Biographies of our Speakers, Participants and Moderators


  • María Valeria Berros, Argentina

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María Valeria Berros is a junior professor at the National University of Litoral and researcher at the National Council of Scientific and Technical Research in Santa Fe City, Argentina. She is Former Fellow of the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, LMU, Munich, Germany. She is invited professor at the Université de Limoges (France), Universidad de la República (Uruguay), Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidad de Cuyo y Universidad de Palermo (Argentina).

Director of the research project “Meulen. Renewal of legal contributions on the ecological problem” at the National University of Littoral where she is also director of the Virtual Courses “Rights of Nature. A theoretical, practical and interdisciplinary approach” and “Rights of Nature deepened” at the National University of the Littoral. She is Co-founder of the Civil Association “Capibara. Naturaleza, Derecho y Sociedad”. During the last ten years she has researched at the Sorbonne University, the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences in Paris, the Limoges University, and the Nantes University in different type of research projects: environmental risks & law; sciences, techniques & law; non-regression principle, risk and disasters;  law, food & land. Her current research focuses on matters concerning environmental law, rights of nature, environmental ethics and social movements in Latin America and the global south.

  • Tom Goldtooth, USA

Tom BK Goldtooth,  Dine’/Dakota, United States is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an international indigenous NGO based in Bemidji, Minnesota near the border of United States/Canada. A social change maker within the Native American community for over 36 years, has become an internationally renowned environmental, Climate and economic justice leader, working with many Indigenous People and social movements around the world. Tom co-produced the award-winning documentary, Drumbeat for Mother Earth, which addresses the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous people. Co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Nationality: United States.  President of the Fourth Rights of Nature Tribunal in Bonn, Germany.

  • Alberto Taxo, Ecuador

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Don Alberto Taxo is a master Iachak of the Atis (Kichwa) people from the Cotopaxi region of Ecuador. He was given the highest honor of Master Iachak by the Shamanic Council of South America. He generously shares ancient Andean wisdom and practices with people who seek happiness, balance and fulfillment. In his newly released book, Friendship with the Elements: Opening the Channels of Communication, Don Alberto invites us to connect with the elements of nature—Earth, Air, Fire, Water, and the 5th balancing element known as the Ushai. Through simple habits and practices in daily life, he teaches us to feel the sacredness of each moment and every place. Don Alberto’s way is powerful and gentle. He creates a space where each person can experience for themselves the truth and practical applications of the ancient Andean wisdom which he brings. Don Alberto has been sharing this wisdom for fifteen years in the United States and Europe. He was given this responsibility in 1989 at a great gathering of Andean Elders. This coming together of cultures marks the fulfilling of a five hundred year-old prophecy. The prophecy foretold the coming together of two great powers of life: the power of the Eagle (the power of the mind as exemplified in the industrialized nations of the North) and the power of the Condor (the power of the heart and connection with nature as exemplified in the natives of South America).

  • Zoila Castillo, Ecuador

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Zoila Castillo is a Kichwa leader of the territory of the Bobonaza Basin and coordinator of the mobilization of Amazonian women for life.

  • Alberto Ruz Bonfil, Mexico 

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Alberto Ruz Buenfil (born 1945) is a native of Mexico whose work is dedicated to social change, environmental sustainability, and the performing arts. He co-founded two international theater groups as well as Mexico’s first ecovillage, known as Huehuecoyotl. He led the 13-year Rainbow Peace Caravan, an international effort to promote sustainable design and permaculture, as well as theatrical performances, across seventeen countries of Latin America. He was also funded by Ashoka from 2002 to 2005, and received in the name of the Rainbow Peace Caravan, the prize “Escuela Viva” from the Brazilian President Lula da Silva and Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil, as one of the 60 most advanced projects in education in the country.

Ruz is the author of several books. At his return in 2009 from South America, he was invited to be part of a team at the ‘Direction of Culture’ of Coyoacán, México DF, where he created the project Ecobarrios and took it for three years to 10 different pueblos and barrios from that part of the city. From January to November 2013 he was Director of Environmental Culture in the state of Morelos, since 2014, he has been an adviser to the “Asamblea Legislativa”, from Mexico City, on the subject of the recently adopted Law of Rights of Mother Earth. He organized the 1st Global Forum for the Rights of Mother Earth in Mexico city, from June 1 to 5. His main purpose today is to contribute to the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth at the United Nations.

  • Verónica Sacta Campos, Mexico

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Verónica Sacta Campos is an activist born in Cuenca, Ecuador. She worked with different socio-environmental and spiritual movements and causes since she was very young. She has traveled through Latin-America and Europe, working with social projects for the promotion of a sustainable conscience and a Culture of Peace. She is of Cañari descent, guardian of ancestral traditions and ceremonies. From the Andean cosmovision, she carries the message of the Sumac Kawsay – or “Good living” and the Rights of Nature. Through her work she has shared seeds of consciousness, love, respect for life and deep connection with the Pachamama. She is an art educator, holistic therapist, ecofeminist and one of the pillars of the Council of Visions Guardians of the Earth.

  • César Montaño Galarza, Ecuador

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César Montaño Galarza is the Rector of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Ecuador, and the President of the Andean Center for International Studies (CAEI) of the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar. Cesar is a lawyer, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Universidad Nacional de Loja. He is a specialist in Taxation, Master in Economic Law and  Doctor of Law with a major in International Economic Relations.

He is also Professor of Law at ​​the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar since 1999, teaching the subjects: Contemporary Constitutionalism; Economic right; Economic analysis of Law; Cultural dimensions of the Law; Critical legal theory; Law and institutions of integration; Methodology of legal research; Right of treaties; International tax law; Andean and European community law; Organization of international trade; Tax material right; and Local tax regime.

  • Natalia Greene, Ecuador

Natalia Greene is part of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal’s Secretariat.  She was actively involved in the recent Constitution process in Ecuador, particularly with the ‘Rights to Nature’ clause and the role of civil society and indigenous people in the process. Natalia is a consultant for Rights of Nature with Pachamama Alliance and is the focal point in Ecuador for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She graduated in Hampshire College, holds a Political Science master’s degree from FLACSO Ecuador and a master’s degree from UASB on Climate Change. She promoted the recognition of Rights for Nature in Ecuador’s Constitution and has worked on the environmental and indigenous aspects of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative to keep oil underground in the Amazon. From 2011 until 2013, Natalia Greene was the President of CEDENMA, the National Coordinating Entity for Environmental NGO’s, now re-elected for the 2018-2020 period. Nowadays she coordinates the Climate Justice National Platform and works with Terra Mater and Fundación Pachamama.

  • Andrés Terán, Vice-chancellor of the Republic of Ecuador

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Andrés Terán Parral is a career diplomat, with more than 35 years of work in the Ecuadorian Foreign Service. In 1981 he began his diplomatic career as Third Secretary in the Department of Cultural Promotion and later served as Chief of the United States and Canada, in the Directorate of America. In the exercise of his work he worked in the Undersecretariat of Bilateral Affairs and in the Office of the Vice Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ambassador Terán was born in Lima in 1960 and during his youth he lived in Argentina, Brazil, El Salvador and Ecuador. He speaks English, French and Portuguese. The Government of Ecuador decorated him with the National Order “Al Mérito”. The Government of Chile granted him the National Order “Bernardo O Higgins.” The Government of Spain decorated him with the Order “Isabel la Católica¨. Ambassador Terán is a Doctor of Jurisprudence of the International University of Ecuador.

  • Cormac Cullinan, South Africa

Cormac Cullinan is an author, practicing environmental attorney and governance expert who has worked on environmental governance issues in more than 20 countries. He lives in Cape Town, South Africa and is a director of a specialist environmental and green business law firm ( of the governance consultancy, EnAct International ( ), and of the Wild Law Institute. His groundbreaking book “Wild Law A Manifesto for Earth Justice” has played a significant role in informing and inspiring a growing international movement to recognize rights for Nature. In 2008 he was included in Planet Savers. 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists, a book that profiles environmentalists throughout history. At the invitation of Bolivia, Cormac spoke at the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which was proclaimed on 22 April 2010 by the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia. In September 2010 he played a leading role in establishing a Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Alliance.

  • Alberto Acosta, Ecuador

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Alberto Acosta, Ecuadorian Economist. Before being appointed minister of energy and mines he was a researcher at the latin american institute of social research (ILDIS). He was also a researcher and professor at FLACSO-Ecuador. Former president of the constitutional Assembly that recognized Rights of Nature in Ecuador. Former candidate for the Presidency of the Republic of Ecuador. He is a college professor, lecturer and book author.

