During the Brazil Forum on Environmental Management, environmental administrators in Brazil signed the Letter for the Rights of Nature presented by Dr. Vanessa Hasson, in which they commited to a series of actions that seek to establish citizen wide policies in harmony with the Rights of the Nature.
The Brazil Environmental Management Forum was organized by the Ministry of the Environment, the National Association of Municipal Environmental Bodies (ANAMMA) and the mayor of the city of Campinas, bringing together representatives of public power and civil society from July 10th – 12th 2017.
Dr. Vanessa Hasson, president of the MAPAS association and lawyer for Mother Earth (author of the book Derechos da Natureza, (Rights of Nature) 2016), gave a lecture entitled “The Rights of Nature and Public Policies in Cities”, which ended with the reading of The Charter for the Rights of Nautre which aims to implement principles and guidelines to orient the public policies of cities in harmony with nature.
Director of the Environmental Education Department of the Mogi das Cruzes Verde Secretariat, André Miragaia, Secretary of Environment and President of Anamma, Rogerio Menezes, and Municipal Secretary of Green and Environment of São Paulo, Gilberto Natalini are just a few of the public administrators who joined the recent call for the Rights of Nature.
The support and interest expressed by the environmental managers of the municipalities throughout Brazil is an invaluable step towards the recognition of the Rights of Mother Earth within the country, a result of the dedicated work that has been carried out by Dr. Vanessa Hasson during the past few years. What follows from now on is promising.
The speaker was also accompanied by important specialists and members of the University of Ancient Wisdom (UOAW) in Brazil, Daosha, indigenous leader and president of the Acunhanhe Institute, who spoke about “Good Living and Indigenous Issues”; specialist in basic sanitation engineering, Marcia Nunes with the topic “Sanitation in harmony with nature”, and the OIDA therapist Juliana de Paula on “Good living and integrative medicinal policies in municipalities.”
University of Ancient Wisdom Brazil (UOAW) Brazil Team
In addition, leaders of the Shawādawa community accompanied the presentation invoking Mother Earth with their sacred chants.
Leaders of the Shawãdawa community support the request for the Rights of Nature before the Brazil Forum of Environmental Management, 2017.
LETTER FOR NATURE
As a result of ANAMMA’s leading role in conducting the Brazil Environmental Management Forum and MAPAS in the construction of the history of the recognition of the rights of nature in Brazil and the world in conjunction with the United Nations, reflecting its responsibilities in the process of creating and strengthening public policies for the consequent establishment of a way of life in harmony with Nature, the present letter is signed with the aim of establishing principles and norms that guide these policies.
CONSIDERING that there is an ecological crisis, with direct reflections on cities and their human and non-human populations throughout the world;
CONSIDERING that the ecological crisis includes an individual, collective and social crisis with reflections in all other systems within the Earth community;
CONSIDERING that environmental legislation has not been sufficient in the face of the paradigm shift in environmental awareness;
CONSIDERINGthat legislation in several countries, states and cities has adopted a non-anthropocentric perspective on nature, recognizing its intrinsic rights;
CONSIDERING that the United Nations, through the Harmony with Nature initiative, accepted at its 71st General Assembly the need to recognize the Rights of Nature and the institution of public policies based on interdisciplinary holistic perspectives, including science, art and spirituality;
RECOGNIZING that all beings on Earth possess a condition of interdependence and that the ecological crisis is a reflection of the poor sustainability of the relationships between them;
RECOGNIZING that we are a part of the planet – a living organism that concentrates several microsystems – and that the human being is just one of the microsystems exhausting the others;
RECOGNIZING that we are one of the components of Nature, which is not a separate entity from which we extract what we need to survive without consequences to ourselves. The evil we practice against Nature is the evil we practice against ourselves;
RECOGNIZING that throughout human history, natural resources and other elements of nature have been explored in an exacerbated manner, exceeding what is necessary for a balanced consumption, sharpening the condition of extinction of species and perpetuating the cruel and unsustainable exploitation of mineral resources, fauna and flora;
RECOGNIZINGthat if we continue to act degradingly and unconsciously, natural resources and other life support systems will end in catastrophic ruptures, risking functions essential to the maintenance and reproduction of life, including human life;
RECOGNIZING that throughout the last two centuries of the Anthropocene period, traditional knowledge and natural knowledge have been devalued by the advancement of scientific and technological knowledge, disconnecting the human being from their natural condition as a relational member of Earth systems;
