CHANGING THE NARRATIVE, CHANGING THE SYSTEM
OUR MAIN APPROACH:
ECOLOGICAL LITERACY AND STORYTELLING
BASED IN EARTH JURISPRUDENCE
In many countries and human cultures around the world, non-human living systems are seen as human-owned objects whose reason for existence is to be commodified, exploited and used for human benefit and economic profit. This is today’s dominant narrative and permeates almost all spaces in which economic power is fostered and decision-making occurs.
A pillar within this destructive narrative is how “Nature” is spoken about, through a cognitive disconnect that separates the ”human” from ”Nature” and, arrogantly enough, states that humans are not only separate from but also superior to Nature. This is concerning because the narrative fuels a human governance system that permits anthropocentric violence against all other life on Earth.
If we want to change the system, we must change the dominant narrative. And how do we change it? We question, we dissect, we reflect, we reshape, and we transform.
Earth Advocacy encompasses the understanding, recognizing, respecting, defending, and co-creating with the living beings with which we share our home on Earth. Underlying this work is the responsibility of human beings to respect, defend, and advocate on behalf of all life on this planet. Reconnecting with the biologically diverse Earth System of which we are part, and recognizing that we are simply one out of countless members of a holistic web of life is central to Earth Advocacy.
We are aware of the overwhelming direction that humanity is taking the living planet, threatening the survival and health of all living beings, including our own species. We also recognize that current responses and implementation methods are insufficient in order to address the ecological crises. Reshaping the roadmap for resilient relationships and compassionate coexistence with other living beings requires us to bridge disciplines and movements as well as cross-connect people from multiple sectors. It calls for exchange of knowledge, and the fostering of new alliances between stakeholders who might still be strangers to one another.
YOUTH-LED AND BOLD
This paradigm shift requires human societies to dive deeply into the very narratives of today's laws, agreements and policies to confront the ideas, norms and values that are giving them their shape, and enabling their existence. We also see severe implementation issues with many policies and agreements. To advance a new paradigm, we know meaningful participation and representation of youth in the creation of new practices and strategies for protection of life is essential. Young change-makers have the capacity and capability required to effectively experiment, promote and apply inventive solutions to address the ecological crisis together with other influential stakeholders.
We must develop these solutions as equals. One crucial aspect to consider is to not just create a space for youth that is completely separate from the main fora of decision-making/policy-making and believe that it will be enough. No. Decision-makers cannot keep the world’s youth on the sidelines any longer. It is time to integrate youth into the main fora as equals, and have us all work together side by side. In that way only can we begin to transform the dominant narrative, along with the perceptions of our role on Earth.
OUR ECOCENTRIC TOOLBOX
We have chosen to apply various Earth-centered approaches in our work! We believe that combining bold and creative ideas can make their impact and application more powerful and transformational. With help from our ecocentric toolbox and our collective skill set, we aim to contribute to the respect and protection of the delicate balance of all the planet’s living systems. Two of our approaches are listed below:
Earth Jurisprudence is a philosophy and practice of law and human governance that recognizes that the Earth is embedded in a complex system that governs the very web of life. Humans are one member of a wider community of living beings, and the well-being and welfare of each member of that biodiverse community is dependent on the well-being and welfare of the planet as a whole. Earth uniquely sustains life as we know it through a complex system of living processes and laws, as a self-regulating planetary organism. All Earth’s living systems and entities (humans included) are inextricably subject to these laws and processes.
Rights of Nature
Rights of Nature is a legal tool which implements the intrinsic legal rights of ecosystems to exist, thrive, evolve, regenerate, and continue their vital cycles. The Rights of Nature advances a new worldview that respects the aliveness, interconnectedness and uniqueness of all living beings.
Rights of Nature has the potential to to challenge capitalist and extractivist perceptions of the Earth's living systems (or "Nature") and change the fabric of human legal and governance systems because it provides civil society, organizations, governments and other stakeholders with a tool to proactively defend living systems. Through legal recognition of inherent rights of living systems in places such as Colombia, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Ecuador, Uganda etc., the Rights of Nature has gained traction in legal systems everywhere.
The antidote to this hubristic conception of ourselves is to concertedly transform our way of thinking from the dominant anthropocentric or human-centred lens to an Earth-centred understanding of how we can conduct our lives in a mutually enhancing relationship with those with whom we have co-evolved.