  • Rocío Silva Santisteban Manrique, Peru

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Rocío Silva Santisteban es activista, escritora, profesora universitaria y periodista en temas de género, derechos humanos y relaciones entre cultura y poder. Es Philosopher Doctor (PhD) por la Universidad de Boston, también es magíster en Literatura Latinoamérica (UMNSM), bachiller en Derecho y Ciencias Políticas (Universidad de Lima) y ha realizado un diplomado en estudios de género (Universidad Católica). Ha sido becaria de la Rockefeller Foundation, de CLACSO y de la Fundación AVINA. Su tesis doctoral El Factor Asco: basurización simbólica y discursos autoritarios fue publicada por la Red de Ciencias Sociales (2007). Ha sido Directora Ejecutiva de la Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos (2011-2015). Actualmente es columnista del diario La República (2007-2018), profesora de la Pontificia Universidad Católica y de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.

  • Pablo Solón, Bolivia

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Pablo Solón is a Bolivian social and environmental activist who was part of the struggle against water privatization in Cochabamba (2000) and La Paz (2005). He coordinated the movement against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (ALCA) in Bolivia (2001-2005). He was invited by Evo Morales to be Extraordinary Ambassador for Integration and Trade for Bolivia between 2006 and 2008. He served as Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations from January 2009 to July 2011. He parted ways with Evo Morales in September 2011 after the police repression to the indigenous people march of TIPNIS (Indigenous Territory and National Park Isiboro Secure). He served as Executive Director of Focus on the Global South based in Asia from 2012 to 2015. He is the son of the famous Bolivian muralist Walter Solón Romero Gonzáles and currently is the Director of Fundación Solón working on issues of energy, forests, climate change, investment and systemic alternatives.

  • Esperanza Martínez, Ecuador

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Esperanza Martínez is member and founder of the association Acción Ecológica in Ecuador. She was coordinator of the observatory for eco-political development of the Amazon area, and is co-founder of Oilwatch, an international network of organizations from the south, set up to defend delicate ecosystems and the ancient rights of the indigenous population against the impact of the extraction of petroleum. She is president of Office pro defense of nature and its rights. She is a biologist with expertise in environmental auditing, and currently lawyer. As a consultant to the Constitutional Assembly of Ecuador in 2008, she successfully pushed the introduction of new rights such as “nature as a subject of rights” and other environmental and human rights protections. In the last few years she focused her activities on the campaign to keep oil underground in the Yasuní National Park, one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, and home to the Waoroani indigenous peoples, She has published numerous articles and books on rights of nature, oil and environmental struggles in Ecuador.

  • María Mercedes Sánchez, USA

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Maria Mercedes Sanchez has over 20 years of experience working in the field of sustainable development and intergovernmental processes including the engagement of major groups and other stakeholders through every state of the implementation process of a variety of UN mandates.  She has worked extensively in the areas of research, report writing, project management and communications and has participated in four major United Nations Conferences on Sustainable Development: UNCED (1992), Rio+5 (1997), Rio+10 (2002), Rio+20 (2012) as well as in the preparations leading to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda adopted by the General Assembly in 2015. Since the inception of the UN Harmony with Nature Programme in 2009, she has been the coordinator of and leads the Programme in support of Earth Jurisprudence principles in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda across different stakeholders and with particular reference to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 12, target 12.8 “to ensure that people everywhere have the relevant information and awareness for sustainable development and lifestyles in Harmony with Nature”. The Harmony with Nature Programme strengthens interdisciplinary collaborations towards a non-anthropocentric or Earth-centered worldview and system of governance, known as Earth Jurisprudence. Earth Jurisprudence is a philosophy of law and human governance based on the idea that humans are only part of a wider community of beings and that the wellbeing of each member of that community is dependent on the wellbeing of the Earth as a whole. At the core of this worldview is the recognition of the intrinsic value of Nature and of relationships between humankind and our planet that are symbiotic, interconnected and subject to the natural laws of the Universe.

All the work related to the Programme can be found at

  • Katarina Hovden, Norway and Denmark


Katarina Hovden graduated with a BA (Honours) in Law from the University of Cambridge, where she took particular interest in European human rights law and European environmental law. Subsequently, Katarina obtained an LL.M. in International and European Law (public international law track), electing to focus on international environmental law, international climate law, and international human rights law.

At the same time, Katarina was a student editor for, and subsequently published in, the Oxford Reports on International Law in Domestic Courts. Following her graduation, Katarina worked as a research trainee at the T.M.C. Asser Institute and later as a diplomatic trainee at the Norwegian Embassy in The Hague. Katarina is a volunteer for the NGO Nature’s Rights and acted as conference coordinator for the Rights of Nature conference held at the European Parliament in March 2017. Most recently, Katarina was a legal intern at the International Seabed Authority in Kingston, Jamaica.

  • Vandana Shiva, India (virtually)

Vandana Shiva is a philosopher, environmental activist, and eco feminist. Shiva, currently based in Delhi, has authored more than 20 books and over 500 papers in leading scientific and technical journals. Among her books are Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace; Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development; and Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis. She was trained as a physicist and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

She is one of the leaders and board members of the International Forum on Globalization and a figure of the global solidarity movement known as the alter-globalization movement. She has argued for the wisdom of many traditional practices. She is a member of the scientific committee of the Fundación IDEAS, Spain’s Socialist Party’s think tank. She was awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1993.

  • Michelle Maloney, PhD, Australia-Oceania (virtually)

Michelle Maloney, PhD Australian Earth Laws Alliance

Michelle Maloney holds a Bachelor of Arts (Political Science and History) and Laws (Honours) from the Australian National University and a PhD in Law from Griffith University.  She has more than 20 years’ experience designing and managing climate change, sustainability and environmental justice projects in Australia, the United Kingdom and the USA.  Michelle met and fell in love with Earth jurisprudence and Wild Law in 2009 and since 2011 has been working to promote the understanding and practical implementation of Earth centred law and governance in Australia.

As Co-Founder and National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Michelle manages the strategic direction and governance of the organization, including the extensive partnerships and networks that AELA has with the legal, academic and environmental advocacy communities.  Michelle is author and co-editor of ‘Australian Wild Law Judgments Project’ (forthcoming 2016), co-edited with Nicole Rogers and Wild Law in Practice’, (2014) Routledge Press, Law, Justice.

  • Method Gundidza, South Africa


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Method Gundidza. “There is Method in his madness” (a line from Shakespeare’s ‘Hamlet’), is often used to refer to Method. No doubt many people would consider Method mad to relinquish a successful career in corporate finance and instead dedicate his life to working with communities committed to reviving their indigenous knowledge and practices, involving the search for lost or forgotten seeds and restoring their sacred natural sites and governance systems which are underpinned by Earth Jurisprudence and the Rights of Nature.  Method gave up his accounting career to dedicate himself to his calling, which he discovered in his early 40’s through emersing himself in the philosophy and practice of Earth Jurisprudence and accompanying communities in restoring their Earth – centered ways of life.

Through his work with his organisation, EarthLore’s, he pioneered the inspirational Back to Roots programme, working with traditional communities to reconnect with their ancestral relationship to their territory and open a path to take back control of their lives. He now leads the work with communities, applying an approach to reviving indigenous ways of living first developed in the Colombian Amazon. Rooted in this experience, he advocates passionately for the critical role that Earth-centred indigenous ways of thinking play in forging systemic alternatives to the destructive extractavist model of development. He graduated from the Gaia Foundation’s training for African Earth Jurisprudence practitioners in 2017, which mentored him in his exploration of   these ideas and practices.  In April 2018 he was invited to speak at the UN Harmony with Nature dialogue.  His good humour, passion and respect for communities, and his capacity to communicate is contagious.

  • Nnimmo Bassey, Nigeria (virtually)


Nnimmo Bassey (b.11 June, 58) is director of the ecological think-tank, Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) and member steering committee of Oilwatch International. He was chair of Friends of the Earth International (2008-2012) and Executive Director of Nigeria’s Environmental Rights Action (1993-2013). He was a co-recipient of the 2010 Right Livelihood Award also known as the “Alternative Noble Prize.” In 2012 he received the Rafto Human Rights Award. Bassey has authored books on the environment, architecture and poetry. His books include We Thought it Was Oil, But It was Blood –Poetry (Kraft Books, 2002), I will Not Dance to Your Beat – Poetry (Kraft Books, 2011), To Cook a Continent – Destructive Extraction and the Climate Crisis in Africa (Pambazuka Press, 2012) and Oil Politics – Echoes of Ecological War (Daraja Press, 2016).

