A Movement for Environmental Rights

By Rebecca Jacobs, Posted on August 13, 2021

Community Forests International is very excited to join the Coalition for Environmental Rights. The Coalition is a diverse group of organizations and partners working towards environmental justice in Canada and to secure the right to a healthy environment, including clean air, water and soil, and a safe and stable climate.

Environmental Rights are Human Rights

What are Environmental Rights?

The right to a healthy environment is grounded in the underlying principle that all humans have basic, non-negotiable needs, including clean air, clean water, clean soil, and a liveable climate. It acknowledges that everyone should have equal access to a safe environment and that other human rights cannot be upheld if these needs are not met.

Did you know that more than 150 countries in the world recognize the right to a healthy environment – making it the fastest-growing body of human rights internationally? We want Canada to do the same.

Environmental rights would:

  1. Empower citizens to actively participate in decisions that affect their environment, including proposed actions, laws, an­d permits that may have adverse environmental impacts.
  2. Require the government to assign an independent body or institution to monitor all actions, laws, and permits under the jurisdiction of the government with environmental rights legislation.
  3. Requires the government to grant individuals and communities access to a range of diverse, unbiased, timely and affordable legal proceedings, thus facilitating the ability to seek legal action on any violations or threatened breach of any acknowledged environmental right.
  4. Grant people the right to open, free, and timely access to information on environmental matters including actions, laws, permits, and environmental disasters.

Environmental Justice is Resilience

Integral to the Coalition is the understanding that environmental injustices are compounded by deeper systemic inequalities. The negative effects of environmental harms and the climate crisis disproportionately impact Black, Indigenous and communities of colour; women; the LGBTQ2S+ community; economically marginalized groups; children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Together, the Coalition advocates for an intersectional and human-rights based approach – and pushes for systemic change to allow all people and their environments to thrive. We collaborate to support and amplify each other’s work towards achieving environmental justice in its many forms.

You can learn more about our shared objectives and mission from the Coalition’s website, and follow on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for news and updates.