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Earth Arts – RONA16

On October 22nd, 2016, AELA held Australia’s first Rights of Nature Tribunal in Brisbane.  The Citizens' Tribunal heard cases presented by citizens and Earth lawyers concerned about the destruction of ecosystems in Australia.  To support the Tribunal and promote cultural engagement with the emerging movement around the Rights of Nature, AELA coordinated a national arts celebration - 'Rights of Nature Australia 2016' or 'RONA16', with the intention to blend the creative re-interpretation of environmental governance with cultural responses to the rights of the natural world to flourish.

Please click on the links below for detailed information about RONA16:


During RONA16, AELA facilitated the following activities:

  • A National Art Exhibition at the Brisbane Powerhouse, from 26 September to 24 October, called 'Plenty'
  • Bio-Regional Arts Exhibitions and Events around Australia in September/October 2016
  • Sharing work from artists around Australia on the dedicated RONA16 website
  • Artist in Residence program linked to the Tribunal.

AELA invited artists and communities around Australia to create their own unique 'responses' to the Rights of Nature Tribunal and promote their activities on the AELA RONA16 website.

Invited creative responses to the Rights of Nature Tribunal included a wide range of activities, for example:

  • Art exhibitions
  • Story telling sessions
  • Plays
  • Dance Performances
  • Music and drama
  • School arts activities
  • Creative Conversations - dinner parties, BBQs and other gatherings dedicated to celebrating our natural world and discussing the importance of recognising the rights of nature.

For more information, email:


All RONA16 events and responses responded and related to the following inter-connected themes, in the full spectrum from meta to micro nuances:

(Initial reading about these themes can be found on AELA’s website -

Reveal, reflect and critique the current flawed paradigm of western law which:
Imagine and create the paradigm we’re proposing – Earth laws and rights of nature
Privileges humans over other forms of lifeHumans are one part of nature – interconnected, interdependent with the Earth Community
Has created governance systems that do not reflect how the natural world worksHuman governance systems should be embedded in deep knowledge of local Earth communities
Is built on the idea that humans ‘own’ nature – nature is property, objectified, commodified (bought and sold), caged, fenced, destroyedNon-human agency is vital, the non-human world belongs to no-one; vibrant biodiversity is critical to life on earth
Gives ‘rights’ to humans and human created fictions – corporations, ships. While plants, animals, ecosystems have no rights, are invisible and ‘dead’ in the eyes of the lawRecognising that all life and life supporting systems on Earth have “a right to exist, thrive and evolve”
Privileges western legal, scientific and evidentiary frameworks of knowledgeRespects indigenous knowledge, human ‘lived’ experience, emotional and spiritual connections, as well as scientific and rational ways of knowing
Legalises the destruction of vital ecosystems and life support systemsHolds all life sacred and balances reasonable human needs with the rights of the natural world to exist and evolve; would never prize human wants over the destruction of ecosystems