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VIDEO: Maude Barlow calls for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

The Council of Canadians was at the United Nations in New York today to help launch the call for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. To watch a brief clip of Maude Barlow discuss this on GritTV today, please go to http://www.mefeedia.com/watch/39126483. You can see a fuller interview with Maude and Shannon Biggs of Global Exchange at http://grittv.org/2011/04/20/mike-papantonio-maude-barlow-shannon-biggs-and-investing-at-home/.

The Toronto Star also reports, “As the United Nations begins discussion Wednesday on the idea of a declaration of rights for Mother Earth, (Maude Barlow, the national chairperson of the Council of Canadians) is helping lead the fight to obtain what she calls a ‘paradigm shift’ in the way we perceive the Earth and its resources. …Barlow and other activists are saying that it is time for us to shift from an economic view of ‘unlimited market growth’ to one that focuses on the fact the ‘Earth sustains all life’ and if we don’t take care, the planet and human beings are going to be in serious trouble. She points to a study which she says reports that by 2030 the demand for water in our world will outstrip supply by 40 per cent as an example of the mishandling of resources. Clearly, something is wrong, she and others argue.”

“(Barlow says,) ‘Our argument is our policies of unlimited growth, unregulated trade and then government deregulation – taking away the rights of government to protect the environment – is putting the environment at risk. The question is not to come at the issue saying nature has human rights in the way we understand them, but rather to say: What kind of society could we build if we introduced laws that actually give the Earth and other species the right to exist and not be destroyed us? I think when you get your head around it, it’s not at all crazy. It’s introducing balance into our economic and development system. This isn’t some esoteric thing,’ she said. ‘This is about recognizing the limits to the Earth’s carrying capacity and dealing with it before it’s too late.'”

“The movement for an international declaration for rights for Mother Earth came out of the failure of the 2009 climate change summit in Copenhagen. After that failure, about 32,000 participants gathered in Bolivia to discuss what next. Out of this conference came the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth and a call for the United Nations to adopt it.”

“According to Barlow, the European Union and Spain have embraced the idea at Wednesday’s meeting. And the UN’s secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, has been quoted supporting the idea, calling for all ‘to live in harmony with the world around us as did the ancients who saw no division between themselves and the natural world.’ …Some countries have already taken action. Bolivia is set to adopt a declaration of rights for Mother Earth. Ecuador has adopted a resolution protecting nature, said Barlow. India has declared that its rivers are sacred and have rights.”

“Barlow and a prestigious list of authors, politicians and activists have made their case in a new book, The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. …Barlow and others would like to see the proposed Universal Declaration of the Rights for Mother Earth become a companion declaration to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted and passed by the United Nations in 1948.”

Council of Canadians publications officer Jan Malek was in New York today with Maude. Jan writes, “The morning session of the UN dialogue on ‘Harmony with Nature’ wrapped up with comments and statements from member countries. …When the UN representative from the United States spoke of their decision to ‘work within established forums’, essentially dismissing the dialogue happening today, panelist Peter Brown questioned this position saying he found it ‘alarming’. The exchange highlighted a growing divide between ‘have’ and ‘have not’ countries (the U.S. being a ‘have’ country, of course.) Loud applause broke out in the hall in support of Brown’s statement.” To read Jan’s blogs from the UN go to http://canadians.org/activistblog/?p=537 and http://canadians.org/activistblog/?p=535.

The Toronto Star article is at http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/977802–canadian-fights-to-enshrine-rights-for-mother-earth.

To read more, go to the Council of Canadians Rights of Nature web-page at http://canadians.org/rightsofnature/.