law

Deforestation to make way for oil palm plantation in Brazil

Rewilding the law

Shehana Gomez
| 27th August 2018
Our legal system needs a radical overhaul that asserts the rights of the whole ecosystem. A forthcoming conference will discuss the set out the vision for a Wild Law. SHEHANA GOMEZ reports

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Anti-logging protestors from Greenpeace Poland

Campaigners hail 'huge victory' for forest defenders

Catherine Early
| 17th April 2018
The European Union's top court ruled today that increased logging in Białowieża broke EU nature laws. The Polish government must now reverse decisions that allowed logging, or face fines of up to tens of millions of euros. CATHERINE EARLY reports

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Gathered on a remote stretch of beach at  Rekvik, Troms Fylke, Norway: 211 bottles and cans. Photo: Bo Eide via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UN Ocean Conference: can the law protect our ocean ecosystems?

Elizabeth A Kirk
Nottingham Law School
| 1st June 2017
With the UN Ocean Conference beginning in New York next week, Elizabeth A Kirk asks: can we devise a legal system that promotes the ecological resilience of the oceans? To do so will mean placing ecosystems at the heart of decision making, over and above countries' selfish 'national interests'. It will be tough, but if we fail it's hard to see how the gamut of problems - from ocean acidification to plastic pollution and overfishing - can ever be solved.

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Guarani tribal leader and activist Ladio Veron speaking outside the Brazilian Embassy in London, in an action replicated across the globe. Photo: still from Survival video.

Only global protest can secure land rights and justice for Brazil's Guarani people

Lewis Evans
| 24th May 2017
On the one side, the Guarani people and the entire panoply of international and Brazilian law asserting the rights of indigenous peoples to their lives, lands, and way of life. Against them, the entrenched economic and political power of farmers, ranchers, loggers and others exploiting the wealth of the Guarani's soils, forests and waters. Right now the power of money is winning every time. Only with international pressure can the Guarani emerge victorious.

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Pilgrims bathing in the holy river Narmada at Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh, India. Photo: Mahesh Basedia via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

To discover the 'rights of a river', first think like a river

Debadityo Sinha
| 22nd May 2017
There is a growing global movement to recognise the rights of rivers, writes Debadityo Sinha. But rights alone are not enough. We must love and respect rivers, and even think like rivers to understand the vital functions they perform within landscapes and ecosystems, and so discover where their 'best interests' truly lie. And then we must be willing to act: protecting rivers and restoring them to health and wholeness.

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Mural in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in celebration of indigenous culture by the artist Eduardo Kobra. Photo: Stefano Ravalli via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Brazil: Amazon's Indians, rainforest under attack

Jan Rocha
Climate News Network
| 10th May 2017
Attacks on Amazon Indians and on their land rights are threatening vital areas of rainforest, writes Jan Rocha. Meanwhile FUNAI, the agency responsible for safeguarding indigenous tribes is being forced to withdraw from key conflict zones due to underfunding, while Indians' attempts to assert their rights are met with state violence.

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Figure 1: Two views of economic 'sustainability'. Image: Nature's Rights.

Nature's rights: a new paradigm for environmental protection

Mumta Ito
| 9th May 2017
Recognising nature as a legal stakeholder with inalienable rights in environmental law proceedings is a powerful counterbalance to corporate dictatorship, writes Mumta Ito. It empowers people and governments to stand up for nature - the underlying basis of our economy and our lives. And it stands in contrast to feeble approaches based on the financialisation and commodification of nature, which may be twisted to justify more destruction.

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Back to the future? Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, in the Great Fog of 1952. Photo: N T Stobbs via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Conservatives' hard right Brexit plans: UK's great leap backwards to 'dirty man of Europe'

Brendan Montague
| 27th April 2017
It's barely mentioned in the election campaign or reported in the media. But a powerful faction of Tory ministers, ex-ministers and backbench MPs are bent on using Brexit to ignite a massive bonfire of 'spirit-crushing' laws on wildlife protection, air and water pollution, pesticides, renewable energy and public health, writes Brendan Montague. At risk are not just EU directives and regulations but even the UK's own Climate Change Act. May's Brexit may not just be hard, but very, very dirty.

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Red for Danger! London traffic lights in winter smog, 4th January 2015. Photo: alec boreham via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

As government delays pollution plan, study shows how killer nanoparticles cause heart disease

Oliver Tickell
| 26th April 2017
A new study explains for the first time how nanoparticles like those in diesel exhaust fumes cause heart disease by lodging in inflamed blood vessels, writes Oliver Tickell. The study, published as the UK government is ordered before the High Court to justify its refusal to publish plans to tackle illegal air pollution which afflicts 38 million people, also raises wider fears about 'engineered nanoparticles' in the environment.

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Seen here in 2008, this uncontacted indigenous community in Brazil's Amazon may be fierce in defence of its lands. But they don't stand a chance in the face of bulldozers, chainsaws, automatic weapons, and the new diseases brought by loggers, miners and f

Brazil: Government to abandon tribes to 'genocide' by loggers and ranchers

Oliver Tickell
| 26th April 2017
Brazil's extreme right wing government is preparing to open up the rainforest territories of dozens of uncontacted indigenous tribes to 'free for all' development by defunding the protection they currently receive, according to information received by Survival International, which warns: 'The reality is these cuts could sanction genocide.'

