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.

Read the Declaration for the Rights of the Moon


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Latest Signatures

258 Giovanni G. Monticello Brianza - Lecco Italy
257 Torsten K. Berlin Germany
256 Margaret B. CARLTON Australia Congratulations on this excellent and important initiative.
255 Markus R. Wien Austria
254 Anonymous Vienna Austria
253 Claudia B. wien Austria
252 Weidinger A. Seewalchen a.A. Austria
251 Anonymous Ambleside United Kingdom
250 Anonymous Balinese Indonesia
249 Sarah F. Whitehall United States
248 Frances W. Los Angeles California United States
247 Dalton K. Herrin United States
246 Nicholas P. Orlando United States
245 Anonymous San Luis Obispo United States
244 Anonymous Dallas United States
243 Jacqueline H. Phoenix United States
242 Pella T. Ingarö Sweden
241 Anonymous Elgin United Kingdom
240 Anonymous Melbourne Australia
239 Willi L. Bath United States
238 Anonymous Rockledge United States
237 Anonymous South Plympton Australia The Moon isn't "dead". It's a crucial member of the Earth's living ecosystem.
236 Gianni B. Fagagna Italy
235 Anonymous Lisbon Portugal
234 Louis F. Wien Austria We dont want a lunar cold war! I say no, to an exploitation of the moon!
233 MARIA F. Vienna Austria The moon has to be protected at all cost! How is it possible to still have this colonial approach of first come, first serve in the 21st century?
232 Murielle A. Viroflay France
231 Anonymous Wallsend, Tyne and Wear United Kingdom A beautiful and timely declaration.
230 Anonymous Bremen Germany
229 Anonymous Yerevan Armenia
228 Enid L. Richmond United Kingdom
227 Anonymous Fairlie United Kingdom
226 Anonymous Pasadena United States
225 Tom C. LONDON United Kingdom
224 Anonymous London United Kingdom
223 Dean T. Leatherhead United Kingdom
222 Kate C. Oxford United Kingdom I've not yet read the declaration but I think this is an important, hopeful, healthy and needed act. The moon is powerful and precious and can not become yet another colonised and exploited natural space. She should be valued and respected.
221 Matthew R. Lake Haven Australia The moon may shine its happy smile in my Guinness any day or night and I thank the moon for the art it inspires the most when we are close together Oh a twinkle in my eye when i see the smiling full moon in my Guinness shine brights it inspire me all day and night ode to Moon
220 Anonymous Pensacola, FL United States
219 Anonymous LUCKNOW India
218 Anonymous Norwich United Kingdom
217 Anonymous Totnes United Kingdom
216 Anonymous Newcastle East Australia
215 Anonymous DC United States
214 Heather W. New Malden United Kingdom I think it important that the moon remains as it is, that no one country owns it nor does anything to mess up another planet.
213 Ted C. Brisbane Australia
212 Anonymous Stroud United Kingdom
211 Anonymous Sarasota United States
210 Camille H. Saint-Flour France
209 Mary-Jane R. Middletown United States