The Rights of Nature Needs Us. Act Now.

Without Nature, quite frankly, we wouldn’t last very long. Without us, however, Nature would flourish.

Congratulations to the tiny country of Ecuador, the only country in the world that has formally adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitution. Although there are other nations that honor the Rights of Nature…usually when it’s convenient…Ecuador stands alone as the only country that has stood by their decision

So, what exactly do we mean by the Rights of Nature? I think most people probably have a good idea, but there is some confusion too. Personally I think of the Rights of Nature as respect for creatures and the natural world. We should not behave as if nature is there for our exclusive use and disposal. We should never destroy the natural world for economic advancement or personal egocentric wants.

But a good example of the Rights of Nature is the most recent decision made by the Ecuadorian court, as reported by GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature).

“In an unprecedented case, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador used the constitutional provision on the “Rights of Nature” to safeguard Los Cedros protected forest from mining concessions. The Court voted 7 in favor and 2 abstentions. With the ruling, the Constitutional Court has created groundbreaking jurisprudence in which the Rights of Nature – the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, and environmental consultation – must be respected. The court decided that activities that threaten the Rights of Nature should not be carried out within the Los Cedros Protected Forest ecosystem, which includes mining and all types of extractive activities. Water and environmental permits to mining companies must also be denied.”

GARN is an organization that I’ve written about before. Anyone can join GARN. Their website is garn.org.

There are actually seven countries that legally recognize the rights of nature, and surprisingly the United States is one of them (although that can be pretty hard to believe, I do think we are doing better.) For example, CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) is an organization that is extremely helpful in helping communities press lawsuits against invading corporate pillagers and other organizations wanting to do environmental damage that local communities object to.

Bristol Bay must be preserved. Mining and drilling do not belong here.

The NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council) is an organization that takes offensive companies and their pending plans to court to stop projects that are destructive to the environment. A recent example is their stopping the hideous plan to do intensive mining in the pristine Bristol Bay in Alaska. Bristol Bay is one of the most pristine, natural wildlife/seal life areas in the world. Of course, the Canadian company wanting the property is filing yet more suits.

Oil spills have destroyed millions of fish, animals and habitat

The very latest endeavor NRDC has undertaken is to stop the dangerous 1,000,000 acres of offshore drilling oil and gas lease sales in Alaska by the Biden administration. Oil spills in Alaska have killed millions of fish, whales and other creatures and destroyed entire ecosystems needed for survival. I’m not sure how leasing a million acres of Alaska coastal waters for oil drilling supports this administrations preaching about “climate change.”

We have one earth…our home. We have treated animals and the environment as though they are under our dominion and rule. We have too often shamefully and wantonly waged war on nature’s resources without a thought of the devastation often caused. Nature has every right to exist on this planet equal to the rights of people…Without nature, quite frankly, we wouldn’t last very long. Without us, however, Nature would flourish.

Want a free copy of this book? The first five people to contact me will receive a free copy. (U.S. address only)

Rampageous Abuse of Animals

Ask yourself: would you prefer to be boiled alive or be dead first before being tossed in the pot.

The Rights of Nature must be acknowledged – It’s not that complicated

Just when I started believing that animals were no longer being used for medical and military experiments, I was shocked to find that 75 pharmaceutical companies are currently using animals to test various Covid 19 medications/vaccines. SEVENTY-FIVE, and that’s the ones we know about. This form of animal abuse needs to be stopped once and for all. Most of the vaccines and medications they test on animals intended for use on people usually don’t even work on animals.

No living creature should be forced to participate in scientific experimentation.  This is not Nazi Germany…yet. (Medical experimentation on unknowing victims has, unfortunately, happened in this country which may well account for the reluctance to trust the government and medical professions.) And no person should be forced to be vaccinated against their will, or be threatened for refusing.

Science has very strong evidence that all “creatures” are sentient beings, yet continues experimentation. We are very closely related to other mammals. Humans and mice share nearly 90% of human DNA. Think that’s a lot? Humans and chimpanzees share 98.8% of DNA, and humans and Gorillas share 98.4% of their DNA.  That’s CLOSE! We even share DNA with fruit flies who, by the way, also are partially sentient.

Now it is strongly believed that these sentient qualities even extend to crabs, lobsters, shrimp, prawns, octopuse, and squids.

Indeed, boiling live crustaceans is illegal in some countries, primarily Switzerland and New Zealand at this time. Ask yourself: would you prefer to be boiled alive or be dead first before being tossed in the pot.

Ironically, the Rights of Nature laws exist in about 17 countries. Ecuador adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitution. In the U.S., dozens of cities and counties have some form of Rights of Nature in their laws, codes, etc. protecting the environment and animals. CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) is an organization that helps communities defend themselves against harmful organizations. NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council) is another organization trying to protect valuable habitat and animals. It’s still not enough.