  • Henny Freitas, Brazil

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Henny Freitas es periodista, ecoativista, fotógrafa, permacultora y educadora ambiental. Es co-fundadora, consejera y coordinadora del círculo de Alianzas por los Derechos de la Madre Tierra de CASA Latina (Consejo de Asentamientos Sustentables de América Latina); consejera y coordinadora de CASA Brasil y articuladora de la Red Nuevos Parques, São Paulo, Brasil. Es coordinadora del Círculo de Permacultura de la organización norteamericana SoFA (Sociocracy for All), cofundadora de AWIRE, Alianza Multiétnica de Permacultura y del proyecto EarthCode (Código Tierra: Autora del e-book: Sociocracia, nuevas formas de Democracia en América Latina. Investigó y documentó más de 200 comunidades intencionalmente sostenibles en Europa, Oceanía y América Latina. Promueve conferencias, charlas, talleres y cursos en las áreas de la Permacultura, Sociocracia, Diseño Social, ReciclARTE y continúa documentando comunidades étnicas, alternativas y convencionales en el mundo.

TEDx Talk:

  • Tāmati Kruger, Tūhoe – New Zealand


Tāmati Kruger was Tūhoe’s chief negotiator leading up to the iwi’s 2013 settlement with the Crown, and the landmark Te Urewera Act 2014 — world-leading legislation which declared the Tūhoe homeland a legal entity in its own right. Not owned by anyone, but “with its own mana and mauri”, and “an identity, in and of itself, inspiring people to commit to its care”. He was co-author of external review reports for the Department of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Māori Development, Te Puni Kookiri, the Ministry of Education, and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

  • Kirsti Luke, Tūhoe – New Zealand

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Kirsti Luke is Chief Executive of Tūhoe Te Uru Taumatua, Ngāi Tūhoe’s Tribal Authority. She holds a Bachelor of Law (LLB), is knowledgeable about the tribe’s treaty claims, and was involved in the establishment of Te Uru Taumatua. Her goal is to build the organization and the tribe’s economy and improve descendants’ quality of life. Her role includes recruiting management staff, building relationships with stakeholders and government agencies, developing policies to improve or coordinate options for housing, health and employment for Tūhoe and providing business recommendations to build up the tribe’s economy.

  • Gerrard Albert, New Zealand (virtually)


Mr. Gerrard Albert is of Nga Paerangi and Ngati Tuera, hapu (sub-tribes) of the Whanganui River. Between 2008 and 2016, Gerrard led the technical aspects of the negotiations between his Iwi (tribe), Te Ati Haunui a Paparangi, and the New Zealand Government in settlement of the longstanding Iwi claim over the Whanganui River. As a graduate of his Iwi whare wananga (tribal houses of knowledge), Gerrard has been guided by knowledgeable and influential Iwi leaders his whole life who consistently reinforced the maxim “Ko te Awa te tuatahi; tuarua ko te te Awa” (“The River is my first point of reference; the River is my second point”).

Gerrard has spent over 25 years working in the environmental planning field with local and central government and with his Iwi. He is currently Chair of Nga Tangata Tiaki o Whanganui Trust, the Iwi trust which is responsible for implementation of the Te Awa Tupua settlement signed in 2014. This settlement culminated in the passing of legislation in March 2017 and established the Whanganui River as a legal person.

  • Martín Vilela, Bolivia


Martín Vilela is responsible for climate justice and international advocacy of the Bolivian Platform against Climate Change. He has worked with social movements linked to water and the environment since 2006. In his work at the Bolivian Platform, he contributes to the creation of alliances for public and political advocacy with proposals that involve alternatives to development. Since 2015, he has been preparing a critical reading of the Bolivian reality from a perspective of climate justice.

  • Cecilia Moyoviri, Bolivia


Cecilia Moyoviri is the vice president of the Subcentral TIPNIS, the highest instance of legal representation for the Isiboro Sécure Indigenous Territory and National Park, representing the 64 communities of Mogia, Yurakarés and Chimanes of the TIPNIS. Cecilia is a defender of Mother Earth, her territory and TIPNIS as one of the most biodiverse areas on the planet. She is part of the struggle for the defense of the territory, which portrays a leadership that protects the inhabitants of the “Loma Santa” and everything that has life.

  • Mari Margil, USA

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Mari Margil leads the International Center for the Rights of Nature of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF).  CELDF has assisted the first places in the world to secure the Rights of Nature in law, including in Ecuador’s Constitution, and is a founding member of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.  Mari is working in Nepal, India, Australia, and other countries, as well as with tribal nations and indigenous peoples, to advance the Rights of Nature.  Mari received her Master’s degree from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.  She is a co-author of The Bottom Line or Public Health (Oxford University Press) and Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence (Wakefield Press).

  • Casey Camp, Ponca Nation – USA


Casey Camp-Horinek, Councilwoman  and Hereditary Drumkeeper of the Womens’ Scalp Dance Society, of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma is a longtime activists, environmentalist, actress, and published author.  First taking up the cause of Native and Human Rights in the early 70’s; it has been in the last 15 years  that she began her plea for Environmental Justice for her Ponca people as well as people around the globe. Calling it the “toxic tour”, Casey has identified, and diligently worked to remediate, and bring attention to the corridor of toxic environmental industry surrounding the historic lands of the Ponca people.

Having started at home with her efforts, Casey has since become a internationally renowned Environmentalist, speaking on such prestigious stages as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, marching on Washington DC with Moms for Clean Air, supporting the efforts of the Indigenous Environmental Network, and now serving as a Board Member of Movement Rights as well as on the International Advisory Committee of WECAN.  Casey was instrumental in the drafting, and adoption of the first ever International Indigenous Women’s Treaty protecting the Rights of Nature, a work of which she is most proud, and continues her support of grassroots environmental organizations and budding activists around the world.

  • Pella Thiel, Sweden

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Pella Thiel works with relational, systemic activism, change processes and leadership for a society in harmony with nature.

She is a co-founder and board member of the Swedish Transition Network, End Ecocide Sweden, Save the Rainforest Sweden and the swedish Network for Rights of Nature. She coordinated the first two Rights of Nature Conferences in Sweden. She has edited two books on nature interpretation and is currently working on a book on rights of nature. Pella has an MSc in Ecology from Stockholm University with the thesis on rainforest restoration in Ecuador. She enjoys pigs, her greenhouse (which has been under construction for four years) and having her hands in the soil at the smallholding in the archipelago of Stockholm where she lives. She is part of the eco-psychology/activist NGO Lodyn,  UN Harmony with Nature initiative and the Common cause international network.

  • Hilda Santi, Sarayaku – Ecuador

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Hilda Santi, Hija del Pueblo del Medio Día (Daughter of the People of the Midday), female leader and emblematic woman became the first woman president of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples of Pastaza – OPIP and first female president of the Native Kichwa People of Sarayaku. Hilda was one of the promoters to stop the entry of the oil company CGC into the territory of Sarayaku. Participant in multiple workshops on leadership and human rights at national and international level. She is currently a Sarayaku education leader.

The Native Kichwa People of Sarayaku never stopped with its struggle for life, for the jungle, for all the beings that inhabit it. Sarayaku developed large projects such as the Sisa Ñambi or Frontera de Vida, large circles of trees with colored flowers all around its territory. It recently declared its territory Kawsak Sacha, Living Forest – a living and conscious being, subject of rights with the aim of preserving and conserving territorial spaces, the material and spiritual relationship established there between the native peoples, the Living Forest and the beings that inhabit it.

  • Osprey Orielle Lake, USA

Osprey Orielle Lake is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). She works nationally and internationally with grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers and scientists to mobilize women for climate justice, resilient communities, systemic change and a just transition to a clean energy future. Osprey serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the visionary behind the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together 100 women leaders from around the world. She directs WECAN’s advocacy work in areas such as Women for Forests, Divestment/Investment, Indigenous Rights, Rights of Nature and United Nation Climate Conferences. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book, Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature.

  • Shannon Biggs, USA

Shannon Biggs is the co-founder and Executive Director of Movement Rights, advancing legal rights for communities, indigenous peoples and ecosystems.  Working in California and with Native American tribes and allies nationally, Shannon assists communities to ban harmful projects by passing binding laws that assert the rights of communities and nature over corporate projects.  Internationally she is a recognized leader of the rights of nature/Mother Earth movement, a co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, and the co-author/editor of two books including “The Rights of Nature, Making the Case for the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Nature.”  Though Movement Rights she also leads trainings on community rights and rights of ecosystems throughout the US.  Previously she was a senior staffer at Global Exchange and the International Forum on Globalization. She holds a Masters of Science degree from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Economics — Politics of Empire. Nationality: United States.

  • Maude Barlow, Canada

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Maude Barlow is the Honorary Chairperson of the Council of Canadians and chairs the board of Washington-based Food and Water Watch. She serves on the executive of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is a Councillor with the Hamburg-based World Future Council.

