Rights of Nature in NC Advocates

Welcome to the virtual hub for our Indigenous-led Rights of Nature initiative in NC!

Rights of Nature laws are a new kind of conservation law rooted in Indigenous values, which recognize ecosystems, and the human and natural communities that depend on them, as having legally enforceable rights to exist, regenerate, flourish and be free from pollution.

Rights of Nature strengthens environmental and community protections, by evolving the status of nature from “property” to a rights-bearing entity, like a person. Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples, and all of our ancient ancestors, have treated the environment and other species as they would their human kin, often referring to animals and rivers as relatives. Rights of Nature laws transfer this crucial, life-honoring perspective into a Western legal framework.

Being granted legal rights affords the highest protections possible under the law, and its benefits for ecosystems include expanded “standing” for enforcement, new and elevated standards of protection, and restoration required as a remedy. Rights of Nature laws recognize the health of our communities as dependent upon the health of our lands and waterways.

We are working with a bipartisan network of community members, grassroots organizations, Indigenous mentors, elected officials and legal experts to advance legal Rights of Nature in North Carolina.

Will you join us?

Our strategy:

At the state level, we are starting with a long-haul effort to pass legislation for the Haw River Watershed, the largest water body threatened by the Mountain Valley Pipeline Southgate Extension. This would be the first state-level Rights of Nature law in the US.

At the municipal level, we are working with community members and elected officials across the state to adopt resolutions and ordinances for the waterways in their jurisdictions, which will help to educate the public and build momentum towards the state law.

We are creating educational materials and hosting community events to spread awareness, and grow our base of committed Rights of Nature in NC advocates.

Please sign up on this page to join our Rights of Nature initiative, and stay tuned for announcements, community events and volunteer opportunities.

Take action!

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