Who we are

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

Executive Committee Members

Nnimmo Bassey – Nigeria

Nnimmo Bassey is the director of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and member steering committee of Oilwatch International. He was chair of Friends of the Earth International (2008-2012) and Executive Director of Nigeria’s Environmental Rights Action (1993-2013). He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize.” In 2012 he received the Rafto Human Rights Award. Bassey has authored books on the environment, architecture and poetry. His books include We Thought it Was Oil, But It was Blood –Poetry (Kraft Books, 2002), I will Not Dance to Your Beat – Poetry (Kraft Books, 2011), To Cook a Continent – Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa (Pambazuka Press, 2012) and Oil Politics – Echoes of Ecological War (Daraja Press, 2016).

Michelle Bender, Earth Law Center https://www.earthlawcenter.org, North America

Michelle Bender is the Ocean Rights Manager at the Earth Law Center where she works towards promoting legal rights for marine ecosystems and species. Michelle is an environmental law and policy specialist with expertise in ocean and wildlife law, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. She conducts ongoing research and analysis for Friends of the Sea Otter and Donald Baur where, among other things, she advocates for the continued protection of the Southern Sea Otter and assisted with amicus brief preparation for federal court litigation in opposition to captive display of cetaceans (The ‘Born to be Free’ documentary involving this case is on Netflix).  She previously created a strategic plan for reducing the sources of plastic pollution entering the ocean at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, focusing on how to use law and policy to drive change. Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vermont Law School, where she earned a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy and holds a B.S. in Biology with a Marine Emphasis from Western Washington University.

Shannon Biggs, Movement Rights, https://www.movementrights.org, North America

Shannon Biggs is the co-founder and Executive Director of Movement Rights, advancing legal rights for communities, indigenous peoples and ecosystems.  Working in California and with Native American tribes and allies nationally, Shannon assists communities to ban harmful projects by passing binding laws that assert the rights of communities and nature over corporate projects.  Internationally she is a recognized leader of the rights of nature/Mother Earth movement, a co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and the co-author/editor of two books including “The Rights of Nature, Making the Case for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature.”  Though Movement Rights she also leads trainings on community rights and rights of ecosystems throughout the US.  Previously she was a senior staffer at Global Exchange and the International Forum on Globalization. She holds a Masters of Science degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Economics — Politics of Empire. Nationality: United States

Valerie Cabanes – www.valeriecabanes.eu, Europe

Valerie Cabanes is a lawyer in international law with an expertise in international humanitarian law and human rights. She spent 18 years leading international programs in the fields of health and human rights for people with disabilities, women and children exploited and abused, street children and refugees. Since 2006, she has been involved in defending the rights of indigenous people. She started a PhD in Legal Anthropology in northern Quebec with the Innu people and then became involved in the defense of their ancestral territory threatened by large hydroelectric dam projects. In 2011, she also opposed such industrial projects in the Brazilian Amazon, in particular the Belo Monte dam, by preparing reports debated in the United Nations Human Rights Council or the European Parliament. In 2013, she participated in the launch of a European citizens’ initiative proposing a European directive on the crime of ecocide. Then, in 2015, she worked on a proposal for amendments to the Statute of the International Criminal Court on the crime of ecocide given to Ban Ki Moon at COP21. Valerie also co-organized during COP21 the 3rd International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature which took place in Paris in December 2015, then in 2016 in The Hague, the one organized by The Monsanto Tribunal foundation. She is, since 2016, part of the Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network. She contributed to 7 collective books and she is the author of Un nouveau Droit pour la Terre, pour en finir avec l’écocide (Paris, Seuil, 2016) translated by Natraj Publishers under the title Rights for the Earth (New Delhi, 2018), and Homo Natura, en harmonie avec le vivant (Paris, Buchet/Chastel, 2016).

Cormac Cullinan, Wild Law Institute, Enact International (http://www.Enact-International.com), South Africa

Cormac Cullinan is an author, practicing environmental attorney and governance expert who has worked on environmental governance issues in more than 20 countries. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and is a director of a specialist environmental and green business law firm (www.cullinans.co.za) of the governance consultancy, EnAct International (www.enact-international.com ), and of the Wild Law Institute. His groundbreaking book “Wild Law A Manifesto for Earth Justice” has played a significant role in informing and inspiring a growing international movement to recognize rights for Nature. In 2008 he was included in Planet Savers. 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists, a book that profiles environmentalists throughout history. At the invitation of Bolivia, Cormac spoke at the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which was proclaimed on 22 April 2010 by the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia. In September 2010 he played a leading role in establishing a Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Alliance.

