Return to Declaration of the Rights of the Moon

About the Declaration of the Rights of the Moon

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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Latest Signatures

140 Anonymous Pittsburgh United States
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.
135 Anonymous Launceston Australia
134 Anne J. Mexico City Mexico
133 Michelle H. Manchester United Kingdom
132 Anonymous Castro Verde Portugal
131 Ursula D. Melbourne Australia
130 Fran M. Fitzroy Australia
129 Anonymous Brisbane Australia
128 Glenn C. Brisbane Australia
127 Jaime H. Paddington Australia
126 Anonymous Portland United States
125 Anonymous Auckland New Zealand Waiho! Tiaki Marama ma Rona! Leave it alone. Care for the moon!
124 Tim D. MOUNT LAWLEY Australia
123 Anonymous Melbourne 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.
119 Anonymous Canberra Australia
118 Margaret B. Mentone Australia
117 Emma B. Brisbane Australia
116 Anonymous Hobart Australia
115 James T. Upper Sturt Australia
114 Michael N. Melbourne Australia
113 Troy D. Carina Australia
112 Raymond P. BRONX United States
111 Carol C. Euroa Australia A necessary and important document. Clear and concise - congratulations.
110 Anonymous Annecy France
109 Linelle S. Sydney Australia
108 Anonymous Mooney Pond Australia
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
106 Sylvie M. Ballina Australia
105 Anonymous Sydney Australia
104 Anonymous Talking Rock United States
103 Anonymous Annandale 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.
101 Anonymous Carina Heights Australia
100 Kat O. Melbourne Australia
99 Anonymous Yarraville Australia
98 Anonymous SYDNEY Australia
97 Anonymous Bendigo Australia Like the Moon, may this declaration become a lunar vision that connects us all.
96 Anonymous Elsternwick Australia
95 Kel B. Umina Beach Australia
94 nola h. melbourne Australia
93 Anonymous Melbourne Australia
92 Raphaelle R. melbourne Australia Excellent beginning, keep going
91 Anonymous Trinity Park Australia