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Ocean View, Michelle Bender MELP'15

With California's drought worsening water problems, Michelle Bender was involved with the recentBay Area Rights of Nature Tribunal, which addressed community, human and nature’s rights violations related to reduced flows in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. Tribunal participants also discussed solutions to water flow and economic development issues “that protect, not injure nature’s rights and human rights,” Bender says. Participants at the tribunal, modeled after the third International Rights of Nature Tribunal in Paris during COP21 in 2015, testified “about Earth’s destruction, while highlighting co-violations of human and environmental rights our legal and economic systems allow,” she says. The California tribunal was “a catalyst in developing the emerging field of nature’s rights.”