Tom Goldtooth, Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN) – Indigenous Leadership – https://www.ienearth.org/

Tom BK Goldtooth,  Dine’/Dakota, United States is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an international indigenous NGO based in Bemidji, Minnesota near the border of United States/Canada. A social change maker within the Native American community for over 36 years, has become an internationally renowned environmental, Climate and economic justice leader, working with many Indigenous People and social movements around the world. Tom co-produced the award-winning documentary, Drumbeat for Mother Earth, which addresses the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous people. Co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Nationality: United States.  President of the Fourth Rights of Nature Tribunal in Bonn, Germany.

Natalia Greene – CEDENMA (www.cedenma.org), South America

Natalia Greene is part of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal’s Secretariat.  She was actively involved in the recent Constitution process in Ecuador, particularly with the ‘Rights to Nature’ clause and the role of civil society and indigenous people in the process. Natalia is a consultant for Rights of Nature with Pachamama Alliance and is the focal point in Ecuador for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She graduated in Hampshire College, holds a Political Science master’s degree from FLACSO Ecuador and a master’s degree from UASB on Climate Change. She promoted the recognition of Rights for Nature in Ecuador’s Constitution and has worked on the environmental and indigenous aspects of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative to keep oil underground in the Amazon. From 2011 until 2013, Natalia Greene was the President of CEDENMA, the National Coordinating Entity for Environmental NGO’s, now re-elected for the 2018-2020 period. Nowadays she coordinates the Climate Justice National Platform and works with Terra Mater and Fundación Pachamama.

Osprey Orielle Lake – Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network -WECAN (https://www.wecaninternational.org), United States of America, North America

Osprey Orielle Lake is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). She works nationally and internationally with grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers and scientists to mobilize women for climate justice, resilient communities, systemic change and a just transition to a clean energy future. Osprey serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the visionary behind the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together 100 women leaders from around the world. She directs WECAN’s advocacy work in areas such as Women for Forests, Divestment/Investment, Indigenous Rights, Rights of Nature and United Nation Climate Conferences. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book, Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature. www.wecaninternational.org

Samanta Novella, Nature Rights, http://www.naturerights.com/blog/, France

Samanta Novella lives in Paris. She is French and was raised in Paraguay. She is the director of the NGO NatureRights and an artistic director. She gives a lot of time and energy to the End Ecocide movement, helping to organize, fund and promote our public events, as she truly believes that the recognition of the crime of ecocide will help to protect the rights of nature. She is very grateful for this initiative and proud of NatureRights for being a partner of such a movement. She was a key ally in the organization of the Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris, France.

Alessandro Pelizzon – Australia

Dr Alessandro Pelizzon is an academic in the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University, where he also serves in a number of administrative roles. Alessandro completed his LLB/LLM at the University of Turin in Italy, specializing in comparative law and legal anthropology with a field research project conducted in the Andes. His Doctoral research, conducted at the University of Wollongong (Australia), focused on native title and legal pluralism. Alessandro has been exploring the emerging discourse on rights of nature, Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence since its inception, with a particular focus on the intersection between this emerging discourse and different legal ontologies. He has organised a number of events in Australia on Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence, he is one of the founding members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, he has been a moderator at the UN General Assembly Dialogue on the Harmony with Nature, and he is an expert member of the UN Harmony with Nature programme. Alessandro’s main areas of research are legal anthropology, legal theory, comparative law, ecological jurisprudence, sovereignty, and Indigenous rights.

Vandana Shiva, Founder of www.navdanya.org, India

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Among her books are Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development; and Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundación IDEAS, Spain’s Socialist Party’s think tank. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.

Margaret Stewart, Center for Earth Juridsprudence/ Barry University http://www.earthjurist.org, North America

Margaret Stewart serves as the Director at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, a United States based legal advocacy center. The mission of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence is to advance law, policy, and governance systems aimed to legally protect the sustainability of life and health on Earth. She oversees CEJ’s programs and operations and represents the Center on various coalitions. She has created educational forums throughout the United States and abroad and generates strategic partnerships. She manages CEJ communications, including social and print media, and is responsible for the identification and application of grants and other fundraising initiatives that have supported CEJ’s continued work. She also serves as the key Advisor to three law students that work with CEJ as Earth Law & Policy Fellows.

