Rights of Nature and Decision-Making

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Lisa Mead 5 years, 6 months ago.

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    Bronwyn Lay

    Recently I have been part of several groups advocating for Rights of Nature (RoN). It got me thinking about what RoN means for decision-making and group processes, i.e. how do international groups and human communities that are advocating for the inclusion of Nature within law and politics enable the presence of Nature within their structures and decision-making processes?

    I’m aware that everyone comes with a different conception of what RoN means and this is a central concern. Having witnessed personally the challenges of groups attempting to come together on issues relating to Rights of Nature, I’m not sure that we really know yet HOW to make the connection with Nature in our political and legal systems, or how to recognise Nature as part of our communities. At its most radical interpretation RoN heralds the collapse of the ‘natureculture’ separation. Clearly this requires a renovation of power and decision-making processes (law). Such a renovation must be possible – particularly because around the world this is alive in indigenous jurisprudence, which is hard and existing LAW.

    So how do we shift from social anthropocentrism into something else? What are the values, attitudes and customs that can incorporate active presence of Nature within our communities, not merely as a symbolic entity, but as a mutual partner? What structures will we use? What norms will we apply?


    Michael Baker

    I don’t want to be clever with logical argument in responding to this profound question so I’m allowing my”self” to let words surface; frequency, heart mind, seeing, round, spiraling, light & dark, daytime & night, Being sentient, navigation, the senses.

    These words surface from my thoughts because the questions you pose have arisen in my life journey. From the beginning when I first saw a Nature Spirit when 3 years old, to in my mid years constructing and living in a geodesic dome, forming up and living in intentional land based community, to professionally teaching Light, colour and sound at the Hygeia College, to researching vibration and animal / plant behaviour…..
    All of this finally began to make sense when 22 years ago I began to make deeper connections with the Guatemalan Maya indigenous elders, one of whom began to teach me about a special calendar they use to link their lives with the natural world as well as to themselves as community /pueblo. Present day Guatemalan’s do not all follow it because of external influences particularly branches of Christianity.
    An introduction to the calendar is thus…

    The sacred calendar of 20 days, called Cholq’ij (Tzolkin in Yucatan Mayan), came from the human body, from the ten fingers and from the ten toes of the human being.

    Those 20 days compose a law which controls human being’s life, from its conception to its death. From those 20 days, a Divine and Sacred law with no possible reform to which it is impossible to withdraw or add anything, came to light. This Law is known as the Mayan Habitual Right.

    In this Mayan Habitual Right, two laws are respected: The Divine law of the Creator and the Natural Law on the Earth.

    Don Alejandro Cirilo Perez Oxlaj, or Wandering Wolf as I know him is
    Ambassador for the Indigenous Pueblos Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna of Guatemala & President of the National Council of Elders Mayas, Xinca and Garifuna of Guatemala

    He addressed the World Council of Churches in Barcelona, Spain thus…..

    We the Indigenous People join together in defence of the life of the human species, in defence of the life of our brother animals and the trees and in defence of the life of Mother Earth, because the life of the Planet Earth is in danger. We all know that what is happening in the world now is not a coincidence.

    It is necessary that the behaviour of human beings all over the world has to change; the life of the Planet Earth is responsibility of all and that is why the invitation from the Indigenous people is for everyone, to help save human life, save the planet thus inheriting a healthy future to the new generations. It is for this reason that we invite everyone, indigenous and non indigenous to understand and respect each other;

    From the Maya Cosmo-vision point of view, no one owns the land; we are just one more element of life and of Nature, and this is why we are inviting every human being to help save our Mother Earth.

    I hope this may give some keys for a developing discussion about Being Nature as a Human.
    Don Alejandro is now 83 and I’m in process of contacting him for the benefit of The Rights fo Nature.


    Lisa Mead

    Hi Bronwyn – Thank you for opening up this important topic, which has been on my mind ever since I engaged with the Rights of Nature movement.

    Hello Michael – thank you for immediately bringing in the wisdom of a culture that can guide us on the path in answering Bronwyn’s question. What your posting immediately says to me is that we do not need to “re-invent the wheel”, because we could choose to adopt practices that have worked well for hundreds and maybe thousands of years, in order to maintain a strong remembering of the Earth and Nature within ourselves.

    And yet, I see one of the difficulties here being that we are not of the Guatemalan Mayan culture, or able to train with them for years, and that we may all have different ideas about processes for remembering and including Nature both as individuals and when working together in groups.

    It seems to me that whatever processes or disciplines we choose to adopt as a group, there is an essential underlying quality required of presencing ourselves, of taking the time to “tune in” or to “attune” to the vast universe within and without our small selves.

    My question then is how do we reimagine our culture so that every board meeting of every company and every NGO and every community group takes the time to presence itself before making decisions, in order to co-create with Nature rather than destroy it? At the moment the dominant trend still appears to be to work only with the mind (which is a very useful but limited tool). I believe that there is a wealth of information available to us that we are unconsciously filtering out because our culture has not taught us the importance of deep listening.

    A few years ago I was very surprised to hear from the CEO of a small British-based charity that although he had been coming to Findhorn for 20 years and getting a lot out of it for himself, he had never felt confident enough to introduce any of the mindfulness processes that he had experienced over the years into the team meetings of his charity. And this was an apparently strong, confident, centred and purpose-led man. What would it take I wondered? It seems that the dominant culture is exactly that – dominant!

    Conversely, I was encouraged to hear about a surgeon, who has a strong connection with the Findhorn community, who has piloted a practice in the hospital in England where he works, of holding a “tune in” session with the surgery team before they operate on a patient. This has apparently improved patient outcomes, though unfortunately I cannot back this up with research data. This is not remembering Nature as such, although presencing ourselves – to ourselves and to each other – is a good start.

    I am not saying that Findhorn has all the answers, by the way, just because I live there, however one of the Findhorn community’s guiding principles is “co-creating with Nature”, so at least there is a consciously-expressed intention to focus on including Nature in its decision-making. I think this is also part of the answer – a consciously-expressed intention.

    Anyway, enough from me for now. Does anyone else have thoughts/possible solutions in relation to this subject? And please know that it’s OK to come with just thoughts or questions and/or half-formed ideas!

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