Great Lakes tribes’ knowledge of nature could be key to climate change.
Will people listen?
The Indigenous communities that call this region home have been practicing good land stewardship and sharing that message with others. But for too long, that message hasn't been heard.The tribes hold thousands of years of expertise. They believe their traditional ecological knowledge is critical to safeguarding resources and cleaning up the land, air and water for everyone. And they're keenly aware that our relationship with nature is at one of the most critical junctures in history.
Michael Regan, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, acknowledged to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network, that the agency has "room for improvement" when it comes to safeguarding tribal resources. Engaging with tribal leaders is a top priority, he said, and the EPA is hosting listening sessions and hoping to strengthen relationships.
Symbolic progress was made just last month when Milwaukee County became the first county in the state to pass a "rights of nature" resolution. The effort is part of a global movement grounded in Indigenous knowledge and aimed at making sure human activities do not interfere with the health of land and waterways.
Wisconsin Farmers Union approves Rights of Nature policy
On December 10 2023, at the annual convention of the Wisconsin Farmers Union, the body approved without dissent the rights of nature and inserted it as part of the organization's policy.
"...Wisconsin Farmers Union recognizes and respects that nature is a living ecosystem with inherent rights that should be protected by law. The value of the natural world does not derive only from its usefulness or economic benefit and not just as a “resource” that can be owned, used, and even destroyed...."
Story by Kailey Thompson
Good Good Good, 10-December-2023
Cody Two Bears, a member of the Sioux tribe in North Dakota, founded Indigenized Energy, a native-led energy company with a unique mission - installing solar farms for tribal nations in the United States. His company, Indigenized Energy, addresses a critical issue faced by many reservations: poverty and lack of access to basic power.
Reservations are among the poorest communities in the country, and in some, like the Navajo Nation, many homes lack electricity.
Renewable energy, specifically solar power, is a beacon of hope for tribes seeking to overcome these challenges.
Not only does it present an environmentally sustainable option, but it has become the most cost-effective form of energy globally, thanks in part to incentives like the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Milwaukee County is first in Wisconsin to pass 'rights of nature' resolution
Wisconsin Public Radio - 27-October-2023
Milwaukee County is the first county in Wisconsin to pass a "Rights of Nature" resolution aimed at ensuring "human activities do not interfere with nature and its ability to be healthy, robust and resilient."
Milwaukee is first county in Wisconsin to endorse 'Rights of Nature' movement
WTMJ TV Local News - 30-October-2023
Milwaukee County is the first county in Wisconsin to endorse the 'Rights of Nature' movement. It's a global movement that is backed by indigenous tribes in Wisconsin. On Friday, County Executive David Crowley signed a Resolution to officially endorse the movement.
Milwaukee Is First County To Recognize "Rights of Nature”
Urban Milwaukee article - 27-October-2023
County Executive Crowley signs resolution, backed by Native American tribes. The author of the resolution, Sup. Liz Sumner, noted that the county’s resolution specifically recognizes that bodies of water in Milwaukee County are “integral and essential” to the local environment.
Sharks and turtles now have legal rights in the Loyalty Islands region of New Caledonia
LeMonde - 6-October-2023
Sharks and sea turtles as legal subjects and whose interests can be defended by lawyers? Such is the new reality in the Loyalty Islands, one of the three provinces that make up New Caledonia
‘We can’t drink oil’:
How a 70-year-old pipeline imperils the Great Lakes
The Guardian - 26-September-2023
Tribes say Line 5 is a ‘ticking time bomb’ for the Great Lakes, which contain a fifth of the Earth’s surface fresh water, and risks destroying their relationship with land and water
What are the Rights of Nature?
The Natural Realm Blog - 19-September-2023
The Rights of Nature movement seeks to gain legal recognition for the rights of the natural world to:
Supervisors Support ‘Rights of Nature’ Policy
Milwaukee board is first in state to endorse the movement.
Urban Milwaukee article - 12-September-2023
Update --- The Milwaukee County Board Committee agreed Thursday (Sept 21) that natural areas and systems should be viewed as having a right to exist.
The Committee on Community, Environment and Economic Development recommended the resolution, making it the board’s policy to support the “Rights of Nature” movement.
Countries are starting to give wild animals legal rights
The Washington Post Climate Solutions article - 26-August-2023
A law passed by the Panama's National Assembly earlier this year guarantees sea turtles the right to thrive in a healthy environment, a protection until now typically reserved for humans.
Calls to Action regarding plans to transfer
Kohler Andrea State Park land
Friends of the Black River Forest newsletter 28-August-2023
Join the Wisconsin Chapter-Sierra Club in petitioning the Kohler Company to reconsider its plans to bulldoze its 247 acres of land along Lake Michigan and acres of Kohler Andrae State Park for its 5th championship course in Sheboygan County
Community news from Shepherd Express staff 16-August-2023
Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin Allocates $4.3 Million
to Address Water Challenges
The Freshwater Collaborative of Wisconsin has announced the allocation of over $4.3 million in funding for a series of projects aimed at tackling Wisconsin's pressing water issues. These initiatives will not only advance research and training opportunities for high school and undergraduate students, but also offer solutions to the state's critical water concerns.
Press release from Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin - 23-June-2023
After a Long Campaign, Menominee Site Listed on National Register of Historic Places
The Menominee Tribe is extremely happy to learn that its nomination to have the Sixty Islands or Anaem Omot (Dog’s Belly) area in Wisconsin and Michigan be added to the National Register of Historic Places was approved. This recognizes critical burial and historic sites at the place of our origin.
Message from Winona LaDuke - 24-June-2023
Northern Minnesota Giiwedinong cultural center and museum taking form
Greetings from the heart of the 1855 Treaty Territory in northern Minnesota where a new cultural center and treaty rights museum is being born, Giiwedinong. Giiwedinong will be a destination location for all interested in the history of this land, settler and native agreements, treaties, and the waters. We will feature both historic exhibits and emerging artists for our youth, elders and communities. .
News article by Liz Kimbrough - 31-March 2023
Ecuador court upholds ‘rights of nature,’ blocks Intag Valley copper mine
Community members in Ecuador’s Intag Valley have won a court case to stop the Llurimagua copper mining project, with the court ordering the revocation of mining licenses from Chile’s Codelco and Ecuador’s ENAMI EP.
IPCC Press Release - 20-March 2023
Urgent climate action can securee a liveable future for all
There are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today.