The Green Rights Interviews

For more information on any of the interviewees, or to see their full-length interviews, simply click on their names.

Dr. David Boyd is anactivist, a legal scholar, and the author of numerous books, notably the magisterial The Environmental Rights Revolution, which assesses the impact of environmental rights in the 177 nations that recognize them and the 16 that do not.

Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians, critic of the corporate power exercised in the worldwide net of free trade agreements, author and an expert on the perilous condition of the world's water.

Dr. John Borrows is an Anishanaabe legal scholar and trailblazing law professor at the University of Victoria. An expert on both the common law tradition and on indigenous legal systems, he is the author of Canada's Indigenous Constitution and Drawing Out Law.

Ron Plain and Ada Lockridge of the Aaumjiwnaang First Nation, who are suing Ontario's government underCanada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms for infringing their rights to equality and a healthy environment.

Pablo Fajardo is the young lawyer from eastern Ecuador who sued Chevron for polluting a huge tract of Amazon rain forest, and won a $9.5 billion judgment in Ecuador's Supreme Court. When Chevron refused to pay, Fajardo's team launched collection actions in Argentina, Brazil and Canada. In Spanish, with translation.

Steven Donziger (United States) is Pablo Fajardo's controversial colleague, who transformed the prospects for ecological victims' lawsuits by financing the “Chevron Tóxico” suit with the sale, in effect, of shares in the eventual damages should the legal action succeed.

Natalia Greene is a close associate of Alberto Acosta in developing Ecuador's 2008 constitution as well as the Yasuní-ITT Initiative, which aimed to keep oil underground in the Amazon region, and a key figure in the international movement for recognition of the rights of Mother Nature.

Mumta Ito is founder and director of the International Centre for Wholistic Law (www.wholisticlaw.org). Formerly a high-powered corporate lawyer in the City of London, she currently heads the European Citizen's Initiative for Recognizing and Respecting the Inherent Rights of Nature.

Cormac Cullinan of Cape Town, South Africa, is the author of Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice. A leader in the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, he also drafted the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Santiago Manuín Valera of the Awajun indigenous community in the Peruvian Amazon, who was shot, almost fatally, by the Peruvian army during an epic confrontation in Bagua in 2009. A pacifist, he is a devout Christian and a founder of the Jesuit Social Centre in his community. In Spanish, with translation.

Pablo Solon, former Bolivian Ambassador to the UN and chief negotiator on climate, organizer of the 2010 World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, now with Focus on the Global South, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Michelle Maloney is National Convenor of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance (www.earthlaws.org.au), former manager of an indigenous not-for-profit development organization in central Queensland and a trenchant opponent of the massive coal and gas developments that would ship coal through the Great Barrier Reef.

Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil are the co-founder and associate director of the Community Environmental Legal Defence Fund, a pioneering US organization that helps communities (and nations like Ecuador and Nepal) assert their rights as communities -- and also defends the rights of the environment itself.

Alberto Acosta, Ecuador's former minister of energy and mining, chairman of the constituent assembly which enshrined the rights of Mother Nature in its constitution, and author of Ecuador's offer to forgo oil exploitation in the Yasuni national park. In 2013, he ran for president of Ecuador. In Spanish, with translation.

Antonio Oposa, Jr. is the Filipino lawyer who established “the Oposa doctrine,” the right of future generations to inherit a healthy environment. He also forced a massive cleanup of Manila Bay, stopped logging in old-growth forests and reef-fishing with cyanide and dynamite, and now seeks to reserve 50% of Philippine highways for sustainable transport.

Marina Aizen isan award-winning Argentinian journalist who has written a comprehensive history of the Riachuelo decision and its consequences. She was formerly the New York correspondent for the leading Buenos Aires newspaper Clarin, and she has been widely published in the Spanish-language press.

Atossa Soltani, founder and director of Amazon Watch, a US-based organization that works to protect the Amazon rainforest and support its indigenous peoples. Media strategist, photographer and filmmaker, she leads campaigns to force international corporations to raise their environmental and social standards.

Larry Kowalchuk is the Saskatchewan lawyer representing the New Brunswick Anti-Shale Gas Alliance and the “People's Lawsuit” plaintiffs in suing the federal and New Brunswick governments for infringing the rights of citizens and First Nations by recklessly supporting unconventional gas and oil development.

Femke Wijdekop is a lawyer at the Institute for Environmental Security in The Hague, in the Netherlands. She's also an author and broadcaster, and a dedicated defender of the environmental activists around the world who are routinely tortured, raped, beaten – and, twice a week, murdered.

Daniel Sallaberry is the lawyer representing the residents of an impoverished riverside community in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who sued three levels of government and 44 industries for infringements of environmental rights, winning a multi-billion dollar clean-up of the Riachuelo River. In Spanish, with translation.

Roger Cox, who practices law in Maastricht, Holland, is the author of Revolution Justified: Why Only the Law Can Save Us Now. The book inspired the Urgenda Foundation to sue the Dutch government for its inaction on climate change. Roger Cox acted for Urgenda – and won.

Marjan Minnesma is the founder and director of the Urgenda Foundation, which sued the Dutch state for its tepid record on greenhouse-gas emissions and won an electrifying court order directing the government to reduce the country's emissions by 25% by the year 2020.

Polly Higgins, a British international lawyer, is the author of “Eradicating Ecocide.” Ecocide is damage to ecosystems such that peaceful enjoyment of a territory by all its inhabitants is severely diminished or lost. Her goal is to make ecocide, like genocide, a UN-recognized “crime against peace.”

 Jan van de Venis is a Dutch lawyer deeply concerned with human rights and sustainable development. He's legal director of the Swiss water-conservation group Waterlex, president of the green crowdfunding site Grrrowd – and he's also been called the Netherlands' Shadow Ombudsperson for Future Generations.