Updated August 2, 2022
INITIATIVES AS THE UNIT OF ANALYSIS
The Eco Jurisprudence Tracker dataset includes initiatives to recognize ecological jurisprudence in some legal provision, treating an initiative as the unit of analysis. Initiatives involve a process containing multiple steps. In the early stages of the process, there may be multiple attempts to get a proposal on the agenda of a decision-making body. For example, a group of citizens may make multiple attempts to get an ecological law proposal on the ballot (in the case of a ballot initiative) before their efforts finally succeed. These attempts will be treated as part of a single initiative (rather than multiple initiatives) so long as the legal provision being proposed is substantially the same.
SCOPE CONDITIONS: WHAT CONSTITUTES ECO JURISPRUDENCE?
The Eco Jurisprudence Tracker includes initiatives to adopt and implement legal provisions that contain elements of ecological jurisprudence. Ecological jurisprudence refers to the contemporary global trend within legal theory and practice that rejects the anthropocentric assumptions traditionally underpinning much of the dominant legal traditions of the past few centuries. It encompasses rights of Nature and environmental personhood initiatives, the theory of Earth Jurisprudence, Wild Law and Earth Law/Laws, as well as ecocide, ecological civilization, ecological constitutionalism, place-based ecological governance approaches and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, a host of theoretical lenses such as (among the most notable) Ecological Law and Governance, Earth System Law, Earth System Governance, and Eco-feminism, a dialogue with Indigenous and non-Western legal traditions as to the ideas of both ‘Nature’ and ‘law’, and any other legal theory and praxis in direct juxtaposition to an anthropocentric worldview.
When determining whether to include an initiative in the Ecological Jurisprudence Tracker, we in particular look to see if the initiative contains the following two principles (which are adapted from principles Carla Sbert identifies in her 2020 book The Lens of Ecological Law):
- Transcending (explicitly or implicitly) an anthropocentric view – for example, recognizing and respecting the value of all beings and the interconnectedness among them, equitably promoting the interests of human and nonhuman members of the Earth community;
- Ecological Primacy – ensuring that social and economic behavior and systems are ecologically bound, respecting planetary boundaries and the limits of ecosystems’ carrying capacity.
Many ecological jurisprudence initiatives will also seek Ecological Justice by ensuring equitable access to the Earth’s sustaining capacity for present and future generations of humans and other beings, and avoid the inequitable allocation of environmental harms.
In addition, included initiatives must be explicitly legal, having expression through some legal provision with some formal authority(e.g., we do not include NGO statements, political party platforms, or speeches that are not issuing a declaration by some decision-making body).
Examples of ecological jurisprudence that will be included in the dataset include (but are not necessarily limited to):
- Those recognizing rights of nature;
- Those recognizing rights of animals;
- Those recognizing ecocide as a crime;
- Those recognizing the rights of future generations (particularly of humans and non-humans alike) to healthy functioning ecosystems, implying the responsibility to ensure ecosystem functioning;
- Those applying Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge that involve ways of knowing positioning such as relationality and responsibilities to an entity of Nature recognizing it as living and possessing spirit;
- Those emphasizing the need (and responsibility) to maintain the functioning of ecological systems (i.e., emphasizing ecological sustainability) and prevent actions that threaten their ability to function. These initiatives tend to frame Nature as a community of life and emphasize ecological science, the need to live within ecosystem/planetary boundaries, the responsibility of individuals and/or states to ensure the functioning of ecological systems, and the importance of social justice. These are often referred to using terms such as “Earth system governance,” “ecological civilization,” “Earth democracy,” “ecological governance,” among other terms.
For the purposes of the present project, we will not be including:
- Those involving the public trust doctrine, but no element of ecological jurisprudence;
- Those involving payment for ecosystem services and other market systems that commodify nature, when they have no elements of ecological jurisprudence.
- Those only including human environmental rights and no expressly ecological content.
For the most part, this dataset only includes formal legal provisions (those with some level of formal authority). The two exceptions are citizen tribunals and civil society soft law (defined below), which we include because of the important role they play in stimulating the development of soft law and normative change at both the domestic and international levels.
We do not include initiatives that are not directly connected to the development of formal law or soft law as defined below. For example, we do not include general statements in support of ecological law, conferences, or publications. We also do not include recognition or support of ecological in political party platforms.
