From 16 to 18 October 2009, participants from each state and territory in Australia gathered in the Adelaide Hills for Australia’s first conference on Wild Law. All 63 participants were motivated by a shared view that our current system of law and governance was failing to protect the natural world from destruction and were seeking a new path forward.
The conference offered a mix of presentations and informal spaces for participants to discuss topics of concern. The intention of the conference was to introduce Wild Law to an Australian audience and discuss its relationship with environmental law, science, religion and indigenous perspectives on nature. The conference also introduced participants to bioregionalism and offered activities aimed at establishing a connection to place. Invited presenters included Elizabeth Rivers, Wild Law convener in the UK; The Hon Mark Parnell, MLC Australian Greens; Dr Greg Ogle, The Wilderness Society; Professor Rob Fowler, University of South Australia and Rebecca Butler from the Anindilyakwa Land Council.
At the conclusion of the conference, the following declaration was developed, which summarises the themes and outcomes of the conference.
We the participants of Wild Law, declare that the perceived separation between nature and human beings is a fundamental cause of the current environmental crisis. Our law reflects this in treating nature as property and by restricting rights to human subjects. We assert that law needs to transition from an exclusive focus on human beings and recognise that we exist as part of a broader earth community.
We recognise that the universe is composed of subjects to be communed with, not objects to be used. Each component member of the universe is thus capable of having rights.
We commit to evolving law so that it protects the natural world from destruction and cultivating Wild Laws that are consistent with the philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence.
An article on the conference by our UK presenter Elizabeth Rivers can be downloaded from: http://www.adelaide.foe.org.au/earth-jurisprudence/
View the 2009 Conference Poster.