What if Nature had Rights?


Rights of Nature Panel Discussion

What if Nature had Rights?

  • Cameron LaFollette: Independent Researcher & Author
  • Craig Kauffman: Associate Professor of Poli Sci & Env Studies
  • Chris Maser: Ecologist, Author, International Lecturer & Consultant

Our current laws are simply incapable of stopping the wide-scale environmental destruction that the world is experiencing.

Rather than treating nature as property, rights of nature acknowledges that nature in all its life forms has the right to exist, evolve, and flourish.

And we, the people, have the legal authority and responsibility to enforce these rights.

Join us for a discussion on how such rights are being acknowledged and turned into law worldwide.  We will discuss how we can learn from what’s happening elsewhere to make Rights of Nature a reality here.

Cornbread Cafe, Eugene’s premier vegan restaurant, has generously donated their delicious cornbread with a side of Earth Balance spread, to be served as a refreshment for our panel guests.

Cameron LaFollette: Independent Researcher and Author

Rights of Nature arises from the deepest need to honor and value Nature. Western culture has always had some understanding of this, but it has been marginalized. How would it work in the future to actually implement a Rights of Nature paradigm that places Nature’s right to flourish first? Historically, we know some possible answers to these questions. Cameron will look at the history of Rights of Nature philosophy and governance and discuss what we can learn for designing a means of living inside Nature’s web of relationships.

Craig Kauffman: Associate Professor of Political Science & Environmental Studies

When rights of nature are legally recognized, the question of who may speak for nature becomes important. This question has been answered in different ways by countries that have recognized rights of nature, with important implications for how nature’s rights might be protected. Craig’s talk compares the different approaches to structuring guardianship for nature created by various rights of nature laws and reflects on some of the implications and lessons learned.

Chris Maser, Ecologist: Author, International Lecturer & Consultant

The Rights of Nature, as is everything else in the Universe, is governed by inviolable, biophysical feedback loops variously termed “Biophysical Principles” or “Nature’s Laws of Reciprocity.” Chris will focus on the Nature’s Laws of Reciprocity, which determine the outcome of everything we humans do throughout the world for all generations for all time, as a consequential legacy of our thoughts, decisions, and actions—be it the systemic wisdom of social-environmental sustainability or the irreversible, symptomatic folly of economic competition based on the social violence of overexploitation and its pounding heart of greed.