Wild Law – A Manifesto for Earth Justice, by Cormac Cullinan, explores “earth and nature” issues, including the abuse and destruction of both. Basically his argument is that far too many people (which includes corporations and governments) connect poorly, if at all, with the rest of life on earth.

Let’s stop treating animals and nature like they are simply there for our use and disposal.

Time for an About-Face for Shirking

The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:

I declare I do think some people have minds like traps…something gets in it and it doesn’t go away. Once again I’ve been caught.

Here’s some facts I’ve been called on:

In September I declared I would row 500 miles before the end of the year. Didn’t quite get there – actually I was a long way from 500 miles. Try 189. Well, the spirit was willing but the flesh was weak! Besides, the north ramp at Lake Pleasant was closed and that is the BEST, most scenic area for rowing, kayaking, and swimming.

And I’ve been asked where JOT has disappeared to and what’s going on with it…It’s been so long since I’ve talked about JOT (Just One Thing) that I’m embarrassed to say I’ve done little to nothing in recent months. I think the pandemic wore me out. I was too busy reading Fox News and the New York Times email articles to pay attention to much else.

For those with short memories, JOT (Just One Thing) is a grassroots alliance encouraging people to forego one single-use plastic item to help with plastic pollution and wastage. There are a number of people who have signed up to participate in the JOT movement, however, but I’ve failed to do much communication since I failed to keep their email addresses. Again…likely a pandemic fault. However, JOT is alive and well and will be energized again…Care to join? Send me your name and I’ll add you to our list. No fees or dues or donations ever. Just a commitment on your part to yourself.

The main interest I’ve (we’ve) maintained throughout all the covid stress and election drama has been a continual attention to the health of the ocean, nature, and especially whales. There are some bright spots here:

A new pod of Blue Whales has been discovered in the Indian Ocean. In addition, Blue Whales are once again being detected in the Georgia Island area (north of Antarctica) after 50-years of absence. These whales were hunted almost to the very brink of extinction by money-driven cretins. (Please don’t tell the Japanese or the Norwegians since they have a penchant for slaughtering whales.)

And, there have been numerous sightings of the northwest’s Southern Resident pod of orcas this fall and winter…likely this is because there are far fewer boaters plowing through the waters disturbing them.

So…I’m seriously back to work even though I don’t plan to publish anything this year. Despite having become a bit of a hermit, I aim to live with gratitude and enthusiasm. No more shirking, procrastinating, and negativity. I’m tired of that.

 Besides promoting JOT and trying to sell books, I’ll  be blogging about the NRDC and their successes in sustaining the environment (like helping defeat the Pebble  mine in Bristol Bay), along with the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and their efforts to revive wild salmon stocks (yes, more bridges are now being torn down), as well as other marine and nature organizations issues (like closing Marine World and getting those poor whales out of swimming pools!). I’ll be heading to Washington State in February for a month of resuscitation. I know I’ll come back fired up – and probably be yearning to move north…again. 

Check out Saving Our Oceans or any of our other scintillating titles!

ENOUGH DOOM AND GLOOM

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.” Chief Seattle

I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had it with the doom and gloom that Covid has gifted us, and I’m more than ready to move on despite the escalation of the pandemic.

I think we all need a dose of good news! Here it is…

GOOD NEWS #1

For those who are environmentally aware – or involved – or interested, hang on to your hats. The Army Corps of Engineers has at long last denied the application for a permit to operate the Pebble Mine, located in the pristine Bristol Bay of Alaska.

Exquisite Bristol Bay Saved

Earlier in 2020 the Corps denied the project as it was then planned and required a new mitigation plan. Most opponents to the dam worried that the Corps might buckle to the big money group wanting to create an open pit copper-magnesium mine. Most locals were gravely concerned about the impact of such a disastrous enterprise on the salmon run in the area, the world’s largest run. But salmon weren’t all that was at stake – other fisheries and numerous wildlife and the health of people in the area were also at extreme risk. The Corps finally agreed that “the mine would cause significant degradation and significant adverse effects to the waters and fisheries of Bristol Bay.” The icing on the cake for this decision may have come with the release of “The Pebble Tapes,” secretly recorded in a meeting and released to the Corps.

Over the years, literally thousands of people have petitioned and donated money to organizations fighting this catastrophic proposal. Ultimately it became clear that the Corps did not have confidence in the Pebble Mine plan to mitigate the damage that would be done to nearly 200 miles of streams, 4500 acres of impacted waters and wetlands. 

I think an important take-away of this decision is the fact that for once money  did not prevail and influence the final decision. Anymore this is breathtakingly rare.

GOOD NEWS #2

Dam Removal showing success already!

