Earth Jurisprudence

What would a world that applies Earth jurisprudence look like? If Earth jurisprudence and wild laws were applied, science, traditional knowledge and law would be integrated in order to determine how best to give effect to the duty to respect and live in harmony with Nature/ Mother Earth.




Decision-making would be based on what will best promote the integrity and vitality of the whole Earth community and people would aspire to reach their full potential as human beings by enhancing their relationships with other people, animals and places rather than through consumerism and power.


New Zealand


In New Zealand the Whanganui River has been recognised as a legal person represented by two custodians and the Te Urewera Act recognises the area that was formerly the Te Urewera national park as a legal entity with “all the rights, powers, duties and liabilities of a legal person”.



Vilcabamba River

In Ecuador, where rights of Nature are enshrined in the Constitution, the Vilcabamba River successfully sued a provincial government to prevent spoil from a road widening project being tipped into the river and disrupting its natural flow.

How will the Wild Law Institute make a difference to the people it helps?

The Wild Law Institute will provide legal, communications, and advocacy support for communities give support to communities and organisations that protect local ecosystems and cultural heritage against destructive projects, or which seek to live and work in ways that benefit the integrity and health of all living communities, including humans.


Cormac Cullinan and his colleagues at Cullinan & Associates Inc. provided legal support to the amaMpondo communities on the Wild Coast near Xolobeni

To enable them to assert their right to be properly consulted and to assent to any toll highway before it can be constructed through their ancestral lands.

The Wild Law Institute will also empower communities and organisations by connecting them with a regional and global network of people defending Earth and creating ecologically sustainable and socially fulfilling communities.

by Cormac Cullinan

Wild Law

A Manifesto for Earth Justice

Find out more about Wild Law and its origins in the book Wild Law.

What does it advocate?

What is Earth Jurisprudence?

EARTH jurisprudence?

Earth Jurisprudence is a philosophical approach which views human legal and governance systems within the context of natural systems of order. Humans co-evolved in relationship with other beings, and this community of life is the source of our well-being. Therefore the primary purpose of legal and governance systems must be to ensure that people protect and contribute to the integrity, health and well-being of the entire Earth Community.

Earth Jurisprudence draws on the cosmologies and laws of indigenous cultures which understand the importance of maintaining respectful relationships with other beings. The diversity of human cultures and ecosystems mean that there will be many ‘bio-culturally specific’ versions of Earth Jurisprudence reflecting how different human communities regulate themselves as part of the Earth Community.

What are Wild Laws?


Wild laws apply Earth Jurisprudence. They are human-made laws that are aligned with the laws of Nature and promote the flourishing of life, diversity and healthy relationships, instead of legitimising human exploitation of Earth. Wild laws reflect the understanding that, in order for humans to flourish, we must recognise and respect the rights of every member of the Earth community.

What are Rights of Nature?


Like human rights, Rights of Nature are inherent, inalienable rights that arise from the mere existence of the rights holder. This means that every being or aspect of nature (including people) must, at a minimum, have the right to exist, the right to occupy space, and the right to interact with other beings in a manner that allows them to fulfil their unique role in ecological and evolutionary processes. Different species or parts of nature, all will have different rights, i.e. rivers have river rights, birds have bird rights, and human have human rights.