Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights
Tuesday, May 3, 2016
Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the judges of the tribunal, asks a question of witness Roger Mammon. Photo by Dan Bacher.
Tribunal Considers Rights of Nature in Imperiled San Francisco Bay-Delta
by Dan Bacher
That all changed on April 30, 2016, when a panel of judges convened in Antioch to consider the question: "What would the San Francisco Bay-Delta Ecosystem say?" when examining a case brought before them in the first-ever Bay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal. The event was based on an international rights of nature tribunal held in Paris during the Paris Climate Talks last December.
"The rights of nature have been inherent from the beginning of time," said Gary Mulcahy, Winnemem Wintu Tribe, one of the tribunal judges. "We need to get rid of the concept of dominion over the Earth. We — the salmon, the water, the trees, the spiders — are all one thing. The more pieces you take from the whole, the closer you come to becoming extinct. Just like the salmon that my people depended upon."