Margaret serves on the Executive Committee and formerly chaired the Legal Committee of the Florida Springs Council. She serves on the Board of the Orange County League of Women Voters, chairs the Natural Resource Committee, and chairs the Solar Co-Op Committee. She is a member of the Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Environmental & Land Use Law and Public Interest Law sections of the Florida Bar. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, her Masters in Non-Profit & Human Resources Management from Penn State University, her Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law, and her LL.M. from Western New England School of Law

Enrique Viale – Asociación Argentina de Abogados Ambientalistas, Argentina

Enrique Viale is an environmental lawyer. He became a lawyer in 2000, graduating from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and then conducting postgraduate studies and specializing in Environmental Law. In 2004, he founded, together with other young colleagues, the Asociación Argentina de Abogados Ambientalistas (AAdeAA). He is a professor at the Faculty of Law of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and a visiting professor at other universities.

He is a critic of the “development” model based on unlimited growth, promoter of the Rights of Nature and has coined the concept of “urban extractivism” to refer to the role of real estate speculation in urban and peri-urban areas. He is also the author of several articles addressing Development, Politics, Law and Environmental Justice published in Argentina and abroad.

Fiona Wilton, Gaia Foundation, https://www.gaiafoundation.org, UK and South America

Fiona Wilton, grew up on the beautiful coast of Cornwall in the UK, with a passion for the sea, sailing and big storms. Since the early 1990s, she has lived mostly in South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay) and worked alongside visionaries, activists, indigenous communities – all sharing the conviction that protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust. Indigenous self-determination, reviving bio-cultural diversity, the protection of sacred natural sites, and promoting Earth-centered governance, or Earth Jurisprudence, have been key areas in her work and life, from grassroots to policy.

Fiona has worked for over 25 years with two remarkable NGOs, The Gaia Foundation (UK) and Gaia Amazonas (Colombia), mixed with occasional consultancy work for both international agencies and local indigenous organizations. She is currently involved in exciting new initiatives such as ‘The Path of the Anacondas’, for Andes-Amazon-Atlantic eco-cultural connectivity, and marine-coastal conservation along Uruguay’s ‘Route of the Whale’. She has a MSc in Protected Landscape Management, is a member of the IUCN specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas and the UN Harmony with Nature knowledge network, and advisor to 1Earth Institute.

MEMBERS OF THE ADVISORY BOARD

AS OF October 15, 2020

  • Maude Barlow – The Council of Canadians, Canada

Maude Barlow is the former Chairperson of the Council of Canadians. She chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch, is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council, and is the Honorary Chancellor of Brescia University. She has also served on the executive of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.

Maude is the recipient of fourteen honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).

From 2008–2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 19 books, including her latest, Boiling Point: Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse, and Canada’s Water Crisis; and Whose Water is it Anyway? Taking water protection into public hands.

  • Liz Hosken, Director, Gaia Foundation

Liz Hosken was born in South Africa and was active from a young age in both environmental issues and the anti-apartheid movement. In the mid 80’s Liz co-founded The Gaia Foundation, based in the UK. During the first decade of Gaia’s work Liz spent many years in the Amazon, where she was “initiated” into indigenous ways of seeing the world, which resonated with her own. Together with partners and indigenous communities, they developed a methodology for accompanying communities to revive their indigenous knowledge and practices. When Liz returned to her continent she was inspired to share these lessons and search for ways to restore Africa’s rich cultural, spiritual and ecological heritage. Liz now teaches the philosophy and practice of this approach, which is rooted in experiential learning and Earth Jurisprudence. She has a BSc in Environmental Sciences and a Masters in Philosophy and Education for Social Change.

To understand Gaia’s theory of change, Liz recommends Margaret Wheatley’s work Using Emergence to take Social Innovation to Scale. Having been mentored by the late Thomas Berry, the founding father of Earth Jurisprudence (EJ), Liz would suggest that anyone looking to understand EJ principles and our great challenge ahead should read Berry’s The Great Work.

  • Alicia Jimenez – Earth Charter, Costa Rica
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Alicia Jiménez is Director of Programmes at the Earth Charter International (ECI) Secretariat in Costa Rica. She is a biologist from the University of Costa Rica, with a MSc in Resource Development from Michigan State University in the United States. Since 1998, she has been working in the field of conservation and sustainable development. She worked in the IUCN Mesoamerica’s Regional Office and the National University of Costa Rica, and has been involved as a visiting professor at the University for Peace. In 2006, she joined the ECI, where she oversees the Earth Charter work especially in Latin America, Africa & the Middle East and Asia Pacific. In addition, she is involved with the Secretariat’s projects on education for sustainable development, facilitating courses and workshops.

