Ecosystem files to defend itself against corporate aggression

http://www.publicherald.org/archives/19582/invisible_hand/

Little Mahoning Watershed in Indiana County, Pennsylvania recently filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to defend its own rights to exist and flourish. But watersheds can’t hire lawyers or speak, so how can one defend its rights, and do watersheds even have rights?

The Little Mahoning Creek waterway flows through Grant Township, where elected officials unanimously passed a “Community Bill of Rights Ordinance” in June 2014 which declared “the rights of human and natural communities to water and a healthy environment,” including what’s commonly called the “Rights of Nature.”

These issues concern life and death — not only through the threat corporations pose to the earth’s life support systems, but also the threat they pose to individuals:

Still, implementation of nature’s rights is slow and difficult, even deadly.

José Isidro Tendetza Antún went missing a week before a Rights of Nature Tribunal in Lima, Peru. An indigenous activist, Antún urged others to fight for nature. “It is time to say enough to the corruption that threatens our territory of the Ecuadorian Amazon.” Image from Climate Connections.

Just last week, the body of missing indigenous leader José Isidro Tendetza Antún was found buried in a mock grave marked “no name,” the latest in a series of murders of environmental activists in Ecuador in recent years. Antún planned to denounce a mining project at a Rights of Nature Tribunal during climate talks taking place in Lima, Peru the week following his death.

Antún in a speech featured to YouTube: “It is time to say enough to the corruption that threatens our territory of the Ecuadorian Amazon.”

RIP José Isidro Tendetza Antún.  The spirit of your struggle lives on and grows in strength.

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New Community Rights Paper: Firing Big Green

http://www.celdf.org/community-rights-papers

The last paper explored the history of the term NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) as a creation of corporate chemical companies to demean and marginalize local opposition to industrialization, and it moves beyond that phrase to the declaration of “Not in anybody’s backyard” — the idea that no one should have to live with the environmental destruction, water pollution, toxic fallout and other problems of being the site of an industrial project.

This next paper uses the analogy of Moneyball, starring Brad Pitt, to address the role Big Green, aka Environmental Non-profit Industrial Complex, plays in the destruction of life’s earth support systems.  Big Green is more interested in proving it can play by the rules created by those who destroy life on earth than it is in actually stopping the destruction.  We need to reject Big Green in order to focus on what matters: stopping the destruction.   Communities do this in two ways:

  1. Banning activities that violate their right to clean air, water and a sustainable energy future and
  2. Recognizing through law that nature has rights of its own.

We can easily translate this community rights frame into a more general human rights activist frame as well, by locally recognizing human rights that existing laws do not recognize and by banning activities that violate any human rights.  For example, US law allows domestic police forces to use substances banned from warfare in international law on its own population.  Communities can recognize the right to be free from use of excessive force and police brutality and ban such practices locally, changing the way that policing happens in their community.

Read more:  We have a static link to these papers from our Resources page.

National Community Rights Network Holds Historic First Meeting

click here to read in pdf

CONTACT: Cliff Willmeng, bigreddog1934@yahoo.com, 303-478-6613
Or: Wendy Lee, wlee@bloomu.edu, 570-394-3849

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014
SEVEN SPRINGS, PENNSYLVANIA: At its historic first meeting earlier this month, members of the National Community Rights Network (NCRN) gathered to seat their permanent Board of Directors and accelerate the work of advancing the rights of local communities to the state and national level.

The NCRN has grown out of the grassroots organizing of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), which has assisted communities to advance Community Rights at the local level for nearly 20 years.  More than 160 communities across the U.S. have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights, protecting community rights to clean air and water, sustainable food, energy, and other systems, and the right to local self-governance.

Since 2010, these same communities have joined together to launch state Community Rights Networks (CRNs) consisting of municipalities, grassroots organizations, and local government officials supporting Community Rights, in order to drive those rights to the state level. The NCRN is the next step in that advancement.

“The NCRN has rapidly become the leading voice in the country for Community Rights and the right to local, community self-government. It is the movement that environmental, civil rights, and labor activists have been looking for – one that liberates communities across the country from being at the mercy of corporate “rights” and governmental powers exercised by those corporations,” said Thomas Linzey, Executive Director of CELDF.  Linzey added, “The time has come to free ourselves from those constraints and become self-governing in the name of economic and environmental sustainability.”

President of the NCRN, Cliff Willmeng, of Lafayette, Colorado, stated, “People and communities have for too long lived with the regulation of our freedoms, and the exploitation of our labor and natural environment. The NCRN is a leap forward for genuine grassroots organizing, and provides a platform for systemic, democratic changes to our government and economy.”

The new board members represent Pennsylvania (PACRN), New Hampshire (NHCRN), Oregon (ORCRN), Ohio (OHCRN), Colorado (COCRN), New Mexico (NMCCR) and Washington (WACRN). Each delegate has engaged in Community Rights efforts locally and is dedicated to elevating the rights of communities above the claimed “rights” of corporations in order to protect and establish sustainable food, energy, economic, and other systems.

The NCRN is committed to providing education, outreach, and support for the development of additional statewide Community Rights Networks. The organization is partnering with state and local Community Rights advocates to build a grassroots, people-driven, Community Rights Movement that will democratize and humanize decision-making at all levels.

The NCRN mission is to assist our state Community Rights Networks to educate people across the country on local, community self-governance and community rights; secure the inalienable rights of all people, communities, and ecosystems through local self-governance; assert community rights to empower and liberate communities from state preemption and corporate harm; and advance those efforts toward state and federal constitutional change.

News: Mendocino Community Bill of Rights

Recent news coming out of the northern California:

http://www.ukiahdailyjournal.com/news/ci_26289149/mendocino-county-supervisors-approve-fracking-ballot-but-may

More information on the effort:

A. Community Rights Network of Mendocino County: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Rights-Network-of-Mendocino-County/682810521781217

B. Mendocino Community Bill of Rights: http://ballotpedia.org/Mendocino_County_Community_Bill_of_Rights_Fracking_and_Water_Use_Initiative_(November_2014)

New Community Rights Paper: NIMBYism

http://www.celdf.org/community-rights-papers

In the last paper, CELDF explored the grassroots history of the Declaration of Independence — namely, how communities across the colonies were declaring themselves independent of British rule years before the appearance of the revolutionary document.

In this next paper, CELDF explores the history of the term NIMBY (“Not In My Back Yard”) as a creation of corporate chemical companies to demean and marginalize local opposition to industrialization, and it moves beyond that phrase to the declaration of “Not in anybody’s backyard” — the idea that no one should have to live with the environmental destruction, water pollution, toxic fallout and other problems of being the site of an industrial project.  When we accept this premise, then it opens up avenues for us to explore what sustainable economies and infrastructure need to look like.

More importantly, it explores the process of how local communities reject the corporate framing of issues in order to take back power and make decisions on their own terms.

We’ll have a static link to these papers from our Resources page.

KMUZ Rebroadcast: We the People Rising Up

This week The Forum on KMUZ will run the Thomas Linzey We the People Rising Up talk.

Listening options

This is a great opportunity to introduce friends, family and other associates to the community rights movement.  You can always watch the video on Vimeo, linked from our Resources page.