Earth Rights Conference

What idea is powerful enough to heal the relationship between humans and nature?

Sigtuna, Sweden May 10-11 2019

Earth Rights Conference Sigtuna May 10-11, 2019
Earth Rights Conference Sigtuna May 10-11, 2019


A space for dialogue and co-creation about the idea that nature, not just humans, have rights.

Can this idea be the foundation for a new dimension of respect and harmony between humanity and the planet? The legal and existential dimensions of this question are raised and examined, in dialogue with leading voices for Earth rights from different parts of the world. This is the second international conference on Earth rights arranged by the Sigtuna Foundation in cooperation with Lodyn and Cemus.



May 10-11, full days



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Register at Sigtunastiftelsen

Place is important. 100 years ago the Sigtuna Foundation was built with the aim to inspire human thought and reflection. Society has changed in many ways since then, but the ambition is still the same: to offer an open space for people with different backgrounds, traditions and viewpoints to meet, interact and learn from one another in atmosphere of mutual respect. A better place for discussing the relationship between humans and nature is hard to find. Visit Sigtuna Foundation



9.00 Coffee and registration

10.00 We are here. Welcome and introduction

Nature´s rights in law – processes and practice

Ecological Jurisprudence: Going beyond Mechanistic Law –  Henrik Hallgren, Lodyn

The Lake Erie Bill of Rights – People rising for nature in the US. Mari Margil, Community Environment Legal Defense Fund

How The Amazon became a living breathing entity with Rights in the eyes of the Law. Gabriela Eslava Bejarano, Dejusticia

To address climate change, does Culture need a new relationship with Nature? Panel discussion.

12.00 LUNCH

13.00 Parallell workshops:                        


    Nature’s Rights in the Convention on Biological Diversity

  • Singing the world
  • Sami moratorium on mining
  • Rights of nature for Land owners – partnership with the Land

14.30 A meeting with Mother Earth – outdoor activity

15.45 Ecocide and Rights of Nature in Sapmi – a report

16.00 Tribunal on the Rights of Lake Vättern

18.00 Break

19.00 Dinner

21.00 Evening programme: Voices for Nature


from 7.00 BREAKFAST

8.30 Morning celebration for the Earth (outdoors)

The worldview reflected in Rights of Nature

9.15 Tribunal on the Rights of Lake Vättern – decision from the judges

10.00 Peace with the Earth: indigenous perspectives on Rights of Nature. Tom Goldtooth

11.00 Parallell workshops:

  • A European Hub within the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature
  • I am Nature, I am Artificial – am I Aware?
  • Ecopsychology, animism and the Soul of the World
  • Indigenous Dialogue for Earth Rights
  • Inventing the Universities we need

12.30 LUNCH

13.30 How do we co-create harmony with nature? A Learning Ecosystem

Interactive session: where do we go from here?

15.30 Fika and closure.

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Tom BK Goldtooth,  Dine’/Dakota, United States is the Executive Director of the Indigenous Environmental Network, an international indigenous NGO based in Bemidji, Minnesota near the border of United States/Canada. A social change maker within the Native American community for over 36 years, has become an internationally renowned environmental, climate and economic justice leader, working with many Indigenous People and social movements around the world. Tom co-produced the award-winning documentary, Drumbeat for Mother Earth, which addresses the effects of bio-accumulative chemicals on indigenous people. Co-founder of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Nationality: United States.  President of the Fourth Rights of Nature Tribunal in Bonn, Germany.


Keri Facer is Professor of Educational and Social Futures at the University of Bristol and the current Zennström Climate Change Leadership professor at Uppsala University. She works on rethinking the relationship between formal educational institutions and wider society and is particularly concerned with the sorts of knowledge that may be needed to address contemporary environmental, economic, social and technological changes.


Jenni Laiti is a Saami artivist, indigenous rights activist and traditional Saami craft maker. She is from Aanaar, Finnish side of Sápmi and lives now in Jåhkkåmåhkke, Swedish side of Sápmi with her reindeer herding family. Laiti is a member of Suohpanterror collective,
who creatively promotes indigenous Saami rights and fights against colonization and exploitation of Sápmi in an artivistic way.
Laiti has been active in the Saami civil society since she was 16 years. She won the Tsumbaráigi award for her unwavering work for the Saami rights in 2014. In recent years she has been active in the fight against a planned mining project in her home village, for climate
justice in Sápmi and local self-determination in the Deatnu river system. Laiti´s artivistic work composes culture jamming, direct action, performances and community art. Her work deals colonialism, decolonialism and right to one´s own culture and land, traditional knowledge and sustainability.


Per thought he was going to be a zoologist. But some rather esoteric experiences made it necessary for him to delve into the world of the mind, rather than that of nature. After a while he realised that mind and nature must be the same, in some strange way. What to do? Well, he avoided the university as much as possible. Even so, he got a PhD in human ecology at Lund University, eventually finishing a thesis called The Lure of Origins. He left the university in 2007 and is now a consultant, writer, speaker, maker of radio programmes, and an enthusiastic collaborator with various artists. Now and then he also works as an independent expert for the European Commission on matters of culture. His pod radio shows with well known culture journalist Eric Schüldt – Människan och maskinen, Kunskapens träd and Myter & Mysterier – have acquired something of a cult status in Sweden.