  • Esperanza Martínez, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador
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Esperanza Martínez (Ecuador) is member and founder of the association Acción Ecológica in Ecuador. She was coordinator of the observatory for eco-political development of the Amazon area, and is co-founder of Oilwatch, an international network of organizations from the south, set up to defend delicate ecosystems and the ancient rights of the indigenous population against the impact of the extraction of petroleum. She is president of Office pro defense of nature and its rights. She is a biologist with expertise in environmental auditing, and currently lawyer. As a consultant to the Constitutional Assembly of Ecuador in 2008, she successfully pushed the introduction of new rights such as “nature as a subject of rights” and other environmental and human rights protections. In the last few years she focused her activities on the campaign to keep oil underground in the Yasuní National Park, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, and home to the Waorani indigenous peoples, she has published numerous articles and books on rights of nature, oil and environmental struggles in Ecuador.

  • Lisa Mead, Earth Law Alliance, UK
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Lisa Mead is one of the founders of the Earth Law Alliance and has been its lead co-ordinator since January 2013. Lisa qualified as a Solicitor in England in 1994, and for the next decade worked as a commercial lawyer in the City of London. Since 2006 Lisa has lived in Findhorn, Scotland, where she has worked and volunteered for a number of the Findhorn ecovillage’s enterprises and charities.

In 2010 she released her first film, The Turning Point: A Return to Community, a documentary featuring many of the Findhorn community’s low carbon enterprises, which conveyed an overarching message of the sacredness of all life. She is a faculty member at Findhorn College, where she teaches on matters relating to sustainability and alternative economic design on Gaia Education’s Design for Sustainabilityprogram.

In December 2015 she presented a new case for consideration at the Third International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature in Paris, France, on the issue of Depletion of Marine Life.

Her passion for Earth Law arises from a belief that we need a radically new approach to human governance as an antidote to ecological decline and intensifying resource depletion.

  • Carolyn Raffensperger – Rights of Future Generations, USA

Carolyn E. Raffensperger is an environmental lawyer and the executive director of the Science & Environmental Health Network, as well as being a leading expert on the Precautionary Principle. She has authored a number of papers and publications, as well as being featured in a number of notable magazines. Raffensperger was also a state field representative for the Sierra Club.

Raffensperger joined the Science & Environmental Health Network (SEHN) in 1994 and became its executive director. Raffensperger has written on the Precautionary Principle. She has spoken in public on the issue and has appeared on TEDxand EnviroVideo with Karl Grossman.In 1998, Raffensperger convened and attended the Wingspread Conference on the Precautionary PrincipleThe first use of the phrase “ecological medicine” is attributed to Raffensperger, in an article entitled “Our Planet, Our Selves” on the UTNE website.Ecological medicine refers to the way in which people and the environment interact, and how an individual’s acts towards the environment can have a negative effect on health.

  • Linda Sheehan – Planet Pledge, USA
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Linda Sheehan holds a PhD in Legal Sociology from the University of the Basque Country. Master of Law from Columbia University (New York). Master in Legal Sociology from the University of the Basque Country-International Institute of Legal Sociology (Oñati). Lawyer and graduate in Legal Science from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE). Professor of Law in ​​the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar-Sede Ecuador, directs the Law Area and coordinates the international Master’s Degree in Law Research.

  • Patricia Siemen, USA
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Patricia Siemen is a Dominican Sister from Adrian, Michigan and a civil attorney. She currently serves as the Director of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, an initiative of Barry University’s Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law. The mission of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence is to advance law and culture in ways that protect the inherent rights of people and Mother Earth to exist, thrive and regenerate according to Earth’s functions. Sister Pat is a member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and a founding board member of the Earth Law Center.

Sister Pat served as the coordinator of the Healing the Earth Center at the Institute of Pastoral Ministry, St. Thomas University and as the director of the Earth Ethics Institute at Miami Dade College, Miami, Florida, from 2001 – 2004.

She served on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Congregational leadership team from 1988 – 1998. She is a former staff attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Voting Rights Section, and legal services attorney for migrant farm workers in Immokalee, Florida.