We do include initiatives by Indigenous peoples even if their authority or sovereignty is not recognized by governments that are part of the Westphalian state system. Under International Customary Law any entity that identifies as Indigenous Peoples is presumed to have a right to self-determination to execute their own legal initiatives. See, for example, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Principles (A/RES/61/295), 2007, particularly Articles 3-5.
RULES FOR NAMING INITIATIVES IN THE DATASET
When adding a new initiative to the dataset, enter a numae in the top text box using the following protocol (to the extent possible): Location_Legal Provision Type_Description. Some flexibility is necessary to adapt to different kinds of legal provisions. See below for examples of initiatives names corresponding to each type of legal provision included in the dataset:
New Zealand Case Ngati Rangi Trust v Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council
US Case Sierra v Morton
Ecuador Case Lawsuit Against Killing Jaguar
Statutory Law Examples:
New Zealand Resource Management Act 1991
Uganda National Environmental Act
International Document Example:
UN General Assembly Resolution 64/196 on. Harmony with Nature 2009
Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Canada and the Haida Nation
Indigenous Law Example:
Ponca Nation Statute Recognizing Rights of Nature
Nez Perce Tribe Resolution Recognizing Rights of Snake River
Local Law Examples:
Grant Township US Home Rule Charter
Melgar Peru Municipal Ordinance recognizing the Llallimayo River basin as a subject of rights
Holy See Pope Francis Address to the United Nations 2015
Blue Mountain Australia City Council Declaration on Rights of Nature
Bolivian Government Call to Action Re-Establishing Our Connection With Pachamama
Ecuador Ministry of Environment Sanction on Secoya Nation for Cutting Native Forest to Plant Palm
India Environment Ministry Policy Prohibiting Dolphinariums
Soft Law Examples:
Citizen Declaration of the Rights of the Tet River
Citizen Declaration for the Rights for Cetaceans: Whales and Dolphins
Citizen Tribunal Examples:
International Citizen Tribunal for the Rights of Nature in Glasgow Scotland 2021
Australian Peoples’ Tribunal for Community and Nature’s Rights 2016
Each initiative will automatically be assigned an ID number when first entered into the dataset.
TYPE OF LEGAL PROVISION
This variable identifies the type of legal provision that reflects ecological jurisprudence. Coders should select one of the following categories from the drop-down menu based on the coding criteria given for each option (detailed below).
International document – Select “International Document” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed in an international agreement concluded between subjects of international law (typically nation-states but also Inter-Governmental Organizations such as the United Nations or the European Union), as well as formal decisions, determinations or expressions of opinion on the part of an international organization. These documents are variously termed treaties, declarations, resolutions, conventions, memorandums of understanding, charters, or agreements,and the binding or non-binding nature of each document is irrelevant for coding purposes. The category also includes all international declarations and similar documents made between Indigenous Nations and nation states. Note: this category does not include international cases adjudicated by any international court (such as, for example, the International Court of Justice); these would be included under the category “Case”.
Constitution – Select “Constitution” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed in a fundamental law governing the political and legal organization of a country (e.g., Federal Constitution) or of a State, Territory or Province within a Federal country (e.g., State Constitution).
Indigenous law – Select “Indigenous law” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed in the constitution or any piece of legislation passed by the main legislative body of an Indigenous Nation (e.g. Tribal Nation, First Nation, etc.). The terms commonly used to refer to these pieces of legislation are constitution, tribal council resolution, band council resolution, tribal codes/ordinances, etc. It is important to note that these terms vary depending on the legal tradition in which they are located and regional legal plurality (e.g. Oceania, North America, etc.).
Statutory law – Select “Statutory law” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed in any piece of direct legislation passed by the main legislative body of a country or a State, Territory or Province (generally speaking, it is Parliament or Congress). The terms commonly used to refer to these pieces of legislation are laws, statutes, Acts of parliament, and legislation. It is important to note that these terms vary depending on the legal tradition in which they are located (for example, common law or civil law). The category also includes all other legal documents passed by the executive body of a country with equivalent value to the above. Examples of these pieces are decrees (typical of civil law countries) and Presidential Executive Orders (in the USA).