Niklas Högberg is a practitioner of ecopedagogy, transformative leadership and inner transition since 30 years. Early on he got involved with strategic and innovative organizations to implement social change to end hunger and poverty. Through UN-related initiatives, he carried out programs and projects to empower social sustainability based on people-centered and participatory approaches, both in South and North. During the last ten years, he has integrated his experiences of empowering sustainable change based on inner leadership, modern science, transformational activism as well as indigenous wisdom. He was part of pioneering the inner transition movement in Sweden through the work of Pachamama Alliance, including rights of nature.


Hana Begović is the Organizer at the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, in Ecuador, and holds a degree in Sustainable Development, Globalization and Human Rights. She has also studied Latin American movements and been engaged in various initiatives in Sweden, Bosnia and Ecuador concerning women’s rights, indigenous rights, climate change and urban sustainability. Recently, she was the logistics coordinator for the launch of the historical proposal Kawsak Sacha in Quito, a proposal developed by the Native Kichwa People of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon. She is also currently co-developing a project for solar energy in Amazonian communities.


Associate professor Martin Hultman works as lecturer at Linköping and Gothenburg University. He is engaged in local politics organising events around ecotourism, popular science and transition. As an interdisciplinary scholar he is the co-ordinator of Environmental Posthumanities Network, initiator of SweMineTechNet and organiser of two international conference on ecopreneurship and climate denialism respectively. His publications include the books Discourses of Global Climate Change and Den inställda omställningen. Hultmans current research revolves around issues such as posthumanities ethics, ecofeminism, environmental utopias, climate change denial and ecopreneurship historically as well as contemporary. At the moment he is finishing a new book project called Ecological Masculinities.


Hugo Echeverría is Doctor of Jurisprudence from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Quito, Ecuador. He is a member of the World Commission on Environmental Law of IUCN as well as a member of the Ecuadorian Foro de Abogados. Hugo works as attourney of environmental law with emphasis on international law and biodiversity conservation as well as the environmental rule of law. Living in the Galapagos Islands for five years, he worked on marine and coastal legal issues from the perspective of world natural heritage sites, enforcement rights and access to justice. His current academic and professional interests focus on comparative approaches to constitutional environmental rights; the role of the judicial system in advancing environmental law; and the emerging paradigm of Nature as a subject of rights.


Natalia Greene is part of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal’s Secretariat.  She was actively involved in the recent Constitution process in Ecuador, particularly with the ‘Rights to Nature’ clause and the role of civil society and indigenous people in the process. Natalia is a consultant for Rights of Nature with Pachamama Alliance and is the focal point in Ecuador for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. She graduated in Hampshire College, holds a Political Science master’s degree from FLACSO Ecuador and a master’s degree from UASB on Climate Change. She has worked on the environmental and indigenous aspects of the Yasuní-ITT Initiative to keep oil underground in the Amazon. From 2011 until 2013, Natalia Greene was the President of CEDENMA, the National Coordinating Entity for Environmental NGO’s, now re-elected for the 2018-2020 period.


Henrik Hallgren is the founder of Lodyn, a Swedish non-governmental organization engaged in Ecopsychology, Nature awareness and Nature’s rights activism. He is teaching courses, lectures and write books, articles and reports in these topics. In 2016 he was part of the interactive dialogue of the UN General Assembly on Harmony with Nature. He is a ceremonial leader in the Scandinavian heathen tradition called Forn Sed, and has an academic background in archaeology and social anthropology.


Malin Östman has worked at CEMUS since 2005 in different capacities. Currently she also works for the Faculty of Science and Technology at Uppsala university with educational development. 2013 Malin won Uppsala University´s pedagogical price for Active Student Participation. Right now her primary focus is on how to encourage students and the university at large to take on the current sustainability challenges as well as being an active participant in society.


Marie Persson Njajta is a member of the Sami Parliament and human rights activist dedicated to indigenous rights and childrens rights. She has founded the Network Stop the mine in Rönnbäck, fighting the last 8 years against a nickel mine planned on her ancestral lands in the Ume river delta. Marie is often speaking on the exploitation and colonisation of Sapmi.


Zara has been working shamanically since 2005. As well as teaching shamanism, she helped to set up and run the International Shamanic Community (ISC) and is a writer and filmmaker. She has published two books on creative writing. She also teaches the use of story as a healing tool that helps us hear Nature and connect to the invisible side of Life. Together with Jonathan Horwitz she has taught many eco-shamanic courses at Schumacher College in the UK and at their retreat center Åsbacka in southern Sweden, where they help people to heal and re-establish connection to Nature.


Långsjö teater is a touring theatre company based in Gnesta, Sweden. Co-creative processes, openness and curiosity are the core qualities of the company´s work. Långsjö teater is known for working close to interdisciplinary sustainability research and also for having a longer period of time of own research before each production. The artistic language of the Company is complex embodying and experimenting with various disciplines as storytelling, clown and mask, live music, kathakali and other body work. The performances often have an improvisational and interactive part where each audience of each performance has the chance to receive a unique experience.