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How it all began: Monsanto Tribunal Opening day, 14th October 2016. Photo: Monsanto Tribunal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Tribunal judges: Monsanto isn't feeding the world - it's undermining food security

Claire Robinson
GMWatch
| 24th April 2017
Five international judges say Monsanto's activities have negatively affected individuals, communities and biodiversity, writes Claire Robinson. The Monsanto Tribunal's damning ruling denounces the company's harmful impacts on food sovereignty, agricultural production, access to nutrition, the natural environment, seed diversity, climate change, pollution and traditional cultural practices.

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Thick winter smog over London, 14th January 2012. Photo: stu mayhew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Dieselgate: time for strong, effective pollution laws

Keith Taylor MEP
| 4th April 2017
MEPs vote today on proposals to cut air pollution by setting up an independent EU monitoring body to ensure that a scandal like Dieselgate never happens again, writes Keith Taylor. However fears are growing that Brexit promises the UK a bonfire of environmental laws including those on air pollution. We need a strong, new Clean Air Act now!

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Dartford Warbler in the Thames Basin Heaths area at Chobham Common, Woking, Surrey, UK. Photo: Phil Fiddes via Flickr (CC BY).

EU wildlife laws must be celebrated and retained!

Jeremy Robson
Nottingham Trent University
| 30th March 2017
Government promises of 'leaving our environment better than we found it' are melting away in the heat of Brexit, writes Jeremy Robson. Ministers have said that a third of all EU environmental laws may never be transposed into UK statute, while many Tory MPs are anxious to rip away the 'red tape' that prevents building on precious nature sites. We must make British nature great again!

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A dirt road near Dinant Corporation's El Tumbador plantation, Honduras, where the corporation is locked into a deadly land war with local campesino communities. Photo: ICIJ via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

World Bank claims 'sovereign immunity' to escape liability for its crimes against humanity

Pete Dolack
| 23rd March 2017
World Bank projects have left a worldwide trail of evictions, displacements, rapes, murders, forest destruction, greenhouse-gas-belching fossil fuel projects, and destruction of farmland and water sources, writes Pete Dolack. But even as internal reports admit the Bank's wrongdoing, it is asserting its immunity from legal action as terrorised communities seek redress in the courts.

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Radiation hotspot in Kashiwa following the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe. Photo: Abasaa via Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain).

Fukushima court ruling holds 'reckless' Tepco and government liable

Shaun Burnie
Asia Times
| 20th March 2017
A Japanese court has found the government and Tepco culpable for the Fukushima nuclear disaster for failing to act on clear warnings of the dangers of seismic shocks, writes Shaun Burnie. The ruling is sending a shockwave through Japan's 'nuclear village' and may end all prospects of any mass restart of reactors.

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At the Orgreave Colliery in 1984, a mounted policeman takes a swing with his baton at Lesley Boulton of Women Sgainst Pit Closures. Photo of newspaper cutting by Diego Sideburns via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking, Brexit and austerity: the coming fight for British freedom

Paul Mobbs
| 14th March 2017
Post Brexit, get ready for a massive attack on our liberty, especially on the right to protest, writes Paul Mobbs. With the UK likely to secede from the European Convention on Human Rights, prepare for a new empowerment of police to act with impunity against peaceful activists. We must be ready to stand up, with honour and dignity, for our ancient British right to dissent.

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Near the site of the UK's 1958 Grapple Y H-bomb test at Kiritimati, Christmas Island, in 2013. Photo: Warren Jackson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Atom bomb test veterans: Soviet justice in London's High Court

Chris Busby
| 8th March 2017
Britain's long-suffering nuclear bomb test veterans have once again had justice denied to them, writes Chris Busby, by a shocking piece of judicial chicanery in London's High Court in which the judge whimsically excluded all the scientific evidence that did not suit the Ministry of Defence. But the veterans' fight for justice and scientific truth continues, facing its next test in the Court of Appeal.

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Officially designated as a 'rural road': the M25 Dartford Crossing on the QE2 Bridge. Photo: highwaysengland via Flickr (CC BY).

Britain's eight-lane 'rural road' evades air quality reporting

Keith Taylor
| 7th March 2017
The government's 'misclassification' of an eight-lane M25 road bridge over the river Thames East of London as a 'rural road' meant they did not have to report the illegal levels of pollution found there, writes Keith Taylor - getting off the UK off the hook for a 17th breach of EU air quality standards. What an unfortunate error!

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This smog, seen over London from Primrose Hill, is unlawful. But how to stop it if you can't take the government to court? Photo: Luton Anderson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Government tries to puts itself above environmental law

Oliver Tickell
| 28th February 2017
The UK government hates to be held accountable in court when it breaks environmental laws like those on air quality. So it has created new rules - coming into force today - that expose environmental litigants to unlimited financial liabilities. Now three leading NGOs have done to the High Court to argue that the rules themselves are in breach the UK's international obligations.

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