Maude is the recipient of fourteen honorary doctorates as well as many awards, including the 2005 Right Livelihood Award (known as the “Alternative Nobel”), the 2005 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Fellowship Award, the Citation of Lifetime Achievement at the 2008 Canadian Environment Awards, the 2009 Earth Day Canada Outstanding Environmental Achievement Award, the 2009 Planet in Focus Eco Hero Award, and the 2011 EarthCare Award, the highest international honour of the Sierra Club (US).

In 2008/2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Water to the 63rd President of the United Nations General Assembly and was a leader in the campaign to have water recognized as a human right by the UN. She is also the author of dozens of reports, as well as 18 books, including her latest, Blue Future: Protecting Water For People And The Planet Forever and Boiling Point, Government Neglect, Corporate Abuse and Canada’s Water Crisis.

  • Pablo Piedra Vivar, Ecuador

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Pablo Piedra Vivar, currently serves as Coordinator of the Ombudsman’s Office in zone 7 (El Oro, Loja and Zamora). He is a lawyer defending human rights and nature rights. as well as a university teacher. He graduated as a lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, and has an LL.M. from the American University of Washington D.C. Even before joining the Ombudsman’s Office, he was a spokesperson for the collective YASunidos, a collective to which he has helped defend regarding the rights of the groups that are in volutary isolation, Yasuní park and the human rights association in relation to those causes. He worked advising the Municipality of Cuenca to articulate actions to make the city free of metallic mining and in this context, he participated in the case of Río Blanco and the Loma Larga project.

  • Mario Melo, Ecuador

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Mario Melo, lawyer and Ecuadorian university professor. For two decades he has been working in the defense and promotion of the rights of the Amazonian indigenous peoples. He has been a lawyer of the Kichwa People of Sarayaku before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and currently represents victims before the Universal System and the Inter-American Human Rights System. Author of several international publications on the Rights of Nature. He currently directs the Center for Human Rights of the Catholic University of Ecuador, and is a graduate professor at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar.

  • Hugo Echeverría, Ecuador 

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Hugo Echeverría works in environmental law since 2001, with emphasis on international law and biodiversity conservation as well as the environmental rule of law; areas in which he practices as an attorney and consultant.

Attorney at Law and Doctor of Jurisprudence granted by Pontificia Universidad Católica de Quito, Ecuador. Master of Laws (LL.M) granted by McGill University in Montreal – Quebec, Canada. Alumni of the Chevening Fellowship Program, directed by The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, on Environmental Governance at Wolverhampton University – United Kingdom. Hugo Echeverria is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law of IUCN as well as a member of the Ecuadorian Foro de Abogados. He is also collaborator of the Latin American Network of Environmental Public Ministry.

Hugo lived in the Galapagos Islands for five years, where he worked on marine and coastal legal issues from the perspective of world natural heritage sites, enforcement rights and access to justice.

Hugo’s current academic and professional interests focus on comparative approaches to constitutional environmental rights (constitucionalismo ambiental latinoamericano); the role of the judicial system in advancing environmental law; and the emerging paradigm of Nature as a subject of rights.

  • Cecilia Chérrez, Ecuador

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Cecilia Chérrez, Ecuadorian Ecologist, prepared a report on the ecological debt of the shrimp industry, from analyzing the destruction caused by it in the mangrove ecosystem of Ecuador. In several territorial spaces her work includes contributing to a transition from the model of conventional agriculture to agroecology, in which the restoration of the health of soil, water and native seeds is important; as well as the overcoming of  forest plantations by the restoration of the native vegetation.

  • Norie Huddle, USA/Ecuador

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Norie Huddle has written seven published books (three bestsellers) on environmental issues and on transforming humanity.  Growing up in the woods of northern Virginia, Norie’s background is eclectic and international.  She was an exchange student in Italy, a Russian language graduate of Brown University, a Peace Corps Volunteer in Colombia, and spent four years in Japan working with the environmental movement and writing a landmark book on Japan’s environmental crisis (1975) and its global implications. After a 9-month, 5000-mile bicycle trip across America (1976), Norie helped launch America’s antinuclear movement through Mobilization for Survival. Then, realizing we need a ‘new kind of positive movement’ to transform humanity, she created the Center for New National Security and began using her holistic systems training to design new systems that can enable a peaceful and sustainable global civilization. During the 1980s, Norie visited the USSR on numerous occasions as a citizen diplomat. Her 1984 book Surviving:  The Best Game on Earth, was a NYT Bestseller and introduced The Best Game on Earth—  Her 1990 book, Butterfly, has given birth to a global meme of transformation now used widely by people like Deepak Chopra, Barbara Marx Hubbard and many other spiritual leaders around the world. Norie is an Advanced Practitioner of the Voice Dialogue Process, consults, writes and does executive coaching and public speaking on personal, organizational and planetary transformation.  She and her husband live part-time in Ecuador where they are creating the Garden of Paradise, a small healing and retreat Center.  In 2011, they won Ecuador’s (and the world’s) first lawsuit defending the Rights of Nature.

  • Luis Armando Tolosa, Colombia

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Luis Armando Tolosa Villabona, is a lawyer and graduate in Education, Philosophy and Letters, specialist in Commercial Law, Private Economic Law, Public Law, Constitutional Procedural Law, Criminal Law and Criminology and Family Law Institutions; Master in Teaching Models and Procedural Law. He has been a litigation lawyer for more than twenty years, public defender and magistrate of superior courts in Colombia, also a member of sports courts. He was elected by the Notary Public Merit Contest of Bogotá. He is currently the Chief Magistrate of the Civil Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Colombia, the oldest in the country; and for whose Room he obtained the certification of quality standards in 2015.

He has been a university professor and lecturer in different universities in the disciplines of Law and Philosophy, both undergraduate and postgraduate. He has been an academic pair evaluator of professional programs of Law and specialization, expert or peer evaluator of scientific articles for indexed journals. Among other works, he has published the titles: “Current Problems of Cassation and Challenges in the Social State of Law”, “Cassation, Guardianship, Ways of Fact and Fundamental Rights”, “Theory and Technique of Cassation” and “Charta, our land. “As a judge of the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia, he has defended the protection of the environment and animal rights with his decisions, the consolidation of a Constitutional and Social State of law, built on the basis of an ecological public order. He advocates for the defense of the fundamental rights of all people, and for the extension of the category-subject of Law to all nature, as an instrument of protection to the environment, as well as the application of conventional regimes and of international instruments in the domestic law of States.

  • Jorge Iván Palacio, Colombia

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Jorge Iván Palacio is a Colombian lawyer from the Universidad Autónoma Latinoamericana de Medellín, has a Master’s degree from the Sergio Arboleda University in Bogotá and has attended multiple seminars and diploma courses internationally. He has represented the Colombian State in several conferences before the Organization. International Labor Office, in Geneva, Switzerland. His professional career has been developed for more than 40 years in the public sector, specifically in the Judicial Branch where he began as a judge in several municipalities of the department of Antioquia, to be a judge of the Labor Chamber of the Court of Medellín. Later he was a Magistrate of the Labor Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, a position he held for about twelve years. Then I practiced the profession of independent lawyer for nine years, always dedicated to labor law, social security and the constitutional. In 2009, he was nominated by the Supreme Court of Justice and then elected by the Senate of the Republic of Colombia as a member of the Constitutional Court, a dignity he held until February 2017. In his tenure in this high corporation he stood out for the independence in its decisions, to constantly seek the protection of the environment, to tend for the recognition of fundamental rights to animals and in general to nature. He traveled throughout the country with the gender commission of the Judicial Branch of Colombia, promoting the rights of women, indigenous people, Afros and the LGTBI community. He is currently dedicated to his law office, to research and to attend various academic forums where human rights and nature issues are discussed. He is a member of the FIFA disciplinary committee.

  • Gabriela Eslava Bejarano, Colombia

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Gabriela Eslava is a lawyer and has worked in the Congress of the Republic of Colombia, with initiatives and community participation in environmental matters, economic incentives for the conservation of biodiversity, payment for environmental services, right to water and animal rights. Her topics of interest are related to the formulation of public policies on environmental matters and constitutional litigation. She currently works as a researcher in the Litigation area at Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad (Dejusticia) in Bogotá, and is one of the researchers who made the first legal action on climate change and the rights of future generations in Latin America, and also belongs to the group of 25 young plaintiffs of this legal action.

  • Jesús Davíd Medina, Colombia

Jesús David Medina is a lawyer and an anthropologist from the Universidad de los Andes (Bogotá, Colombia). He works as a researcher in the Litigation area at Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad (Dejusticia), and is part of the group of 25 youth activists of the first tutelage on climate change and future generations in Latin America.