CONSIDERING the fundamental role of cities in promoting the restoration of harmony among relationships between community members and Nature, as well as the citizen themself and the family;
The managers and public administrators present in the debate promoted by the MAPAS – Methods of Supporting Environmental and Social Practices (NGO) – that signed the present charter, undertake their best efforts for the inauguration or expansion of public preservation policies of the environment based on the following premises and guidelines:
1. The planning and implementation of public policies for the environment and health should be guided mainly by the principle of harmony with nature, considering the intrinsic value of each of the members that constitute the Earth and, thus, the Rights of nature;
2. Cities should be recognized as spaces of opportunity for the development of individual and collective relationships, as well as of these with other members of Nature;
3. City life in harmony with nature requires the presence of green areas, with the implementation and expansion of pedestrian, cycle tracks, plazas and parks, with respect to native biodiversity;
4. The soil of cities must be respected for its natural permeability and facility for creation and maintenance of systems that support life, such as the natural path of water and the germination of flora, as well as respect to wildlife and microorganisms;
5. Water is an essential element for life in harmony with Nature. In this way, they are dignitaries; this premise must be put into practice through the awareness and value of water as an element in connection with nature, considering the integrity of the hydrological cycle and the activities of promoting basic and environmental hygiene;
6. Rainwater must be respected, having the right to follow its own natural path and infiltrate urban soil, which should be as permeable as possible;
7. Rivers and urban streams where water flows must also be respected, human interference with its courses prohibited, and its banks should be protected by parks and other green areas;
8. The commodification of animal life should be one of the foundations of animal protection and welfare, encouraging the transformation of zoos into wildlife sanctuaries and the discouragement of economic activities based on the breeding and trade of domestic and exotic animals;
9. Public policies should seek to raise awareness of society as part of Nature, through individual and collective attitudes with respect to the other members of the human and non-human communities on Earth;
10. The implementation of an agenda should be established, establishing new guidelines for socio-environmental responsibility, which seeks to promote the awareness of children, youth and citizens regarding their importance as an integral element of Nature, and the dimension of the influence of human activities on systems that support life, promoting and disseminating concepts of natural values, social and personal ethics, as well as human integration with other elements of Nature;
11. The city agenda should provide for the value and spreading of ancient human knowledge and the internalization of traditional and natural knowledge from childhood, impacting individual and collective public health issues, and coexistence in harmony with Nature;
12. Recovery plans for degraded spaces should use the holistic and interdisciplinary concept of environmental recovery for the adoption of practices regarding the cure of the Earth;
13. Educational policies regarding sustainable consumption should focus on the value of human beings over simple consumer products, with awareness of the real basic needs;
14. Formal education at every level should be oriented according to the basic principles of the Rights of Nature and of a way of life in harmony with Nature; multi / interdisciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches should be included in teaching curriculum and research methodology disciplines in both primary and secondary education and at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
15. Environmental management must undergo a paradigm shift based on the current vision of natural resource management in order to contain a non-anthropocentric conceptualization, the establishment of a way of life based on relationships of harmony with and among all members of the community, Nature.
The present Letter for Nature was adopted by the participants in theRights of Nature and Public Policies in Cities, debates held during the Brazil Forum of Environmental Management, based on the collective thinking of the forum participants. The processes for the recognition of the Rights of Nature in various spheres of the Brazilian government and other countries, refers to their specificities which were contributed in this letter.
This document will remain open to signatures by any transformative institutions in society who want to base their principles on the adoption or strengthening of public and organizational policies, as well as to all human beings interested in integrating these principles in their activities.
Campinas, Brazil, July 10th, 2017.