The Moon has been a constant feature of human existence since the time of our earliest ancestors, illuminating the night, regulating cultural activities, and inspiring science, knowledge and belief.
Since the development of the technology to travel into space over 80 years ago, the Moon has also come to be regarded as a resource for use by humans. International space treaties such as the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 proclaim that the Moon is part of the common province of humanity and not subject to territorial claims. Nevertheless, space agencies and private corporations are proposing to extract lunar resources for profit.
There are many legal and ethical complexities around lunar mining but underlying them is the common space community belief that the Moon is a dead world toward which we have no moral obligation. This view is at odds with public beliefs about the cultural and natural significance of the Moon. It also contrasts with a growing movement on Earth recognising the rights of nature, which has seen entities such as the Whanganui River in New Zealand granted legal personhood. There is mounting scientific evidence that the Moon has dynamic ongoing geological and cosmic processes. Given the acceleration of planned missions to the lunar surface, it is timely to question the instrumental approach which subordinates this ancient celestial body to human interests.
A few years ago, landscape architect Thomas Gooch, Director of the Office of Other Spaces, started running public forums to discuss how we should understand our relationship with the Moon, as part of his work with the Moon Village Association (MVA), an international NGO based in Vienna. The MVA is committed to ethical and sustainable engagement with the Moon. The last of these forums, in August 2020, considered whether the Moon could be granted legal personality as a way to acknowledge that the Moon had an existence of its own separate from human perceptions. Watch the recording of the forum here .
The forums led to a discussion between Dr Michelle Maloney (National Convenor, Australian Earth Law Alliance), Ceridwen Dovey (space researcher and writer), Alice Gorman (space archaeologist), Mari Margil (Executive Director of the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights, US) and Thomas Gooch, about creating a Declaration of the Rights of the Moon. One issue was clear: as the Moon held such importance for the people and non-humans of Earth, it was imperative to consult widely and gain as much input as possible. However, there had to be some starting point to open the discussion. Slowly the idea that the group would draft such a declaration was born.
Over the course of a year, the group met regularly to define and refine the necessary concepts. The Draft we have created here is the end result. But it’s really just a beginning – a way to start the discussion at a global level. We don’t know how this declaration will evolve, but your participation is a key part of the process.
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We invite your support (please sign the register below), and your respectful feedback in the comment field below. Thank you!
Register your supportRead the petition
|139||Lauren H.||Gold Coast||Australia|
|138||Sharon M.||Gold Coast||Australia|
|137||Carolyn S.||Whiting||United States|
|136||Anonymous||Brisbane/ Byron Bay||Australia||As someone who watched the original Moon landing: What thinking will be taken to the Moon? Who gets to decide what are acceptable commercial and environmental behaviours on the Moon? And what moral care is being provided as humans expand their footprint outside of Earth.|
|134||Anne J.||Mexico City||Mexico|
|133||Michelle H.||Manchester||United Kingdom|
|125||Anonymous||Auckland||New Zealand||Waiho! Tiaki Marama ma Rona! Leave it alone. Care for the moon!|
|124||Tim D.||MOUNT LAWLEY||Australia|
|122||James O.||Dublin,||Ireland||Uniquely important to prohibit pollution of the moon by earthlings|
|121||Anonymous||Bear||United States||Yes to ALL of this.|
|120||Anonymous||London||United Kingdom||Humans need to respect the sanctity of the Moon, and not exploit it for commerce.|
|115||James T.||Upper Sturt||Australia|
|112||Raymond P.||BRONX||United States|
|111||Carol C.||Euroa||Australia||A necessary and important document. Clear and concise - congratulations.|
|107||Catherine L.||Byron Bay||Australia||I am so grateful that AELA have taken the initiative to put this together. The thought of another intact ecosystem being invaded and potentially exploited and destroyed by human beings is unconscionable and deeply sad. Thank you for doing this|
|104||Anonymous||Talking Rock||United States|
|102||Anonymous||Bowen, Qld||Australia||We have everything we need to survive and thrive right here on Earth. The moon does not need anything more done to it by us.|
|97||Anonymous||Bendigo||Australia||Like the Moon, may this declaration become a lunar vision that connects us all.|
|95||Kel B.||Umina Beach||Australia|
|92||Raphaelle R.||melbourne||Australia||Excellent beginning, keep going|
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