  • Juan Sebastian Acosta, Colombia

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Juan Sebastián Acosta is an artist graduated from the National University of Colombia, researcher of the body in movement, activist and biocultural manager. Juan has several years of experience in event production and network management. He has led community pedagogy processes, such as the Escuela ZewuaCultural where he has facilitated spaces for the application of the Colibrí Pedagogy and his methodology of the Cultivation of the Seed Being.

Since 2016, he is co-director of the Fundación GaiaUnionSpiral, through which he articulates projects of social and environmental impact, such as the Earth Festival (2012-2018) and the permaculture workshops “Siembra Semilla Universo del Aula ZewaCultural”. He is currently working in partnership with the Universidad de Sabiduría Ancestral, Raices de la Tierra Colombia, the Council of Sustainable Settlements in Latin America as coordinator and manager of the 3rd International Forum for the Rights of Nature in Colombia, 2019.

  • Manari Ushigua, Sápara – Ecuador


Manari Ushigua is from the Sápara Nation in the Ecuadorian Amazon, of which there are less than 500 people remaining. He is a traditional healer and leader—the akameno (authority)—of his nationality. The Sápara Nation of Ecuador is recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” because their language and culture are in danger of disappearing.

In Manari’s territory, his father was in charge of leading the protection of the forest and guiding the life of Sápara families inside the territory. After he passed away in 1999, Manari was designated as his successor to lead the territorial defense and was given the responsibility of taking his role as a healer and leader of the Sápara Nationality.

  • Patricia Gualinga, Sarayaku – Ecuador


Patricia Gualinga is a defender of native rights and Mother Earth, and the former foreign affairs leader of the Native Kichwa People of Sarayaku, a community located in the Ecuadorian Amazon. Patricia’s leadership has contributed to the struggle of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku for the protection of the Living Forest in their ancestral territories. Patricia Gualinga presented a historical case before the Inter-American Human Rights System (SIDH) that ended in 2012. The Native Kichwa people of Sarayaku is now facing other threats  such as oil extraction projects by Chinese companies in their territory, and the long conflict over the exploitation of the sacred Bobonaza basin.

Patricia is known nationally and internationally because of her ongoing work in defending the rights of native people and the call she has made to amplify the call to keep fossil fuels underground in the Amazon.

  • Ati Quigua, Colombia

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Ate Quigua grew up in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. As a young woman, she became the first indigenous woman to be elected to occupy a seat in the Council of Bogotá. She has experience in the public sector and has focused her efforts on proposing solutions to the situation of vulnerability, exclusion, violence and discrimination against rural people, ethnic groups, especially women and children, through the formulation of public policy guidelines. Ati is a promoter of respect for human rights and the rights of nature in national and international spaces, with experience in the defense of the accompaniment of ethnic communities, women and young people in the processes of formulating public policies. She is also the winner of the Daniele Po 2016 International Award, which has an international tradition of recognition of women and associations working for the environment and Human Rights.

  • Mindahi Bastida, Mexico

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Mindahi Crescencio Bastida Muñoz is the director of the Original Caretakers Initiative at the Center for Earth Ethics. He is the General Coordinator of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi people, in Mexico. He has a PhD in Rural Development and is the President of the Mexico Council of Sustainable Development.

Bastida Muñoz is a member of the Steering Committee and ambassador of the Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians, an international movement that advocates for the recognition of the rights of nature and the crime of ecocide, as well as of future generations. He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the Indigenous Peoples’ Biocultural Climate Change Assessment Initiative.

  • Gert-Peter Bruch, France

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Gert-Peter Bruch has been engaged since 1989 with the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, Gert-Peter Bruch is founder of the NGO “Planète Amazone”, which ensures the respect of their rights and the recognition of those of nature. In this context, he organized numerous field missions and awareness campaigns, including three international tours of Cacique Raoni Metuktire, emblematic defender of the Amazon rainforest. Gert-Peter Bruch is also a film director and co-founder and member of the Executive Committee of the “Alliance of Mother Nature’s Guardians”, an international movement which initiates proposals and actions to fight against global warming and preserve living conditions viable for future generations.

●     Valerie Cabanes, France

Valerie Cabanes is a lawyer in international law with an expertise in international humanitarian law and human rights. She spent 18 years leading international programs in the fields of health and human rights for people with disabilities, women and children exploited and abused, street children and refugees. Since 2006, she has been involved in defending the rights of indigenous people. She started a PhD in Legal Anthropology in northern Quebec with the Innu people and then became involved in the defense of their ancestral territory threatened by large hydroelectric dam projects. In 2011, she also opposed such industrial projects in the Brazilian Amazon, in particular the Belo Monte dam, by preparing reports debated in the United Nations Human Rights Council or the European Parliament. In 2013, she participated in the launch of a European citizens’ initiative proposing a European directive on the crime of ecocide. Then, in 2015, she worked on a proposal for amendments to the Statute of the International Criminal Court on the crime of ecocide given to Ban Ki Moon at COP21. Valerie also co-organized during COP21 the 3rd International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature which took place in Paris in December 2015, then in 2016 in The Hague, the one organized by The Monsanto Tribunal foundation. She is, since 2016, part of the Harmony with Nature Knowledge Network. She contributed to 7 collective books and she is the author of Un nouveau Droit pour la Terre, pour en finir avec l’écocide (Paris, Seuil, 2016) translated by Natraj Publishers under the title Rights for the Earth (New Delhi, 2018), and Homo Natura, en harmonie avec le vivant (Paris, Buchet/Chastel, 2016).

  • Samanta Novella, France

Samanta Novella lives in Paris. She is French and was raised in Paraguay. She is the director of the NGO NatureRights and an artistic director. She gives a lot of time and energy to the End Ecocide movement, helping to organize, fund and promote our public events, as she truly believes that the recognition of the crime of ecocide will help to protect the rights of nature. She is very grateful for this initiative and proud of NatureRights for being a partner of such a movement. She was a key ally in the organization of the Third International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris, France.

  • Marine Calmet, French Guiana

Marine Calmet is a lawyer from the Nature Rights NGO, committed to the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and the protection of the rights of Nature against extractive industrial projects in French Guiana.
  • Vanessa Hasson, Brazil

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Vanessa Hasson is the Executive Director of NGO MAPAS has successfully advanced municipal laws and policies to increase enforcement of Rights of Nature in Brazil. She got succesfully the aprovement of the first law in Brazil which recognizes the Nature´s Rights, in the city of Bonito and also at the city of Paudalho, both in the State of Pernambuco and is working with the cities of São Paulo, Fortaleza, Palmas, Caseara, Alto Paraíso and Florianópolis to reach the recognition of Nature’s Rights there.

Vanessa was the organizer of the 2º Internacional Forum for the Rights of Mother Earth (3 – 4 of June/2018, São Paulo, Brazil).

Vanessa is the author of the first book about Rights of Nature in Brazil. She holds a PhD in Environmental Law with a concentration in Rights of Nature and a Master degree with a concentration in Water Policies, from the PUC/SP – Catholic University of São Paulo. Professor of  Environmental Law at many NGOs that improve environmental education programs. She is an specialist lawyer at University of São Paulo at Public Health University. As a lawyer and consultant of many NGOs, has been an actor to enforcement of the Rights of Nature issue in many sustainability programs.

  • Germana de Oliveira Moraes, Brazil


Germana de Olivares Moraes is Brazilian. Founder and  Guide of Pachamama Nation, eco-spiritual and cultural Movement ( and the national coordinator of the New democratic constitutionalism Latin American Network and presides the IAWJ’S Brazilian Chapter (International Association of Women Judges). 

She holds a Master degree in Law from the Federal University of Ceará – Brazil (1989), Doctorate degree in Legal-Political Science from the University of Lisbon – Portugal (1998) and Specialization (LL.M) in Psychology in the Training Course for carer’s of Women´s Circle, Minas Gerais-Brazil.(2009). Trainee in Family Constellation by Bert Hellinger Institute. Post-Doctoral Degree in Socio Enviromental  Law (Pachamama’s rights and Well living) from the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná, PUC/PR, Curitiba, Brazil (2011-2013).

Professor of Constitutional Law at the Federal University of Ceará, where she teaches since 1989 and currently has  academic research projects. She develops studies and research of political content such as: Pachamama’s rights; New Democratic Latin American Constitutionalism and Jurisdiction and South American integration; environmental content: nature’s rights, the civilizational model inspired by the “Well Living”, the new water law and programs of food sovereignty and also studies and research of socioeconomic content.