Gabriela Eslava is one of the researchers who made the first legal action on climate change and the rights of future generations in Latin America. She also belongs to the group of 25 young plaintiffs of this legal action, which ended with the Colombian Amazon being granted rights. She is a lawyer who has worked in the Congress of the Republic of Colombia, with initiatives and community participation in environmental matters, economic incentives for the conservation of biodiversity, payment for environmental services, right to water and animal rights. Her topics of interest are related to the formulation of public policies on environmental matters and constitutional litigation. She currently works as a researcher in the Litigation area at Dejusticia (Centro de Estudios de Derecho, Justicia y Sociedad) in Bogotá.


Osprey Orielle Lake is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). She works nationally and internationally with grassroots and Indigenous leaders, policy-makers and scientists to mobilize women for climate justice, resilient communities, systemic change and a just transition to a clean energy future. Osprey serves on the Executive Committee for the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and is the visionary behind the International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit, which brought together 100 women leaders from around the world. She directs WECAN’s advocacy work in areas such as Women for Forests, Divestment/Investment, Indigenous Rights, Rights of Nature and United Nation Climate Conferences. Osprey is the author of the award-winning book, Uprisings for the Earth: Reconnecting Culture with Nature.


Jonathan has a master’s degree in anthropology and has been working with shamanism since 1972. He has worked as a teacher and field researcher at the Foundation for Shamanic Studies and founded the Scandinavian Center for Shamanic Studies. Jonathan is a frequent contributor to “Sacred Hoop” magazine and was for many years the European Editor for “Journal of Shamanic Practice.” Together with Zara Waldebäck he has taught many eco-shamanic courses at Schumacher College in the UK and at their retreat center Åsbacka in southern Sweden, where they help people to heal and re-establish connection to Nature.




Peder Karlsson is the cultural coordinator of the conference. He graduated in 1989 from The Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, with a post-graduate Diploma in vocal ensemble performance.  He was a member of the internationally renowned Swedish a cappella group The Real Group 1984-2010, with whom he made 16 CDs and over 2000 concerts all over the world. Peder is Honorary Professor at Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus and Aalborg, Denmark, where he teaches artistic leadership in rhythmic choir music since 2015. He has co-created the “Organic Choirs” concept, which is based on rotated leadership and singer-centered creative processes. He is a founding member of European Voices Association and a part of the activism network End Ecocide Sweden.


Sanna Barrineau works with education for sustainable development and is the project coordinator of the Zennström Climate Change Leadership professorship. Her interests lie in creating institutions that care and the kinds of knowledges and learning processes may help us act more care-fully.


Ecologist by training, changemaker and cultural creative by trade, Pella Thiel has a diverse experience as a nature interpreter and environmental activist. She has co-founded End Ecocide Sweden and Transition Network Sweden and writes, speaks and teaches on issues related to transition, ecopsychology and human relationships with nature. Pella is also a coordinator of the swedish Rights of Nature network and member of UN Harmony with Nature Initiative. She mostly likes practising permaculture on her family farm in Stockholm archipelago.


Alf Linderman is associate professor of sociology of religion and executive director at the Sigtuna Foundation. In his research he has primarily focused on the relation between religion, media, politics and society, but he has also been involved in several research projects on climate change and the human capacity for innovation and adaptation.



”Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.”

from the Universal Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth

Declaration by the Earth Rights Conference participants 2017


We, participants of the 2017 Earth Rights Conference in Sigtuna, Sweden, have gathered from five continents, twelve countries and indigenous peoples such as the Sámi people in Scandinavia and the Sarayaku people and Quechua nation of South America.

Because of the accelerating socio-ecological challenges and wounds caused by the modern human-centered worldview which has emphasized our separation from each other and from nature,

We recognize and support:

  • The need of an earth-centered worldview emphasizing the interconnectedness of all beings, as well as the urgent need to implement this worldview in our legal systems,
  • The indigenous peoples’ knowledge and rights to territories and organizational forms and livelihoods based on a harmonious relationship with nature,
  • The urgent and historical opportunity to gather around Earth Rights* as a framework to restore the relationship between humans and nature.

We commit ourselves to living in harmony with nature, each other and ourselves, as well as to the co-creation of a common Earth Rights culture.

We declare to be the change we want to see in the world through:

  • Learning to govern ourselves in alignment with the Laws of Nature;
  • Listening to and speaking for Nature;
  • Connecting and cooperating across borders;
  • Healing past wounds, individually and collectively, in order to move forward;
  • Standing up and taking action for Earth Rights with love.

Today we call on all peoples, organizations and governments to join us in this great undertaking and take adequate measures. We call on the United Nations to adopt the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth for the wellbeing of our Earth Community and future generations, and in honor of our common home.


* Earth Rights include the rights of all of our planet’s ecosystems and all of its inhabitants. We envision Earth Rights as working in harmony with, reinforcing and securing all other rights of peoples and species.

Say yes to Rights of Nature
Help us reach a million signatures at


5 + 1 =

“A true “right of the environment” does exist.”

Pope Francis to the UN, September, 2015