A symposium on the Rights of Nature

Council of Canadians Honorary Chairperson Maude Barlow travelled to Quito, Ecuador last week for the Global Alliance on the Rights of Nature Symposium. She shared the following updates and photos on Twitter throughout the week.

Arrived at 2:00 a.m. in Quito after a very long trip. The opening Indigenous welcome was very moving. Packed event at the Simón Bolívar University.  This crucial gathering comes as Ecuador is welcoming massive hydroelectric projects and just yesterday, distressingly reversed its rejection of ISDS and entrenched the rights of foreign investment in the aftermath of the terrible Chevron ISDS decision. How could they?

If we don’t fight for water and forests and the people and ecosystems here and everywhere who will?

The symposium began with an Indigenous welcome. Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network spoke.

Twenty-five children, aged 7 to 26, sued the government of Colombia for failing to protect the environment. According to the website Global Citizen, never before had a climate change case been heard in Latin America, the charges seemed too far-reaching, and environmental degradation has been accelerating in the country in recent years. But after hearing the case, the country’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the children and now the government must come up with an action plan for stopping deforestation in the Amazon and escalate its fight against climate change. The Colombian children were recognized for their passionate defence of the environment and human rights.

The Colombian children are recognized for their passionate defence of the environment and human rights.

Maude later tweeted, “in essence, Colombia’s highest court granted personhood to the Amazon.”

Indigenous speakers from the Amazon warn us about the failures of law to protect them or their jungle and the need to hear from the heart of Mother Earth.

Indigenous speakers in Quito tell us the First Peoples of the Amazon are as threatened as the forest itself and that Mother Earth is the highest law.

I met today with Indigenous leaders who have been devastated by first Texaco then Chevron for over two decades. They recently lost a court case against the company and are seeking solidarity in their struggle.

Do you want to hear all of Maude's latest updates? Follow her on Twitter @MaudeBarlow