  • Enrique Viale, Argentina

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Enrique Viale is an environmental lawyer. He became a lawyer in 2000, graduating from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) and then conducting postgraduate studies in the same house of studies, specializing in Environmental Law. In 2004, he founded, together with other young colleagues, the Asociación Argentina de Abogados Ambientalistas (AAdeAA). He is a professor at the Faculty of Law (UBA) and a guest at other universities.

He is a critic of the “development” model based on unlimited growth, promoter of the Rights of Nature and has coined the concept of “urban extractivism” to refer to the role of real estate speculation in urban and peri-urban areas. He is also the author of several articles addressing Development, Politics, Law and Environmental Justice published in Argentina and abroad.

  • Álvaro Vallejo, Ecuador

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Álvaro Vallejo is a Colombian-Costa Rican national, he holds a Master’s degree in Forest Management and Biodiversity Conservation from the Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center -CATIE. Expert in management of forest plantations, forest carbon, non-timber forest products and software development.  He is the author of several software related to tree species, forest management, forage crops, carbon modeling in landscapes, forest management and growth models, all this developed while working at CATIE and as a consultant to the World Bank. He has work experience in most Latin American countries and some African and Asian countries.

  • María Cristina Puente, Ecuador

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María Cristina Puente, lawyer and master´s degree in Social Sciences, specialized in environmental social studies. The last fifteen years, she has worked on governance, conservation and sustainable development projects in the private sector-NGO´s- and closely linked to national and local public policy formulation and governmental administration assistance. Member of CEL – UICN, IUFRO LAC and Sociedad Ecuatoriana de Derecho Forestal y Ambiental SEDEFA.

  • Francisco Hurtado Caicedo, Ecuador


Francisco Hurtado Caicedo is a lawyer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador, with a specialization in Human Rights from the UASB-Ecuador and a Master’s Degree in sociology from FLACSO Ecuador. He is currently Deputy of Human Rights and Rights of Nature of the Defensoría del Pueblo del Ecuador.

  • Ramiro Ávila Santamaría, Ecuador

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Ramiro Ávila holds a PhD in Legal Sociology from the University of the Basque Country. Master of Law from Columbia University (New York). Master in Legal Sociology from the University of the Basque Country-International Institute of Legal Sociology (Oñati). Lawyer and graduate in Legal Science from the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Ecuador (PUCE). Professor of Law in ​​the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar-Sede Ecuador, directs the Law Area and coordinates the international Master’s Degree in Law Research. He is author and editor of several publications, among them: The Andean Neoconstitutionalism (Quito 2016), The criminal (in) justice in the constitutional democracy of rights (Quito 2013), Neoconstitucionalismo transformador (Quito 2011), Rights and guarantees. Critical essays (Quito 2010).,

  • Colin D. Robertson, Luxembourg

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Colin Robertson is a Scottish lawyer (Aberdeen University (1971-1975), a member of the Law Society of Scotland and a former member of the Legal Service of the Council of the European Union, Directorate for Quality of Legislation. Before retiring in September 2013, he worked as legal-linguistic reviser (‘lawyer-linguist’) at the EU Council in Brussels, Belgium, checking and revising draft EU legislative texts in English. He has knowledge of several languages, including English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Czech, Slovak and Bulgarian. He is interested in legal language and has written many articles on it, including a book Multilingual Law: A Framework for Analysis and Understanding (2016, 2018, Routledge), and with his spouse Michèle Perrin- Taillat he is currently researching for a book on Wild Law, Earth Law and Rights of Nature as concepts for law-making. His interest in Environmental Law is long-standing. He is a member of UKELA Wild Law Group, the ELGA network, Le Pic Vert (France), SEED (Luxembourg), and many other nature networks. He is an expert with the UN Harmony with Nature Programme. He assists with the annual Geneva Forum on Rights of Nature held by Objectif Sciences International.

Contact info:,

  • Linda Sheehan, USA

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Linda Sheehan is Senior Counsel at the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF), where she manages programs, advances investment and philanthropic solutions to climate change, and provides legal counsel. Prior to LDF, she was Executive Director of Earth Law Center, where she advocated for nature’s rights. Ms. Sheehan also ran the California Coastkeeper Alliance and Pacific Region office of Ocean Conservancy, where she successfully advanced federal and state statutes, policies and litigation to: fund and enforce clean water laws, publicize environmental data, curtail sewage and oil spills, establish marine protected areas, and create sustainable water supply strategies. For her efforts in “fight[ing] pollution of the Pacific and the streams and rivers that flow into it,” Ms. Sheehan was recognized as a California Coastal Hero by Sunset Magazine and the California Coastal Commission. Ms. Sheehan holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, an M.P.P. from U.C. Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, and a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley Law School. She is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law, and she developed and taught “Earth Law” as Summer Faculty at Vermont Law School. Ms. Sheehan has authored chapters in multiple books, including the upcoming “The Rights of Nature: Guiding Our Responsibilities through Standards,” with Craig Kauffman (Cambridge University Press, late 2018).

  • Esteban Falconí, Ecuador

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Esteban Falconí, is an Ecuadorian lawyer specialized in environmental law and human rights with 15 years of experience in design, development and implementation of regulatory instruments and public policy. He obtained his law degree from PUCE, and a master’s degree in Environmental Law and Natural Resources from Lewis & Clark University in the USA. Among his main areas of expertise are: biodiversity conservation; creation, management and financial sustainability of protected areas; protection and guarantee of indigenous rights and territories; intellectual property, regulation of biotechnology and bioethics; planning and territorial planning; agro-biodiversity, food sovereignty and farmers’ rights; integral management of solid waste and inclusive recycling, among others. He has worked in the public, academic, private and non-governmental sectors, and has a large technical and empirical background that makes it easier to work with people from different backgrounds at various levels, from local communities to national authorities or international cooperation agencies.

  • Pamela Martin, USA


Pamela Martin (USA) is a Professor of Politics at Coastal Carolina University in Conway,
South Carolina, where she teaches courses in International Relations and Environmental
Politics.  Martin was awarded the university Distinguished Teacher Scholar and was a Fulbright Scholar in Ecuador, focusing on environmental governance of the Amazon.  She has published four books and numerous articles on International Relations and Environmental Policy. Her recent co-edited volume entitled Ending the Fossil Fuel Era was awarded the Best Book Award of Environmental Studies in the International Studies
Association. Martin is currently the Executive Director of the United Nations Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development in Georgetown and the new United Nations Global Youth Initiative in the county.  Her current work focuses on areas of energy and sustainable development in our region and around the world and includes a NOAA grant-funded project to study sea level rise and flooding in our community. She is working on a book manuscript on Rights of Nature, approaches to Earth Jurisprudence toward Sustainable Development in the 21 st Century.

  • Craig Kauffmanm, USA

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Dr. Craig Kauffman is Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at the University of Oregon. Much of his research analyzes the application of Earth law around the world as a tool for realizing a more sustainable approach to development. Craig’s research seeks to understand the obstacles that arise during efforts to implement Earth law and identify strategies for overcoming these obstacles. He does this by conducting in-depth field research in countries that have implemented rights of nature laws (including Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand, India, and the US).

Currently, Craig is implementing a global survey designed to map transnational rights of nature networks in order to create a global dataset of individuals and organizations working on Earth-centered law as well as identify opportunities for increased collaboration and more effective targeting of resources. Craig is also a member of the United Nations Knowledge Network on Harmony with Nature and works with Rights of Nature-Community Rights Lane County, Oregon, to advance rights of nature in his local community.

  • Oliver Houck, USA


Dr. Houck is Professor of Law and the David Boies Chair of Public Interest Law at Tulane University.  He served as an Assistant US Attorney in Washington where he launched some of the first federal environmental cases, and then as General Counsel to the National Wildlife Federation, before joining the faculty at Tulane.  He has published five books and more than 50 law review articles on environmental law with an emphasis on water and wildlife issues, including a recent piece on the Rights of Nature. He hosted the first US symposium on this issue, organized by CELDF, last year at Tulane.

Further information on his work is available at

“Noah’s Second Voyage: The Rights of Nature as Law”, written by Oliver, provides background for Symposium participants on developments around the world, with particular focus on laws of the United States and the challenges facing these laws going forward.  It also proposes a framework for Rights of Nature decisions that could be useful going forward. To download the document, please click here!

  • Juan Gualinga, Sarayaku – Ecuador

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Juan Ingaro Gualinga Montalvo was born in 1963, and is of Kichwa origin, from Sarayaku. He studied ancestral medicine from an early age, (Yachag Ayahuaskca – Shamán). His first teacher was Sabino Gualinga, his father, acquiring knowledge also from relatives, such as his uncles. Soon he will work with teachers from Peru, Brazil Colombia. In 2000, he made his first trip to the United States, where he presented a UN exposition to 5,000 priests, such as the Dalai Lama and Navajo teachers, Cherokees, Apaches, and Hopies. He got initiated in peyote with Native-American Indians and later went on to further his studies with Huichol masters in Mexico for three months. In Puerto Rico, he incurred in studies in the field of herbal medicine and massage. He traveled to Europe (Berlin, Vienna and France), to the stock market and ancestral knowledge and manages to place Ecuador in second place in ancestral medicine.