Local law – Select “Local law” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed in any form of subordinate legislation made by a body other than the legislature as delegated under a primary piece of legislation (generally speaking, a statute or parent act). These are generally referred to as delegated legislation, local legislative initiatives, by-laws and regulations. Note that the term regulation is commonly used to refer to administrative rulemaking with the force of law, based on statutory direction, but is sometimes used in some civil law countries to refer to protocols and guidelines without the force of law. This category also refers to any form of legislative initiative passed by a local or regional legislative body (for example, in the USA, local ordinances).
Policy – Select “Policy” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed through a policy, which is typically a non-binding, government guidance document that provide direction to government regulators, entities being regulated, civil society, and the public as to how, when, and where to implement legislation and other legal mandates.
- Note: In contrast with the prior category, where the term “regulations” refers to administrative rulemakings with the force of law, in this category the term “regulations” refers to protocols and guidelines without the force of law, and is used as a synonym for policies and guidelines.
Declaration – Select “Declaration” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed through a statement of intent (e.g., official statement, declaration, resolution) by a government, such as city council resolutions or Indigenous nation declarations.
Case – Select “Case” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed through a decision by judges, courts and tribunals on any topic, or if claimants invoke ecological jurisprudence (e.g., rights of nature or other principle associated with ecological jurisprudence) in a lawsuit filed with a court.
Citizen tribunal – Select “Citizen tribunal” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed through a decision by a citizen tribunal. A citizen tribunal is a civil society body functioning independently of state authorities that applies either recognized or novel law and policy to cases brought before it, often focusing on the violations of human rights, rights of Indigenous peoples, rights of future generations, and rights of Nature. Citizen tribunals’ decisions are not binding legally, but can have significant value in terms of legal and factual analysis and findings. Examples include the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature’s local, regional, state, and international Tribunals. Note: we count one meeting/convening of a tribunal (e.g., the 2015 International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature or the 2016 Australian People’s Tribunal) as a single initiative, regardless of which or how many cases are addressed in that tribunal.
Soft law – Select “Soft law” if ecological jurisprudence is expressed through a document that is adopted/endorsed by a collective of civil society organizations and that is meant to serve as draft international law and designed to facilitate and guide the development of international ecological law. We acknowledge that the conventional definition of soft law requires some form of explicit support by governments or Inter-Governmental Organizations (IGOs), however we are purposefully expanding the definition for our purposes to include civil society initiatives to influence international ecological law even if they have yet to receive endorsement from state actors. We do this to help push an evolution in the concept of soft law given that states have to date been laggards in the process of paradigm change inherent in the transition to ecological law. We also note that we only include in this category those civil society initiatives that have received declarations of support or endorsement from multiple groups.
This information is not based on pre-determined categories, but rather identifies the language used in the initiative’s original document to describe the ecological approach inherent in the initiative. Examples include, but are not limited to, rights of nature; legal personhood; ecocide; ecosystems as sacred natural sites; ecosystems as living spiritual beings; Earth trusteeship; extinction crisis; Earth democracy; ecological civilization; ecological governance; and planetary boundaries. After reading the initiative’s original legal document(s), copy and paste (or type) into the text box the phrase(s) in quotation marks that capture the essence of how the ecological approach is framed in that document. For each phrase, enter the page number where that quotation may be found.
ENTERING LOCATION INFO
Latitude & Longitude – Use google maps or another online source to identify the GPS coordinates of the town or city where the initiative was submitted/adopted. Enter the corresponding latitude and longitude using the decimal degrees format, which range from -90 to 90 for latitude and -180 to 180 for longitude (Please note that a negative latitude means South of the Equator, and a negative longitude means West of the Prime Meridian). For example, latitude of Sao Paulo City, Brazil is -23.533773, and the longitude is -46.625290.
For local level initiatives, enter the coordinates for the corresponding town or city. For state- or provincial-level initiatives, enter the coordinates for the capital of the state or province. For national-level initiatives, enter the coordinates for the capital of the country. For initiatives by international organizations, enter the coordinates for the city where the organization’s headquarters is located. For transnational initiatives among two or more countries, enter the coordinates for the location where the agreement was signed/adopted.
Region – This category identifies the world region in which an initiative exists. Select one of the following categories from the drop-down menu.
Africa – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “Africa” when they exist in the African continent. This includes both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Asia – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “Asia” when they exist in the Asian continent. For the purposes of delineating boundaries, we define Asia to include the countries in the Middle East, Central Asia, South Asia, East Asia, and Russia.