Another win for the environment is the removal of the dam on the Pilchuck River. The dam was removed in August, and already an increased number of salmon have been seen in the river. According to Matt Puley, a project coordinator, they’ve even seen chinook salmon navigating the river. 

Earlier in 2020 a dam was removed from the Nooksak River, and the Nelson Dam is scheduled to be removed in 2021. Other dams are being considered for removal too.

Elwha River Dam Removal. Photo by Seattle Times

Washington State is certainly not new to dam removal.The Elwha and Glines Canyon dams were built in the early 1900s. Of course, the dams blocked salmon from migrating upstream to spawn and disrupted the flow of sediment. It also flooded homes and cultural sites. However, in 1992 Congress passed the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act, authorizing the removal of the Elwha Dam and then the Glines Canyon Dam.  The removal of the Elwha started in 2011 and was followed by the Glines Dam in 2014. Once again, the Elwha is a free-flowing river!

GOOD NEWS #3

And, not to be overlooked, according to the Capital Press, “Plans to remove four hydroelectric dams along the lower Klamath River in Southern Oregon and Northern California are back on track, with possible demolition happening in 2023. The removal of these dams will open about 400 miles of stream habitat for coho and steelhead, both threatened species. AND, if successful, “…it would be the largest dam removal and river restoration project in U.S. History.

The agreement was negotiated and signed by the states of California and Oregon, PacifiCorp, KRRC and the Yirok and Karuk tribes. According to Governor Kate Brown, “We are taking an incredibly important step forward toward restorative justice for people of the Klamath River. The agreement is about far more than the removal of four dams. It is a stop toward righting historic injustices.

More importantly, Joseph James of the Yurok Trive said the project “is about healing and restoration for the river, for the salmon, and for our people…we want to emphasize that the Yurok Tribe will never rest until the dams are out and the river is healed.”

GOOD NEWS #4

The Southern Resident Pod has two new babies that have joined their dwindling numbers. Perhaps there is yet hope for this REMARKABLE species to survive.

Why is all of this so important?

In the words of Chief Seattle:

“What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit, for whatever happens to the beasts also happens to man. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the children of the earth.”

Time to Decide: Money or Nature?

If developed, the Pebble Mine would produce 10 billion tons of mining waste that would threaten communities and ecosystems, and it would increase the climate crisis by emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

Recently (September 11)  an article appeared in the Google list of weird articles that definitely was an attention-getter for those concerned about the Rights of Nature, the environment, and species extinction.

The article was entitled, “U.S. must not let China stop Pebble Mine that has rare earths we need.”

The Pebble Mine has been under siege by the NRDC (Natural Resource Defense Council), Alaskan native groups, and environmental groups in general, and now China. The proposed mine site is in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.

This long drawn-out legal battle basically is an attempt by NRDC, environmentalists, and native groups to stop the development of a mine that will completely devastate the Bristol Bay wilderness, renowned for salmon runs and wildlife as well as Native communities. It’s estimated that the planned toxic gold and copper mega-mine will produce billions of tons of mining waste and will have a devastating impact on the people, water, fisheries, and wildlife.

Photo by orvis.com

Despite pressure from President Trump’s administration, the pressure from the public and the NRDC proved to be too much for the Army Corps of Engineers, and they rejected the mining plan  because it posed “unavoidable adverse impacts” to the water and marine life of Bristol Bay, one of the nation’s last, truly wild places. (Despite the author claiming that Bristol Bay is a desolate location, plenty of photos say otherwise.)

Photo by glampinghub.com

However, the developers have 90 days to make changes…and they will. If developed, the Pebble Mine would produce 10 billion tons of mining waste that would threaten communities and ecosystems, and it would increase the climate crisis by emitting millions of tons of greenhouse gases.

So where does China come in? The Chinese are working in their own insidious, under-handed way to ensure that the Pebble Mine project does not move forward. Why? Currently, China has a virtual monopoly on rare earth minerals, and it has been discovered that the Pebble Mine could produce minerals that are essential for the production of “many military and high tech items.”

The author of the Google article subtly implies his disdain for environmentalists who appear to be on the same team as those communist Chinese. He fails to recognize that the big losers in this ongoing mining drama are the American people, and fish, animals, and nature. Who wins: corporations greedy for the money they will make from the minerals that are essential for the production of many military and high tech items. Do we really need even more weapons of mass destruction and high tech items? Perhaps we would really benefit from more NATURE!

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A word about the NRDC. If you are environmentally inclined please consider membership in the NRDC. It is not expensive, and this organization takes on environmental destruction in the courtroom. They are very successful in stopping an inordinate amount of assaults on our environment, from the “Dirty Water Rule” to the effort to allow industrial take-over and pollution of our national parks and nature preserves by drilling, fracking, mining, and hunting.

Check out NRDC.org and learn more about their incredible efforts and victories in fighting against the industrial poisoning of people, animals, and nature.