Friday, September 27, 2013

Santa Fe, Taos and Las Vegas, New Mexico
Saturday, Monday, Tued

“In the Name of Sustainability: A New Community Rights Movement”
Speaker: Thomas Alan Linzey, Esq.

Thomas Linzey, an attorney and the Executive Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund – a nonprofit law firm which has assisted over three hundred community groups and municipal governments across the country – will speak about a new community rights movement which is emerging across the United States. 

That movement consists of local communities which are beginning to use municipal lawmaking power to transition towards economic and environmental sustainability. Linzey will talk about how those communities – in eight states across the country – are beginning to not only use the law to move towards sustainability, but are also working to elevate the rights of people, communities, and nature above powers claimed by corporations and other governments. 

To illustrate, Linzey will tell the stories of Mora County, New Mexico (the first county in the country to protect their land from oil and gas drilling); Barnstead, New Hampshire (the first municipality to protect their water supplies from corporate water bottling operations); and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the first major municipality to adopt a local bill of rights protecting residents from fracking for natural gas).

 Linzey will also talk about the international work of the Legal Defense Fund – now occurring in Nepal, Australia, Italy, and India – to create legal structures which recognize the rights of ecosystems and nature; and his work to assist in the drafting and ratification of the Ecuadorian constitution, the first in the world to incorporate rights-based protections for nature. Linzey will finish his presentation with a summary of how people in New Mexico can begin this work by using local lawmaking and home rule charters to expand the authority of residents within communities to use their self-governing authority to determine the future of their own communities.