  • Pablo Solón – Fundación Solón, Bolivia

Pablo Solón (Bolivia) is a social and environmental activist who was part of the struggle against water privatization in Cochabamba (2000) and La Paz (2005). He coordinated the movement against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (ALCA) in Bolivia (2001-2005). He was invited by Evo Morales to be Extraordinary Ambassador for Integration and Trade for Bolivia between 2006 and 2008. He served as Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations from January 2009 to July 2011. He parted ways with Evo Morales in September 2011 after the police repression to the indigenous people march of TIPNIS (Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Secure). He served as Executive Director of Focus on the Global South based in Asia from 2012 to 2015. He is the son of the famous Bolivian muralist Walter Solón Romero Gonzáles and currently is the Director of Fundación Solón working on issues of energy, forests, climate change, investment and systemic alternatives. 

  • Atossa Soltani, Amazon Watch, USA
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Atossa Soltani the founder and board president of Amazon Watch and served as the organization’s first Executive Director for eighteen years. She is currently a senior strategist for the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative, working to protect one of the most biodiverse ecosystems on Earth. Atossa is the Hillary Institute 2013 Global Laureate for Climate Leadership and recipient of the 2014 Hillary Step Prize. She is currently producing her first feature-length documentary film titled The Flow about learning from nature’s genius.

  • Bill Twist – Pachamama Alliance, USA

Bill is one of the Co-founders of Pachamama Alliance and serves as its chief executive officer.

“I am generally referred to as a founder of Pachamama Alliance but more truthfully I am the beneficiary of a process that “founded” me. Since its inception in 1996, Pachamama Alliance has provided a rich and constantly expanding environment for my personal education about the world at large and has provided a powerful opportunity to live a life of service and contribution. It has been a gift.”

Bill has been the president of Pachamama Alliance since 1996. Prior to Pachamama Alliance, Bill had an extensive background in business having worked in the management consulting, equipment leasing and financial services industries since 1970. Bill has an undergraduate degree in engineering and a masters degree in business administration.

  • Leonardo Boff – Brazil
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Leonardo Boff was born in Brazil in 1938, received a doctorate from Munich in Germany in 1970, and for the following 20 years was Professor of Theology at the Jesuit Institute for Philosophy and Theology in Petropolis. Since 1993 he has been a Professor at the State University of Rio de Janeiro, where he is now Emeritus Professor of Ethics, Philosophy of Religion and Ecology. He is also member of the international initiative of the Earthcharter. Boff was one of the founders of liberation theology. He was silenced by the Vatican in 1985 because of criticism of the Catholic Church in his book The Church, Charisma and Power. In 1992, receiving a second silencing order, he left the Franciscan order of which he was a member stating that “the future of humanity and planet earth” are more important than the future of the institutionalised church. He is, however, still active as a lay priest in poor communities, who are now finding a vision of social justice and community in the “comunidades de base” or ‘Base Christian Communities’. There are more than 100.000 of these grassroots Christian groups in Brazil which attempt to fuse the teachings of Christ with a liberating social gospel. Boff believes these are the places where liberation theology is lived concretely, where the political dimensions of a liberating faith come into play, and where the poor can come to understand that poverty is not natural. The comunidades de base continue to spawn leaders who work on behalf of the poor – in trade unions, political parties and in community organisations. Boff has worked closely with the Brazilian Landless Movement (MST), a 1991 Right Livelihood Award Recipient.

Rights of Nature Team

  • Natalia Greene, General Coordinator, Ecuador
  • Juan Esteban Suárez, Assistant Organizer, Ecuador
  • María del Mar Iturralde, Communications, Ecuador
  • Ashley Cline, Development Coordinator, USA
  • Galo Chiriboga, Graphic Designer, Ecuador

GARN currently has three hubs in process: the Latin American Hub, the Youth Hub and European Hub. These are the facilitators for each Hub.

Latin American Hub facilitators: Henny Freitas (Brazil), Juan Sebastián Acosta Estrada (Colombia)

Henny Freitas

Journalist, eco-activist, permaculture and environmental educator. Co-founder and member of the Sociocracy circle of CASA Latina (Council of Sustainable Settlements of Latin America). Current CASA Latina coordinator on the board of directors of the Global Ecovillage Network and CASA Brasil coordinator. Delegate of the Permaculture circle of SoFA (Sociocracy for All) and facilitator of GARN Latinoamerica (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature). Co-organize the Sociocracy of Leadership Training of Sociocracia Brasil. Author of the e-book: “Sociocracy: New forms of democracy in Latin America”. Member of the ecovillage Aldeia Aratikum (IBC – Instituto Biorregional do Cerrado), Alto Paraíso de Goiás, Brazil. Originate conferences and courses in the areas of Permaculture, Sociocracy and Social Design. TEDx Talk “Earth Code: in search of a sustainable future”: https://bit.ly/hennyfreitas

Juan Sebastián Acosta Estrada

Weaver, researcher, walker, activist, born in Muisca territory, in Bogotá, Colombia. Plastic artist, graduated from the National University of Colombia. Bioarquitect with Certificate in Design in Permaculture (PDC), has several years of experience in event production and network management.

