December  2015

Working towards a more compassionate world through education and advocacy

Increasing our Compassionate Footprint

December 2015

Animal Voice


The ‘Fees Must Fall’ movement is South Africa’s most recent example of this.

Simmering in the wings and waiting to take centre stage are the millions of passionate people around the world crying out for Eco-Justice for the Earth and all her inhabitants.

History shows that every social revolution is led by ordinary people whose dissatisfaction has been pushed to the brink.

Now, South Africa’s leading Environmental Rights lawyer Cormac Cullinan is set to take the movement for Eco-Justice to a whole new level -  

a level where ordinary people can put governments and corporates  on trial for the wilful destruction of Nature.

Animal Voice: Congratulations for being elected President of the international panel of judges to preside at the People’s Tribunal on the Rights of Nature in Paris on December 4 and 5 – to run concurrently with the Climate Change Conference COP21.   


Cormac Cullinan: Thank you. It is indeed an honour.

The trajectory that our civilization is on, is leading to disaster. It is a law of nature that an extinction event will take place when a civilization consistently degrades its habitat so that each following generation inherits a habitat that is more degraded than the one before.  The People’s Tribunal is a response to the fact that the governments of the world are not doing what needs to be done to save us from inevitable extinction.


Animal Voice: How will the People’s Tribunal change this trajectory and how do we change fast enough to prevent catastrophe?

Cape Town lawyer, Cormac Cullinan - 

chosen to lead Paris Tribunal on Crimes against Nature.

Cormac Cullinan: First, we have to move from the prevailing anthropocentric mindset that only humans matter, to a profound recognition that we are members of an amazing community of life in all its diversity.


A community of diversity can only be healthy when every member’s rights are respected. Without this, harmonious co-existence is not possible. Thus, to heal our world, we have firstly to recognise and respect the Rights of Nature and all her inhabitants.


Animal Voice: At the moment, that seems like an unattainable pipe-dream.


Cormac Cullinan: Yes, because our existing relationship with the rest of life, is one of exploitation. To change, we must recognise that everything that exists, including ourselves, has the right to exist and the right to play a role in the evolution of the Earth.

Here Cormac Cullinan speaks to Animal Voice editor Louise van der Merwe

and gives a glimpse into a quickly evolving future where the rights

of non-humans are recognised and protected by law.

Animal Voice