Europe – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “Europe” when they exist in the European continent. For the purposes of delineating boundaries, we define Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan as constituting the Eastern boundary of Europe.
International – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “International” when they exist at the international level (i.e., within international policy arenas).
Latin America & Caribbean – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “Latin America” when they exist in Mexico or the countries in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.
North America – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “North America” when they exist in the United States, Canada, and Greenland. While we acknowledge that Mexico is geographically part of North America, we include Mexico in the Latin American category.
Oceania – Ecological jurisprudence initiatives are coded as “Oceania” when they exist in the region known as Oceania, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Micronesia, Samoa, Kiribati, Tonga, Marshall Islands, Palau, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji.
This category identifies the country in which the initiative was submitted/adopted. For initiatives that exist within politically recognized states (countries), select the name of the country from the dropdown menu. This includes initiatives by Indigenous nations that exist within the borders of these countries. For initiatives that are adopted by the governments of multiple countries (e.g., international treaties) or by international organizations, select “International” from the dropdown menu.
This category applies to initiatives at the sub-national level and identifies the name of the specific location where that initiative exists. For local level initiatives, type into the text box the name of the town or city where the initiative was submitted/adopted. For state- or province-level initiatives, type in the name of the state or province where the initiative was submitted/adopted. For national-level initiatives (i.e., that apply to the whole country), type the word “National”. For International initiatives (i.e., among multiple countries or by international organizations), type the word “International”.
TYPE OF ECOLOGICAL JURISPRUDENCE
This section categorizes different expressions of ecological jurisprudence in order to be able to analyze broad patterns and trends. We recognize that any categorization scheme has flaws given the tremendous diversity in approaches to ecological jurisprudence, but we believe that being able to track patterns across different types of ecological jurisprudence has many benefits. We note that individual context and the unique aspects of each individual initiative is captured through other materials available on the Eco Jurisprudence Monitor.
Select from drop-down menu one or more of the following categories based on the criteria detailed below. Please note that some of the following categories are mutually exclusive but others are not:
- The categories “Rights of Nature”, “Personhood”, and “Animal Rights” are not mutually exclusive (see below for more details);
- The category “Eco Governance System” and all rights-based categories are mutually exclusive; the Eco Governance System category applies only to non-rights-based initiatives (e.g., you cannot code an initiative as both rights of Nature and Eco Governance System);
- Similarly, the categories “Eco Governance System” and “Indigenous Model” are mutually exclusive; the “Eco Governance System” category applies only to non-Indigenous initiatives;
- The categories “Indigenous Model” and “Local Ecological Knowledge” are mutually exclusive; the “Local Ecological Knowledge” only applies to initiatives in which the local ecological knowledge comes from (and is applied by) non-Indigenous communities;
- However, the categories “Indigenous Model” and “Local Ecological Knowledge” may co-exist with rights-based approaches (e.g., rights of nature, animal rights), although this is not necessary.
Rights Of Nature – Select this category from the drop-down menu when the initiative explicitly recognizes any non-human element of Nature (e.g., ecosystems, plant species, animal species) or Nature in general as a subject with rights.
Personhood – This category identifies whether or not the initiative explicitly identifies an aspect of Nature as possessing legal personhood status. Select this category from the drop-down menu when the initiative explicitly recognizes any non-human element of Nature (e.g., ecosystems, plant species, animal species) as a legal person (i.e., akin to any other legal person, like corporations, as opposed to recognizing unique rights of Nature). Note that all initiatives coded as Personhood should also be coded as Rights of Nature, but not all Rights of Nature initiatives are coded as Personhood initiatives.
Animal Rights – This category identifies whether or not the initiative explicitly recognizes an animal or species of animal as a subject with rights. Select this category from the drop-down menu if it does. Note that all initiatives coded as Animal Rights should also be coded as Rights of Nature, but not all Rights of Nature initiatives are coded as Animal Rights.
Local Ecological Knowledge – Select this category from the drop-down menu when the initiative: (1) is led and/or co-developed by one or more non-Indigenous community/campesino groups, and (2) applies their traditional ecological knowledge and relationality in recognition of Nature. An initiative is considered locally-led and/or co-developed when one or more of the groups involved in the initiative explicitly self-identifies as a local group living in close proximity to the ecosystem/element of Nature addressed by the initiative.
