Since January, Community Rights San Juan Islands has focused on our goal to educate ourselves and others about the Salish Sea Bill of Rights. We are spending time researching the language and experience of other Community Rights and Rights of Nature efforts, as well as Legal Personhood for ecosystems efforts, and Indigenous law and treaties designed to protect nature.
The rights of nature movement continues to expand across the globe, as well as here in the US. January 11, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the 1855 Treaty Authority adopted Rights of Manoomin for on and off reservation protection of wild rice and the clean, fresh water resources and habitats in which it thrives. And as we write this, Toledoans for Safe Water are working hard to pass the Lake Erie Bill of Rights in the special election, where Toledoans will be voting on February 26. The Guardian covered the Lake Erie Bill of Rights initiative in a story published on February 19, saying:
“The people in Toledo have realized for a long time their water and their health was in danger from excessive pollution in the lake. Over the years they called for the cavalry repeatedly to help them. But the cavalry never came. So they have decided to be their own cavalry.”The Guardian, Feb 19, 2019
We are planning a retreat at the end of March where we’ll be bringing together everything we’ve learned these past few weeks and will be working hard on a new draft of the Salish Sea Bill of Rights. We’re expanding our connections within the community rights network, and will be learning from the experiences of rights of nature advocates in Oregon and Ohio as we move forward, as well as sharing information with municipalities here in WA state who are interested in rights of nature. And we continue our friendship and communication with legal scholars in BC, Canada who are working on rights of nature, too.
We meet bi-weekly, so if you’re interested in participating please join us in person or by phone or via online meeting. If you’re coming from off-island, we’ll be happy to pick you up at the ferry. Contact us so we can arrange call-in or pick-up in advance.
In solidarity with nature,
Kai, Beth, Anne, Ande and the rest of the Community Rights San Juan Islands team