Mari Margil and Thomas Linzey – Changing Everything: The Global Movement for the Rights of Nature

Mari Margil and Thomas Linzey of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, leading figures in the global movement to recognize the legal rights of ecosystems and nature, share exciting recent developments in that effort. They highlight breakthroughs in tribal nations, communities, and countries around the world. They explain how advancing the rights of nature in legal codes and constitutions can lead to a radical transformation in humankind’s relationship with the natural world.

Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil delivered this talk at the 2020 Bioneers Conference, introduced by Kenny Ausubel.


Mari Margil, Executive Director of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, leads its International Center for the Rights of Nature. Previously Associate Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, she assisted the first places in the world to secure the Rights of Nature in law, including Ecuador. She works internationally as well as with Indigenous peoples and tribal nations to advance Rights of Nature legal and policy frameworks. Mari is a co-author of: The Bottom Line or Public Health and Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence. Learn more about Mari Margil.

Thomas Linzey, Senior Counsel for the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER), co-founded the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund and the Daniel Pennock Democracy School (which has graduated over 5,000 lawyers, activists, and municipal officials nationally to fight to elevate the rights of their communities over corporate rights). He is the author of several books, including: Be The Change: How to Get What You Want in Your Community; On Community Civil Disobedience in the Name of Sustainability; and co-author of: We the People: Stories from the Community Rights Movement in the United States. Learn more about Thomas Linzey.

The Rights of Nature with Mari Margil and Thomas Linzey

Nature is not our property. Communities are now passing legislation to recognize the legally binding rights of nature. In this Bioneers video, we show how this spreading network is honoring and upholding the personhood of the environment, instead of the personhood of the corporations destroying it.

Earth Justice: Corporate Rights vs. The Rights of Nature

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness have long been held as the inalienable rights of the American people. Then why is it that corporate personhood consistently overrides the legal rights of citizens? And what about the rights of nature? Do rivers, mountains, whales or ecosystems – have inalienable rights that guarantee their interests? In this Bioneers podcast, Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil describe breakthroughs on the ground that are redefining democracy. In the 21st century, is it time to move from a Declaration of Independence to a Declaration of Interdependence?

The Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights offers trainings on democratic rights and community rights, and the rights of nature. The workshops are available for communities, NGOs, lawyers, academics, activists, and government officials around the world. Learn more.

Explore more Rights of Nature media from Bioneers, including videos, articles, and podcasts from leaders in the movement.

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