Indigenous Model – Select this category from the drop-down menu when the initiative: (1) is Indigenous-led and/or co-developed, and (2) applies Indigenous ways of knowing and positioning such as relationality and responsibilities to an entity of Nature, recognizing it as living and possessing spirit. An initiative is considered Indigenous-led and/or co-developed when one or more of the groups involved in the initiative self-identifies as Indigenous.
Eco Governance Systems – Select this category from the drop-down menu when the initiative applies ecological jurisprudence in a way that is not rights based and does not adopt an Indigenous model, but emphasizes the need (and responsibility) to maintain the functioning of ecological systems and prevent actions that threaten their ability to function. These initiatives tend to frame Nature as a community of life and emphasize ecological science, the need to live within ecosystem/planetary boundaries, the responsibility of individuals and/or states to ensure the functioning of ecological systems, and the importance of social justice. Examples include the Earth Charter, ecocide laws, and laws espousing ecological civilization and Earth democracy.
In the text box, copy and paste (or type) the name(s) of the organizations that initiated the legal provision establishing the ecological jurisprudence. For legislative initiatives, enter the names of the individuals and/or groups who submitted/proposed the ecological law. For cases where claimants invoked ecological jurisprudence principles in a lawsuit, enter the name of the individuals and/or organizations who submitted the lawsuit. For cases where judges established ecological jurisprudence despite claimants/defendants not doing so, enter the name of the judge or court issuing the ruling. For government/official statements/resolutions/declarations, enter the name of the individual(s) and/or organization(s) issuing the statement/resolution/declaration. Make sure to enter the names exactly as they appear on the legal documents.
INITIATING ACTOR TYPE
Select from the drop-down menu one or more of the following categories that correspond to the initiating actors. Select all that apply (none of the categories are mutually exclusive).
Indigenous Initiative – Select when an initiative is Indigenous-led or co-developed by one or more groups that explicitly self-identify as Indigenous.
NGO Initiative – Select when one or more of the initiating actors is a non-governmental organization whose NGO status can be verified on the Internet (e.g., NGO website or news source). If no evidence can be found that the organization is recognized as an NGO, do not select (and assume they are a civil society or community organization).
Civil Society – Select when one or more of the initiating actors is a group of people that have come together to support the initiative, but are not in a formally recognized Non Governmental Organization. These people may either be based in a particular community or be gathered together via a common movement/initiative.
International – Select when one or more of the initiating actors is an Inter Governmental Organization or one of its representatives.
Government – Select when one or more of the initiating actors is a government entity at any level (e.g., municipal, provincial, state, national). This category only applies to government entities in the executive and legislative branches. Courts are coded differently.
Court – Select when the initiative is established by a court ruling in which ecological jurisprudence principles are not invoked by either claimants or defendants, but rather judges unilaterally invoke these principles in their decisions. Examples include the Biodigestor case in Ecuador, the Rio Atrato ruling in Colombia, and the Ganga River ruling in India.
ECOLOGICAL ACTOR NAME
This section identifies the name of the natural entity that is the subject of the initiative. In the text box, copy and paste (or type) the name of the natural entity that is the subject of the initiative, as identified in the corresponding legal document(s). This section is not based on pre-existing categories but is meant to capture the name of natural entity as it is known in its local context. When the subject is a particular ecosystem, enter the name of the ecosystem; when it is an animal or plant, enter the name of the species; when it is Nature in the abstract, enter the word used to name Nature in the legal document (e.g., “Pachamama” in Ecuador’s Constitution; “Natural communities and ecosystems” in Grant Township’s Home Rule Charter).
TYPE OF ECOLOGICAL ACTOR
This category identifies the type of ecological actor (natural entity) that is the subject of the ecological law initiative. We recognize that Nature is comprised of nested systems, making the identification of boundaries and categorization problematic from a scientific perspective. Consequently, we code how initiatives frame the ecological actor that is the subject of the initiative. Select from the drop-down menu one of the following categories (whichever best applies):
All Nature – Select “All Nature” when a specific ecological actor is not identified, but rather the ecological law initiative applies to all of Nature in general (e.g., an ecocide law or a law recognizing rights for all of Nature).
Animal – Select “Animal” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law is an individual animal, an animal species, or animals in general.
Atmosphere – Select “Atmosphere” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is the Earth’s atmosphere.
