift in our relationship with the natural world. Advancing the Rights of Nature in Sweden’s constitution is an important step forward.”
These exact words could/should have been said in the United States Congress, the British Parliament, and any number of countries. Unfortunately, it will likely be decades before words of this kind are uttered in the U.S. Congress, but there’s always hope!
Sweden will be joining Ecuador, Columbia, Bolivia, India, New Zealand and a host of other countries who have come to their senses and realized that some things (nature) are just more important than amassing untold amounts of money and multiple private estates.
Citizens of the United States are taking action even if the federal government here isn’t. I think I already mentioned about the citizens in Lincoln County, Oregon, who adopted a first-in-nation ban of aerial pesticide spraying. Despite a staggering campaign war chest of $300,000 raised by timber and chemical corporations, Lincoln County fought back with $16,000 and won their measure.
Pennsylvania is introducing a constitutional amendment called the “local Self-Government Amendment” which places the rights of people over the interests of private corporations and empowers communities to heighten state protections for civil, human, and ecosystem rights. This is in an effort to protect themselves from environmental and personal harm. Pittsburgh has already waded into this swamp and defended themselves against sludge, fracking, and a host of harmful corporate projects.
In Florida laws are being proposed in each county through the citizens’ ballot initiative process. In addition to protecting the Rights of Nature, the laws would recognize rights of local residents to a healthy environment and clean water.
Toledo, Ohio, however, passed a ballot initiative that gave Lake Erie and those who rely on the lake’s ecosystem a bill of rights. The intent is to protect and preserve “the ecosystem so that the life that depends on it – humans included – can have access to safe, fresh drinking water.” This certainly seems like a reasonable initiative, yet big business (in this case the Farm Bureau) had a stop put to this. The State of Iowa is supporting the farmers in a lawsuit against the city. Toledoans for Safer Water were told, by a judge no less, that they “cannot defend the voter-passed initiative in a lawsuit brought by a factory farm against the city over the initiative.”
Gig Harbor, Washington, formed a movement, Legal Rights for the Salish Sea, to help protect endangered orcas and the Salish Sea.
Overall, small movements in this country are arising. Many have the backing and assistance of CELDF and are becoming victorious. Check CELDF out on the web, please!
I can also recommend The Rights of Nature, by David R. Boyd. This is an excellent book and clearly explains what this movement entails and is all about.
Basically, we’ve come to the conclusion that we need to do much more than fret about the beloved Southern Resident Pod and the Humpbacks dying around the globe. The planet itself is at stake. And yes, small efforts add up!
What can YOU do to help this movement? Stay tuned. We’re going to get to that.
It appears that the Rights of Nature movement is finally, ever-so-slowly making progress in this country. There are a number of countries such as Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand, India, and some European countries who embrace the concept of the Rights of Nature and have enacted laws establishing those rights. Ecuador went so far as to add the Rights of Nature to their constitution. Not the U.S.
Periodically one can find an article (usually well hidden) about the success of communities enforcing the Rights of Nature, often with the help of the Community Environment Legal Defense Fund (CELDF). Now before signing off, CELDF simply believes that nature should not be polluted, despoiled or ransacked, and that people have the right to clean air, water and a healthy environment. Is this too much to ask? Citizens should have more say about their communities than corporations.
Lincoln County, Oregon, successfully adopted the first-in-nation ban on aerial pesticides, elevating “community rights” over “corporate rights.” The community’s win took place “despite campaign contributions from timber and chemical corporations who spent nearly $300,000 to defeat the measure.” Residents fought back with $16,000. CELDF is preparing for a lawsuit expecting that industry will want to overturn the will of the citizens.
Five counties in Florida have filed to preserve nature and drinking water by granting legal rights to their rivers. Florida is following the lead of the Lake Erie Bill of Rights passed in February 2019.
The Rights of Nature movement is slowly growing in this country even though this idea is well established elsewhere. For example, “Bangladesh became the first country to grant all of its rivers the same legal status as humans.” The Bangladesh Supreme Court ruled that the rule is meant “to protect the world’s largest delta from further degradation from pollution, illegal dredging and human intrusion.”
The Rights of Nature basically asks that we (all nations) treat our environment and its inhabitants (which includes mammals, fish, fowl and any other kind of critters) respectfully and stop raping, pillaging and destroying the environment. A growing number of people are fed up with a “corporate-run American that focuses on profiteering at the expense of the environment and its citizens.
To learn more about the Rights of Nature, I urge you to read The Rights of Nature by David R. Boyd.