After appearances at the London Green Fair and Buddhafield Festival, the Wild Law UK tour of summer events continued with its tent pitched at the Resurgence Summer Camp held at the Green & Away site near Worcester from 26th to 29th July. Green & Away is the UK’s only tented conference centre and with woodburning showers, compost toilets and much of the food sourced from a nearby care farm, is a wonderful example of sustainable living in an inspiring setting.
Invited to run a workshop on the Friday afternoon, we had chosen to explore ‘Living Earth Law’. This would outline some Earth Jurisprudence principles and consider how they might be applied in our daily lives. The aim was to demonstrate that Earth Jurisprudence was not just about written law but a way of life. Unsure about how such a session would be received it was great to have more than forty people attending in the main marquee to listen and ask questions. The second part of the workshop saw many of them participate in our practical exercise envisioning how Earth-centred food, education, money and energy systems could look.
Although unplanned, an Earth Justice theme began to emerge during the camp, as Polly Higgins spoke about the Eradicating Ecocide campaign and Helen Moore debuted her poem “Earth Justice”- a response to the Ecocide mock trial. This also tied in well with Satish Kumar’s emphasis on the relationship between Soil, Soul and Society with a need for a change in personal and societal behaviour to become more ecologically aware. In addition, Nicola Peel’s talk offered practical steps to restore environmental damage by pollution that people
can and are taking.
This was a great opportunity for Wild Law UK to reach out to new people and to discuss and share ideas. There is clearly an appetite for change. The camp demonstrated to us the potential of alternative forms of messaging such as poetry and storytelling. We left feeling very creative. A huge thank you to Resurgence Magazine for an inspiring camp. Next stop, Wilderness Festival.
It’s an apt question. Activists who are against corporate greed and for global justice have been peacefully camped outside St Paul’s for a fortnight now. The activists have at all times co-operated with Cathedral officials, and were pleased that the Cathedral decided to open again yesterday (Friday 28 Oct).
There is something highly symbolic about protesting in front of an institution that has as its central aim to spread Christ’s message of love throughout the world. Jesus was particularly concerned with the poor, the dispossessed, the outcasts and the marginalised in society. Such poor, dispossessed, outcast and marginalised are represented and given a voice today by Occupy LSX.
According to the gospels, Jesus threw the money-changers out of the temple, his only act of violence. He would not be comfortable with the excessive consumerist society that we live in today, and the fact that the 1% live excessively lavish lifestyles whilst many millions suffer in poverty. He would not be happy that corporations wield such influence over people’s lives and have become a devasting force against people and planet.
All this suggests that Jesus would be camped with Occupy London Stock Exchange, if he were around today.
The presence of the activists has deeply divided the Cathedral. Occupy LSX was deeply moved at the resignation of Canon Chancellor Rev Dr Giles Fraser, who would not stand by the Cathedral’s decision to pursue legal action that may authorise violence against the activists. He is not the only one, Fraser Dyer, a chaplain at St Paul’s, also listened to his conscience and decided to resign, being ‘embarrassed’ at the decision taken by the Dean and Chapter.
Jesus spoke up for the oppressed in society
I want to turn back to the theme of speaking up for the oppressed because it’s highly relevant from a wild law perspective. Human beings co-evolved with millions of other species. These other species are our kith and kin in a hard scientific sense, as well as in the poet’s sense (“the poetry of the Earth is never dead,” wrote Keats. Keats, like many others throughout history, recognised that Nature has soul).
In short, Nature has no voice in our society, so we must speak up for Nature. The trees, the rivers, the animals – they have rights too. They are stakeholders in this beautiful new democracry emerging.
We urgently need to reconnect with Nature. This Earth provides everything that we need to live well and is the source of our nourishment. We need a new governance system which acknowledges the inherent value of all life and promotes, as the overriding objective, the flourishing of life on Earth. To be clear: life flourishing comes before the economy. We need to move away from a narrative that places the economy above everything else.
A good starting point for this new governance is the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, which is being advocated at international level by Bolivia. Bolivia needs our help in this, so please sign the petition to get this groundbreaking legal text adopted at the Earth Summit next year.
The Declaration sets out a blueprint for a new social model, premised on co-operation with and respect for nature. Many thousands of people all over the world look to Nature as the source of inspiration.
“teach your children, that the rivers are our brothers and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother”
Keep up the good work Occupy LSX, and remember you represent all life, not just the poor and oppressed humankind who have no voice, but the oppressed non human species who are also part of the Earth Community.
28-10-2011 UPDATES Family fun day at Occupy LSX on Saturday 29 October – head over to the tent university and learn about the new democracy. This university doesn’t cost £9000!
Boris Johnson Mayor of London has reportedly called for new laws to stop protests like this one. Such a move should be resisted, it is deeply undemocratic and a breach of our fundamental right.
The Cathdral’s decision to take legal action against protestors was announced yesterday (Friday 28 Oct). The City of London Corporation had announced that it was also seeking legal action on the same day.
Law firm Winckworth Sherwood is acting for St Paul’s, and whilst Bindmans represents Occupy LSX, with advice from John Cooper QC. Bindmans and John Cooper are acting pro bono.
In a Guardian poll, 88.2% of people supported the protest.