Desert – Select “Desert” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law is framed as a desert ecosystem.
Forest – Select “Forest” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law is framed as a forest ecosystem.
Freshwater – Select “Freshwater” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is framed as a freshwater ecosystem. Examples include a watershed, river, lake, freshwater aquifer, or any type of freshwater wetlands (e.g., ponds, marshes, swamps, etc.).
Grassland – Select “Grassland” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is framed as a grassland ecosystem. Examples include steppes, prairies, meadows, Argentine pampas, Andean paramo, and African savannas.
Marine – Select “Marine” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is a marine ecosystem, or major element of a marine ecosystem. Examples include oceans, seas, salt marshes, estuaries and lagoons, mangroves, coral reefs, and the sea bed (floor).
Mountain – Select “Mountain” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is framed as a mountain or mountain range.
Plant – Select “Plant” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is a plant species.
Space – Select “Space” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is a body in outer space (e.g., the Moon, another planet, etc.).
Tundra – Select “Tundra” when the ecological actor identified in the ecological law initiative is framed as a tundra ecosystem.
This category is designed to easily identify those ecological jurisprudence initiatives that address specific subsets of Nature rather than addressing all Nature. Select “True” if the initiative addresses a specific subset of Nature, such as a particular ecosystem or a specific animal or plant species. Select “False” if it does not (i.e., it addresses all Nature).
This category simultaneously tracks two aspects of initiatives: (1) who, if anyone, is authorized to speak on behalf of the aspect of Nature addressed (i.e., who has legal authority to represent Nature in human institutions), or who has primary authority for caretaking of Nature; and (2) whether or not the caretakers are embedded in new governance institutions designed to manage human behaviors toward Nature. The available categories/options are below. Check the box next to the option that is most applicable (the categories are mutually exclusive so select only one):
- Caretaking systems are not explicitly addressed in initiative documents;
- Anyone can speak for Nature;
- Specific caretakers (guardians) are appointed, but not embedded in new governance institutions;
- Specific caretakers (guardians) are appointed and embedded in new governance institutions.
CARETAKING ACTOR TYPE
This category identifies the type of actor that is authorized to formally represent Nature in human governance institutions, and/or given primary authority for caretaking in the initiative’s formal document(s). The available categories/options are below. Check the box next to the option that is most applicable (the categories are mutually exclusive so select only one):
- No caretaking (guardianship) mechanism is created (Caretaking systems are not explicitly addressed);
- Government actors only are authorized. This includes any government entity at any level (e.g., municipal, state/province, national);
- Only non-governmental actors are authorized. This includes any non-government actor, including local community members, civil society groups, NGOs, and other non-governmental stakeholders;
- Both governmental and non-governmental actor are authorized. Use this option for initiatives where anyone is authorized to speak on behalf of Nature.
This category is designed to easily identify initiatives with Indigenous and/or local community representation on caretaking bodies. The available categories/options are below. Select all that apply (the options are not mutually exclusive, however usually only one option will apply):
- No Caretaking Mechanism – Select if no caretaking (guardianship) mechanism is created (Caretaking systems are not explicitly addressed);
- Indigenous Representation – Select if the initiative authorizes an Indigenous group (i.e., a group that explicitly self-identifies as Indigenous) to formally represent Nature in human governance institutions, or is given primary authority for caretaking;
- Local Community Representation – Select if the initiative authorizes a group of local community members who are not Indigenous to formally represent Nature in human governance institutions, or is given primary authority for caretaking.
This category is used to identify the most recent status as available through research collection. In other words, this category may be updated and change over time. Coders should select one of the following categories from the drop-down menu and input the related year. When an initiative’s status changes, coders should NOT delete the previous status, but instead select “Add Status” and select the updated status from the drop-down menu and enter the year. This will create a history of status changes with the associated years.
Drafted – Select “Drafted” when an initiative has been written but has not yet been submitted for consideration to the relevant decision-making authority;
Submitted – Select “Submitted”when an initiative has been submitted for consideration to the relevant decision-making authority but has not yet been approved or rejected (i.e., it has not been decided upon);
Approved – Select “Approved” when an initiative has been successfully completed (i.e., the relevant decision-making authority decided to approve the initiative). The terms commonly used include approved, passed, decided, signed, ratified, and made. For example, an Act could be passed by the Parliament, an International treaty could be ratified, a City Council resolution could be made, or a court could issue a ruling recognizing ecological jurisprudence.