As co-director since 2012 of the GaiaUnion Foundation, he articulated social and environmental impact projects, such as the Earth Festival (2012-2018) or the 8000 Drum Festival for the Rights of Nature (2012-2016), he has led pedagogy processes alternative and holistic, such as the ZewuaCultural School, a community education environment based on the Hummingbird Pedagogy and the Ancestral Wisdom Nativo-Mestizo thought, where he led the training program in popular permaculture Siembra Semilla Universo (2014 -2016). Since 2014 he was regional coordinator of PactoMundialConsciente.org, he works in alliance with the Circle of Rights of Mother Earth of the Council of Sustainable Settlements of Latin America CASA DMT, since 2916 he is Ambassador of the United Nations of the Spirit, international network of wise men and women of hundreds of ethnic groups and ancestral peoples around the world.

Youth Hub facilitators: Rafaela Iturralde (Ecuador), Rodrigue Ghejot (Belgium)

Rafaela Iturralde Mantilla

Rafa is an Ecuadorian advocate of the Rights of Nature in the Latin American region and around the world. She has previously worked with sustainable farming in the Galapagos Islands, helped create a Climate Justice platform for small environmental organizations in Ecuador, and has done research on invasive species in two rivers in upstate New York. Rafa has been involved in the Rights of Nature movement for about 5 years, mostly volunteering for the GARN in Ecuador, France, and Germany. In 2017, she studied abroad in New Zealand where she learned and researched more about the Voice of Nature and the rights of the Whanganui River. After graduating from Skidmore College with a double major in Environmental Studies and International Affairs, she interned for GARN in Quito, leading up to the International Rights of Nature Symposium to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Rights of Nature in Ecuador. Shortly after, she co-funded the Youth Hub for Rights of Nature with friends from Belgium, Sweden and the USA. Today, she lives in New York City where she works as the Latin America Regional Organizer for Waterkeeper Alliance. 

Rodrigue Gehot

Political scientist, climate environmentalist, activist for Social and Ecological Transition and educador on permaculture. Is co-founder of the ecovillage l’Arbre qui Pousse in Belgium. Belgian expatriate in Ecuador for 3 years, he is currently working as an assessor for the Pachamama Foundation’s programs on the defense of Indigenous territories in the Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador and Peru. Active for 10 years in civil organizations defending human rights and nature, he is currently co-founder and facilitator of the GARN Youth Hub. 

I qualify myself as a pragmatic utopian and I am committed to the construction of an integral and inclusive society where nature would fully regain its rights and harmony at the center of all relationships

European Hub facilitators: Marine Calmet (France), Zoe Lujic (United Kingdom)

Marine Calmet

Marine Calmet is a lawyer, specialized in the field of the Rights of Nature and indigenous peoples. Involved against extractive mining projects in the Amazon, she is the spokesperson of the organisation “Or de question” opposed to the exploitation of industrial mines in french Guiana. She works on the development of legal propositions in favor of the recognition of the crime of ecocide and planetary limits in national law. In 2019, she founded the NGO “Wild Legal”. This organization acts in favor of the preservation of Nature through an educational program (the wild legal school) and support campaigns for the development and adoption of new laws inspired by the Rights of Nature movement. Thanks to Wild Legal, she wishes to facilitate and encourage citizen action by supporting actors on the field and providing them with the necessary tools to structure a solid advocacy for Earth Jurisprudence.

Zoe Lujic

Lifelong deep environmentalist, very much in tune with Arne Naes philosophy.  Founder and Director of Earth Thrive https://www.earth-thrive.org/ , a small but highly dedicated Rights of Nature organization, currently working on  Rights of Nature for rivers in her native Serbia and Balkans but also working on RoN & pesticides, RoN & mining as well as animal welfare issues. 
Zoe holds a MSc in Environmental Decision Making and also has background in Permaculture with a diploma in full Permaculture design. Zoe also has a strong background in the Law of Ecocide campaign on which she worked for several years with the initiator, late Polly Higgins from the very early days, working on international outreach concentrating on small island countries, women groups and Permaculture movement.

Founding Members

Latin America

North America

Australia

Africa

Europe

Asia

Expansion Members