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Newsletter: 2023 So Far!

An update from the team.
Newsletter: 2023 So Far!
Photo by Valentina Sotnikova / Unsplash

With the end of the summer, we thought we would update you on some of what we have been up to so far this year.

Final Report of the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss

Front cover of the Report on Biodiversity Loss

In April, the Irish Citizens’ Assembly on Biodiversity Loss published their report. We were really pleased to see that it included a recommendation for adding both Rights of Nature and the human Right to a Healthy Environment in the Irish constitution. LFN’s Claire Nevin co-authored a submission making the case for this. You can read more here.

Nature on the Board

We’ve been building on last year’s pioneering work of helping Faith in Nature to install ‘Nature on the Board’ and change their company’s objects clause to put being nature-positive at the core of the organisation. Simeon Rose, Creative Director at Faith in Nature, has been sharing musings throughout the year on the process and concept, which you can read here. There is more to come as we work with other organisations and continue to research about Nature-Positive Corporate Governance – watch this space!

Arrested Protecting Trees

After Paul was asked for help by a group in Wellingborough about some ancient lime trees which were being unlawfully destroyed, he went out to join their protest and explain to the police that as the felling was blatantly unlawful, the protesters prohibiting that were committing no crime. The police didn’t take the same view, so, going further than lawyers typically do, Paul climbed a tree to protect it with his body. He was arrested – though no charges have been brought – and the felling was suspended following a negotiation with the leader of the Council. Sadly, the trees are not yet safe and the fight continues.

Coverage by the BBC

Speaking Engagements

Paul and Brontie have given lots of great talks over the past few months. Highlights include Brontie giving a talk on ‘Giving Nature a Voice’ at House of Hackney’s ‘The Garden of Tomorrow Festival’ and Paul’s appearance on The ENDS Report podcast.

Growing the Team

In June, Alex May joined our team as part-time Researcher. Alex has been involved in Rights of Nature work for a few years, including writing for the blog. His work with us includes specific focus on our Nature-Positive Corporate Governance research, as well as general work on Rights of Nature. He is also undertaking a PhD in legal theory at Birkbeck, University of London, about developing Earth Jurisprudence to cover the entirety of society based on a Social Ecology approach.

Rights of Rivers Event

Brontie, Paul and Alex all attended a Rights of River workshop organised by the Roehampton-based Network on the Study of Rights of Nature. This brought together campaigners from various initiatives around the country alongside experts to discuss how we can support each other to grow the campaigns for rivers!

End of event group shot

Environmental Rights Summit

We were pleased to be invited to speak about Rights of Nature at the Environmental Rights Centre for Scotland’s Environmental Rights Summit this week.

Alex at the ERCS Summit

Upcoming Report

We are looking forward to sharing a research report entitled ‘Realising Rights of Nature: Understanding the Variety of Legal Instruments’ in the next couple of weeks. Written by Alex, it gives an overview of the different types of legal instruments available around the world and will hopefully help campaigners considering different forms which Rights of Nature laws can take.

Favourite Nature Memories from Our Directors

To round up this newsletter we have a feature from our Directors: their favourite nature memories from 2023!

River Dart, Devon, England
Photo by Valentina Sotnikova / Unsplash

Brontie Ansell

“Earlier this year, Paul and I attended the Rights of Rivers event at Dartington Hall, Devon. On the second morning we were invited to shake off human belongings and clothes and swim the River Dart to feel the power of the river. I returned to the river to paddle board and spent time with a whole family of kingfishers.”

At the river Dart – Brontie talking to organiser Jeremie Gilbert

Paul Powlesland

“This year for my summer holidays, I went to one of the most remote & beautiful islands in the UK - Gometra in the Inner Hebrides. I decided to bring some trees along for the ride, bringing a dozen willows and rare black poplars from the River Roding to plant on the island. They travelled with me on the overnight train to Glasgow, then on another train, two ferries, a 20 mile cycle and then a 3 hour walk to the island. I planted them in the wet earth of Gometra, where they will hopefully establish a population of these trees, rich in native biodiversity.”

Paul with the saplings

Thank you for your continued support and, as always, feel free to get in touch with any questions, comments or opportunities!

All the best,

The Lawyers for Nature Team