Stayed – Select “Stayed” when an initiative has been stopped, halted, held back, detained, or restrained from going further in some fashion. Usually this applies to cases in which a higher court stays a lower court ruling while they consider an appeal.
Rejected – Select “Rejected” when either: (1) eco jurisprudence claims made in a lawsuit are rejected by a court in the first instance and not appealed or continued to be rejected on appeal, OR (2) an initiative has been appealed, and the appellate court has decided not to hear the appeal (this effectively affirms the decision of the lower court), OR (3) a legislative initiative was put to a vote and failed to pass the required threshold of that vote.
Overturned – Select “Overturned” when an initiative is overturned or repealed by a legislative body or a higher court. The terms used include terms such as overturned, overruled, repealed, revoked, removed, etc.
For each status entry, select from the drop-down menu the year that each status decision was made.
When available, type in the name and contact information (e.g., email, phone number) for a person involved with this initiative who may be able to provide information about status and other aspects of the initiative. If no contact can be identified, leave blank. Note that this information will only be available on the website’s back end and will not be made public.
Enter any comments about this initiative, such as the current status, unique characteristics, and information that needs to be collected. Note that this information will only be available on the website’s back end and will not be made public.
When available, add links to online resources that provide additional information and context about the initiative, including newspaper articles, press reports, newsletters, etc. Do this by clicking the “Add Link” button, the “Select link,” and copying the link into the text box. If you receive emails from people involved in the initiative who provided updated status, save these emails as a pdf (or text document) in the EJM shared dropbox folder and copy the link to the file in the cell. For personal correspondence like this, make sure to select the buton “link will NOT be displayed on the front end” (the button should be set to YES). This will keep information private (it will not be displayed publicly on the website’s front end.
Upload original documents (i.e., legal documents) associated with each initiative. Begin by selecting the “Upload Document” button. In the “Name” textbox, enter a name for each document following the naming conventions stated above. Make sure to include descriptive information so each document can easily be distinguished. Select the file to be uploaded. In the “Description” textbox, enter the page number(s) where references to ecological jurisprudence are found.
If original documents are not publicly available, we will not publish (i.e., make publicly available) these documents without the permission of the owners of these documents. When collecting original documents, ask the owners if they are willing to have the documents published or if they would prefer to keep these private. Until we are able to get permission to publish the original documents, set the “Private” button to “Yes.” This means the document will not be available on the front end.
Rules for Addressing Indigenous and Local Community Initiatives Based on Oral Knowledge:
When we identify an initiative based on ecological jurisprudence (e.g., through a secondary source) for which there appears to be no formally written document (e.g., it is based on customary law rooted in oral knowledge), follow the procedure below:
- If we have enough information to determine that the initiative fits our definition of ecological jurisprudence, create an entry in the EJM and then contact members of the Indigenous group involved to obtain more information (but keep initiative as a “Draft” – do not publish yet – until we obtain the relevant information and permission to share);
- In the “Initiating Actor” window, type in the name of the Indigenous group behind the initiative (if known) followed by “(under review)”;
- If the Indigenous group responds to our request for information with a written explanation (e.g., via email), use this information to code the initiative and include that written statement along with citation following the Template for Citing Indigenous Oral Knowledge as an original document. Before posting, share the draft of this statement with the Indigenous representation for their confirmation of accuracy and permission to post;
- When we reach out to an Indigenous group confirm the initiative and gather information necessary to code, explain that we recognize the value of oral tradition and would like to provide a space for oral tradition to be included in the EJM. Invite a group representative to participate in an interview (e.g., via zoom) in which we can help them record a short description of the initiative and explain the oral tradition (with either a video recording or audio recording). Explain that we would like to post this recording on the EJM website linked to the relevant initiative so that visitors to the site can learn about it.
- If the Indigenous group agrees to do a recording, upload this recording as the original document in the EJM
- If the Indigenous group agrees to an interview, but declines to be recorded, use the info from the interview to code, then create a word document that explains that the information entered for this initiative was gathered through personal communication with Indigenous representative and then cite the Indigenous Oral Knowledge using a Template for Academic Citations Using Indigenous Oral Knowledge.
For more information, see our Data Ethics Statement.