  • Alessandro Pelizzon, Italy

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Alessandro Pelizzon is Italian by birth and Australian by choice, Alessandro completed his LLB/LLM in Law in Italy specializing in comparative law and legal anthropology. His thesis comprised a field research project on pre-Colombian family protocols in the Andes of Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Alessandro has been involved in Indigenous rights since his university years, when he established a research group with which he participated in and supported the drafting of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Geneva. His PhD thesis, conducted at the University of Wollongong and completed in 2011 focused on native title and legal pluralism in the Illawarra. In 2010, Alessandro began to explore the emerging discourse on rights of nature, Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence. His main area of interest in this field is the intersection between this emerging discourse and different legal ontologies, with a particular focus on Indigenous legal structures. Alessandro has organised the Second Australian Conference on Wild Law and Earth Jurisprudence in 2010, he is one of the founding members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance and he has contributed to establish the Earth Laws Network at Southern Cross University. Alessandro?s main areas of research are legal anthropology, legal theory, comparative law, sovereignty, Indigenous rights, ecological jurisprudence and international environmental law.

  • Atossa Soltani, Iran


Atossa Soltani is the Founder and Board President of Amazon Watch, a nonprofit organization founded in 1996 to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous peoples of the Amazon Basin.  Atossa served as Amazon Watch’s first executive director for 18 years and continues to serve the organization as a board member and spokesperson.  Currently Atossa is working as the senior strategist for the Amazon Sacred Headwaters Initiative, a collaboration involving a dozen Amazonian indigenous nations of Ecuador and Peru together Amazon Watch and the Pachamama Alliance.  Atossa is a skilled campaign strategist, a storyteller and a rainforest expert.

For the past 28 years, Atossa has been leading global campaigns that have resulted in groundbreaking victories for rainforest protection, indigenous rights, and corporate accountability.   For her advocacy efforts on global climate policy, the New Zealand-based Sir Edmund Hillary Institute chose Soltani as the 2013 Hillary Laureate for Leadership in Climate Equity.

Prior to Amazon Watch, Atossa directed campaigns at the Rainforest Action Network that lead to key victories including ending clear-cut logging practices in Canada and forcing Hollywood Studios to end their use of rainforest wood in movie sets.  She served as the Energy and Water Conservation Program Director for the City of Santa Monica from (1988-91).

  • Bill Twist, USA

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Bill Twist is a co-founder of The Pachamama Alliance and serves as its Chief Executive Officer. Bill has an extensive background in business, having worked in the management consulting business and then in the equipment leasing and financial services industries since 1970.

He was the senior vice-president for financial services for Comdisco, a New York Stock Exchange company, and served on its Board of Directors from 1980 to 1990. He is the former President of Champion Securities Company, an NASD registered broker-dealer that develops software and financial products for the investment industry.

Bill is a founding member of the executive committee of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. He served on the Board of Directors of the Centro Economicos Derechos y Sociales in Ecuador, an NGO working on economic and social rights issues in the Andes countries in South America, and on the Board of the Kapawi Ecolodge in Ecuador.

Bill has a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Stanford University and a master’s degree in business administration from Northwestern University.

  • Cecilia Niezen, Perú

Cecilia Niezen (Peru). Journalist, she has worked on Peruvian and regional media such as El Comercio, América Economía, Economía & Sociedad and La Revista Agraria. She has collaborated with media such as Poder, Mongabay Latam, La Mula, and Vistazo (Ecuador). It mainly follows topics related to economy, extractive industries, climate change and human rights. He has been responsible for communications from Oxfam in Peru and regional communications manager for the Oxrece Crece campaign. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the University of Salamanca (public policies and public health), is a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP) and is part of the Citizen Movement against Climate Change (Mocicc).

  • Diego Saavedra Celestino

Diego Saavedra Celestino (Peru), with studies in Anthropology and experience in project management, research and work with indigenous organizations and international cooperation institutions, accompanying training processes, training leaders with a gender approach; organizational strengthening and technical advice. He is currently a specialist in the DAR Rights and Amazon Program, generating analysis and technical contributions on the rights and participation of indigenous peoples, as well as evaluating the impacts generated from the development of extractive activities in indigenous territories. 

  • Ivet Lescano, Perú

Ivet Lescano (Peru), works in the Agency of Evaluation and Environmental Inspection (OEFA) in Peru. Likewise, she ispart of the legal team of the Citizen Movement in the face of Climate Change, where they are preparing to elaborate a normative proposal that makes visible the need of the change to renewable energy in Peru.

  • José Bayardo Chata, Perú

José Bayardo Chata (Peru), lawyer by profession, responsible for the Training Area of the Human Rights and Environment institution of Puno, Peru. I have been working in this field since 2014 carrying out legal training work in favor of Aymara Quechua peasant communities in the region, and assuming judicial and administrative cases in defense of the rights of these indigenous peoples against the State and private companies, within the framework of extractive context number, applying non-violent alternative means of solving socio-environmental conflicts, with intercultural vision and gender perspective.

  • Kandy Maku, Colombia 

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Kandy Maku Busintana, is an indigenous singer born in the Sierra Nevada of Santa Marta, Colombia. He is a vallenato music singer, composer and analyst, especially in themes of ancestral thought from his Arhuaca ethnic group. His experiences, songs, compositions and even phrases, reached all corners of Colombia thanks to his participation in the novel Diomedes Díaz “El Ídolo de las Multitudes”. Now he wants to share with Colombia and the whole world an “evolved Evmadwgwi”, which in the indigenous language means “an evolved greeting”, because he considers that citizens are currently applying ideals different to what has been established throughout history by the great Mamos of the Sierra Nevada. He is an activist for nature in his country with multiple presentations in Colombia and around the world.

  • Lorena Del Carpio Suarez, Perú

Lorena Del Carpio Suarez, Perú. Professional trajectory dedicated to climate change and human rights in non-governmental organizations, currently in the Belgian organization 11.11.11., Previously in Oxfam and Citizen Movement against Climate Change (Mocicc).
As an activist, member of TierrActiva Peru, integrating systemic change. Member of the bicycle group Sosten.ibles, which seeks to promote the use of bicycles by women, and to highlight the role of women in history and urban space. This year, participation in the organization of the World Bicycle Forum, held in Lima (February).
Also member of community initiatives such as Allin Mikuy Ayllu (good eating community) and Qollque Qollqa (collective savings and credit community)

  • Tom Kruse, Rockefeller Brother’s Fund 

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Tom Kruse is program director for the global challenges portion of the Democratic Practice program of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. He joined the Fund in June 2008 to manage the development and direction of the global governance grantmaking, including the formation of the program objectives, strategies, and initiatives.

Prior to joining the Fund, Mr. Kruse served as an advisor to the Bolivian government on trade and investment policy, the continuation of trade preference programs, and debt relief. In that capacity, Mr. Kruse worked closely with the Bolivian government and its diplomatic missions, members of the Bolivian business community, international financial institutions, and several RBF grantees that provide technical assistance to developing country governments.

His career in Bolivia began in 1994 when he served as director of the School for International Training’s programs in Bolivia, and as a consultant on geographic information systems for the Center of Population Studies. Mr. Kruse later led research teams on labor conditions in formal and informal sector shoe and apparel industries, and co-founded a labor education project that organized and carried out courses of study linked to organizing drives. Subsequently, he served as program director at a prominent research and policy advocacy organization that served as the Bolivia chapter of the Social Watch global network. In that position, he introduced and consolidated macroeconomic analysis on the fiscal limits of poverty reduction spending; and contributed to the consolidation of citizens and social organization coalitions on debt and development finance, and fair trade and investment.


  • Amazonian Women



  • The Movement for the Rights of Nature in Latin America

We live in an anthropocentric era. In 2008, Ecuador recognized the Rights of Nature in its Constitution and served as a global example of paradigmatic transformation in understanding that Nature is subject of rights. It was also in Latin America, precisely in Mexico, where the First International Forum for the Rights of Mother Earth was held. The second forum took place recently in Brazil. The third will be in Colombia. Ten years after guaranteeing Nature its legal rights, Ecuador is once again the protagonist. This time, in the first heritage city of the world (Quito), which will receive representatives from all corners of the planet. Latin America will be gathered in the Middle of the World, to strengthen this network at the regional level with the purpose of ensuring that the Rights of Mother Earth are present in all the countries of our continent. Henny Freitas (Brazil)

  • United Nations of the Spirit

On December 12, 2015, in the eco-village Varsana Ecological Gardens, located on Vía Granada, Cundinamarca, we present this law promulgated by the Great Spirit for humanity, where we announce the norms and principles of the origin of life and the path of existence. This is how through this document we renew the ancestral word to make this agreement.

