Warrior Lawyers: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth

Warrior Lawyers: From Manila to Manhattan, Attorneys for the Earth

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“A powerful read for anyone who cares about our planet.”

Robin R. Milam
Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

 “"Moving, terrifying, inspirational - these stories stand as a beacon of hope in our troubled world.”"

Maude Barlow
The Council of Canadians

"Intriguing and inspiring -- Cameron, a green warrior himself, and a great story-teller, deftly writes of legal battles won and those to come."
Maggie Siggins

Governor-General's Award-winning author of Revenge of the Land

The right to breathe. The right to clean water. The right to wholesome food.

Air, water, food – these are the sources of life. Without them, we die. And in most nations – -- more than 180 countries, in fact - –citizens are legally entitled to these essential elements of life. In some countries, Mother Nature herself has legal rights. But not in Canada or the United States.

In Warrior Lawyers, courageous and dedicated lawyers from nine countries tell their own stories of trail-blazing lawsuits that have transformed nations and changed history.

Impoverished Argentinians win a multi-billion-dollar cleanup of the Riachuelo River in Buenos Aires. An innovative foundation forces the Dutch government to take dramatic action on climate change. Ecuadorian natives and peasants defeat mighty Chevron in a $9.5 billion action for fouling the Amazon rain forest. The Supreme Court of the Philippines asserts the rights of future generations to a healthy, bountiful world.

Behind these victories is a set of dedicated lawyers whose true client is the Earth herself.

Dr. David Boyd (Canada), author of The Environmental Rights Revolution, explains what environmental rights really are. Dr. John Borrows  (Anishanaabe) explores the the nature of law and the laws of Nature in both common law and indigenous legal systems. Cormac Cullinan (South Africa) wrote Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice and also drafted the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Pablo Fajardo (Ecuador) is the young lawyer who won a $9.5 billion judgment against Chevron for polluting the Amazon.  Steven Donziger (United States) is Fajardo's American colleague whose financing innovations allowed 30,000 poor Ecuadorians to pursue that case for more than 20 years. 

Mumta Ito (Scotland), once a high-powered corporate lawyer,  now heads a group aiming to embed the rights of Nature in the European Community's legal system. Michelle Maloney (Australia), is National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, the author of Wild Law in Practice, and a trenchant opponent of the massive strip-mines that would ship coal through the Great Barrier Reef. 

Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil (United States) lead  the Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund, a pioneering US organization that helps communities assert both their own rights, and the rights of the environment. Antonio Oposa, Jr. (Philippines) is the lawyer who established “the Oposa doctrine,” the right of future generations to inherit a healthy environment. Daniel Sallaberry (Argentina), represented the residents of an impoverished riverside community in Buenos Aires who successfully sued both government and industry, and won a multi-billion dollar clean-up of the Riachuelo River. 

Larry Kowalchuk (Canada) represents the New Brunswickers and Natives suing the federal and New Brunswick governments for infringing their  rights by permitting hydraulic fracking. Femke Wijdekop (Netherlands)  is a lawyer, author and broadcaster who supports the environmental defenders who are routinely tortured and murdered. Polly Higgins (United Kingdom), is pressing the United Nations to make ecocide, like genocide, a UN-recognized “crime against peace.”

Marjan Minnesma (Netherlands) heads the Urgenda Foundation, which sued the Dutch state and won an electrifying court order directing the government to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the year 2020.  Roger Cox (Netherlands) was Urgenda's lawyer, and is the author of Revolution Justified: Why Only the Law Can Save Us Now. Jan van de Venis (Netherlands), also a practicing lawyer, is the founder of the green crowd-funding site TheCrowdversus.com– and also the Netherlands' Shadow Ombudsperson for Future Generations. 

Silver Donald Cameron contributes a long essay discussing the importance of these lawyers and their work – and the opportunities that environmental rights offer to both Canadians and Americans. The author of 17 previous books, Cameron is host and executive producer of the companion documentary film Green Rights: The Human Right to a Healthy World, (www.GreenRIghts.com ), in which many of the warrior lawyers also appear. This full-length film is produced and directed by Chris Beckett; Cameron and Beckett also operate the subscription web site, www.TheGreenInterview.com , where full-length original versions of these interviews – and dozens of others, in video and audio as well as text – are posted.