This word was pasted on a white sheet concluding the Hoska ceremony, “word prayer breath of life of the tobacco” made during the Meeting of Indigenous Spiritual Authorities, Ceremony of the Kiva and Roots of the Earth, which arrived in South America, from the north, to live the prophecy of the union of the peoples.

The ancestral peoples gathered here: Nadda, Panches, Misak, Kogui, Wiwa, Uwa, Yanacona, Cofan, Embera Chami, Huitoto, Quimbaya, Mhuysqa Chibcha, Wirrarikas, Vaisnava, Maya Chontal, Maya Quinche, Apache, Quechua and native mestizos, we want tell all humanity that we have a common origin and that common origin is a thought, the thought of the Great Spirit, from which everything has its origin. Thus, our duty is to put our mind in communion with the origin, to remember that we came here to live from and through it.

We are the prophecies announced by peoples and nations around the world, in the fulfillment of the birth of a new humanity, a new ancient culture, where each people is responsible for their natural norm, their law of origin. We must all return to the mind of the great creative spirit and from there multiply this history of origin, from there communicate that there is a path, a path for the human seed that we are, seed of the Creator from the beginning.


  • University of Ancient Wisdom (UOAW)

The University of Ancient Wisdom is a new branch of transcendental knowledge, destined to help define the task of every human being on Earth, to learn to work together, cooperate and enlighten one another. As well as to strengthen our effort to protect our sacred cosmic mother and develop the ability to face the negative circumstances that modern society presents, with a positive and responsible attitude.

The foundation of this branch of education is that we are all children of Mother Earth, that no one is superior to anyone else, and the only one who deserves everyone’s attention is the one who generated our existence and continues to protect it through universal strength.

Ancient Wisdom is the legacy of all native cultures around the world, represented all over the planet by amazing contributions from their ancient cultures, from the sacred India to southern Chile, the Mapuches, Guaranis and our brothers and sisters from the Sierra Nevada.

The University of Ancient Wisdom allows everyone who walks in this direction to share their message for the benefit of humanity.


  • World Conscious Pact

We are an international network that fosters and strengthens multiple organizations, social groups and activists that put forth their energy daily in order to build a healthy consumption culture, promote and respect the rights of Mother Nature, protect seeds, water, ancestral wisdom, among other Common Causes.

We promote responsible consumption, the protection of animals, the rights of nature, the value of ancient wisdom and the well-being of humanity while maintaining harmony with the happiness of all living beings.

Our goal is to multiply the interconnections of a living network, composed of all sentient beings everywhere, so that it can be strengthened.



  • Carlos Larrea, Ecuador

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Carlos Larrea holds his Ph. D. in political economy from York University, Canada, and has post-doctoral studies in health and development at Harvard University.  He has a master in social sciences from Fundación Bariloche, Argentina. Carlos is currently professor at the Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar in Quito, Ecuador, and was a technical adviser of the Yasuni- ITT Initiative in Ecuador, and a consultant for international institutions such as UNDP, UNICEF, PAHO, ILO, UICN, World Bank and IDB. He has published at least 15 books and 85 articles, and his current research interests are sustainability and human development in Ecuador and Latin America. Professor Larrea is currently the coordinator of the Master Program in Climate Change and the director of the Socio-environmental Research Unit at the Andina University.

  • Fiona Wilton, UK

Fiona Wilton, grew up on the beautiful coast of Cornwall in the UK, with a passion for the sea, sailing and big storms. Since the early 1990s, she has lived mostly in South America (Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay) and worked alongside visionaries, activists, indigenous communities – all sharing the conviction that protection of Earth’s vitality, diversity, and beauty is a sacred trust. Indigenous self-determination, reviving bio-cultural diversity, the protection of sacred natural sites, and promoting Earth-centered governance, or Earth Jurisprudence, have been key areas in her work and life, from grassroots to policy. Fiona has worked for over 25 years with two remarkable NGOs, The Gaia Foundation (UK) and Gaia Amazonas (Colombia), mixed with occasional consultancy work for both international agencies and local indigenous organizations. She is currently involved in exciting new initiatives such as ‘The Path of the Anacondas’, for Andes-Amazon-Atlantic eco-cultural connectivity, and marine-coastal conservation along Uruguay’s ‘Route of the Whale’. She has a MSc in Protected Landscape Management, is a member of the IUCN specialist group on Cultural and Spiritual Values of Protected Areas and the UN Harmony with Nature knowledge network, and advisor to 1Earth Institute.

  • Hana Begović, Sweden/Ecuador

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Hana Begović is the Organizer at the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, in Ecuador, and holds a degree in Sustainable Development, Globalization and Human Rights. She has also studied Latin American movements and been engaged in various initiatives in Sweden, Bosnia and Ecuador concerning women’s rights, indigenous rights, climate change and urban sustainability. Recently, she was the logistics coordinator for the launch of the historical proposal Kawsak Sacha in Quito, a proposal developed by the Native Kichwa People of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is also currently co-developing a project for solar energy in Amazonian communities.

  • José Rivadeneira, Ecuador

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José Rivadeneira is an Agronomist Engineer, who graduated from the Central University of Ecuador. Promoter of agroecology and nature conservation, coordinating projects with the participation of peasant and indigenous communities. Member of the Pedagogical Committee of the School of Political Education of the Agroecological Movement of Latin America, Maela. Executive Director of the Ecuadorian Agroecology Coordinator. Former President of the Ecuadorian Coordination of Organizations for the defense of Nature and the Environment, CEDENMA. Co-author of the National Environmental Agenda formulated by social organizations and author of articles on peasant agriculture and agroecology.

  • Margaret Stewart, USA

Margaret Stewart serves as the Director at the Center for Earth Jurisprudence, a United States based legal advocacy center. The mission of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence is to advance law, policy, and governance systems aimed to legally protect the sustainability of life and health on Earth. She oversees CEJ’s programs and operations and represents the Center on various coalitions. She has created educational forums throughout the United States and abroad and generates strategic partnerships. She manages CEJ communications, including social and print media, and is responsible for the identification and application of grants and other fundraising initiatives that have supported CEJ’s continued work. She also serves as the key Advisor to three law students that work with CEJ as Earth Law & Policy Fellows.

Margaret serves on the Executive Committee and formerly chaired the Legal Committee of the Florida Springs Council. She serves on the Board of the Orange County League of Women Voters, chairs the Natural Resource Committee, and chairs the Solar Co-Op Committee. She is a member of the Central Florida Association of Women Lawyers, the Orange County Bar Association, and the Environmental & Land Use Law and Public Interest Law sections of the Florida Bar. She earned her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Randolph-Macon Woman’s College, her Masters in Non-Profit & Human Resources Management from Penn State University, her Juris Doctor from Barry University School of Law, and her LL.M. from Western New England School of Law.

  • María Belén Páez, Ecuador

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María Belén Páez holds a Master in Conservation and Management of the Natural Environment, speaker at a global level in summits and other areas of advocacy for democracy and climate change, forest protection. Facilitator and coach for transformational leadership. Diploma in the UN International System of Instruments for Human Rights (ISHR in Geneva 2014). She has worked for Pachamama Alliance CA for more than 20 years, and has been Director and President of the Pachamama Foundation in Ecuador. She is also the co-founder of the Terramater Association. Defender of rights and global activist for conservation in the most biodiverse forests of the planet. She has contributed to the revaluation of ancestral knowledge and the rights of peoples and indigenous Amazonian nationalities. As an entrepreneur of projects in Amazonian communities, she has contributed to the creation of sustainable projects, including ecotourism projects NAKU-Ecuador.


  • Michelle Bender, USA

Michelle Bender is the Ocean Rights Manager at Earth Law Center (ELC), with the mission to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. At ELC, Michelle focuses on incorporating the rights of nature movement into ocean governance internationally, and has created the Earth Law Framework, a guideline for how to implement rights of nature with marine protected areas.

She also serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Environmental Law. Having worked for organizations including NOAA, Friends of the Sea Otter and Animal Welfare Institute, she specializes in ocean and wildlife law. Michelle graduated Summa Cum Laude from Vermont Law School, where she earned a Master’s in Environmental Law and Policy and holds a B.S. in Biology with a Marine Emphasis from Western Washington University.

During the symposium, she also gave a short speech on Ocean’s Rights.


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