The mission of the Center for Earth Jurisprudence is to create laws that recognize and protect nature’s rights to exist and be healthy. 

Our work is based upon three core concepts: that humans are an integral part of nature; that we have a fundamental responsibility to protect the long-term health of natural communities; and that our current legal systems fail to recognize nature’s rights to exist and flourish.

We do this by teaching Earth jurisprudence and environmental ethics courses at the Barry University Law School in Orlando, Florida; by hosting workshops and events promoting Earth centered law, governance, and cultural change; by contributing to publications in the United States and internationally, and by participating in international networks and events promoting Earth jurisprudence and Earth Democracy.

CEJ News – Summer 2015

CEJ is looking forward to various events and milestones this semester, as well as the planning process for the rest of 2015 and into 2016.

  • Sister Pat Siemen returns from her sabbatical in July, refreshed with the perspective provided by a year of speaking, travel, contemplation, and writing. Read an article about her experience teaching in India and visit CEJ on Facebook to see some details of her trip, including some wonderful photos.
  • Visiting Australian lawyer, scholar, and advocate Michelle Maloney recently concluded a semester of speaking, writing, and teaching Earth jurisprudence at the Barry Law School. Please follow her continued work by visiting the website of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance.   
  • Jane Durocher will be teaching a new course, Environmental Ethics: Foundations of Governance, during the summer term at Barry Law School. Click here to view syllabi and reading lists from previous courses.
  • Top student papers from the Earth Jurisprudence Seminar will be published on this website in June. We look forward to featuring the brightest ideas of some of our students.  Please check  back for details.
  • CEJ staff are often invited to give talks about Earth jurisprudence and the rights of nature for public and professional education.  For more information about the workshops we can offer, please contact us.


CEJ staff attorney Rob Williams has submitted comments on the draft BMAP for Wakulla Springs, addressed to DEP’s BMAP Coordinator Stephen Cioccia, with copies to Secretary Herschel Vinyard and Deputy Secretary Drew Bartlett. The letter focuses on the failure of the proposed BMAP to acknowledge what the Department’s own data shows: the significant contribution of septic tanks to the deterioration of Wakulla Springs, and the lack of any meaningful action by the Department to prevent further compromise and to restore the water quality and quantity.    

From the letter:

The Center for Earth Jurisprudence’s approach to the issues raised by the proposed plan reflects our belief that humanity has a foundational responsibility to care for and protect the long term health and well-being of the entire Earth community–that is, all beings and ecosystems that constitute the natural world.

. . . .

These conditions are the result of 376 tons of nitrate per year going into the Upper Floridan Aquifer. It is as if someone drove a pickup truck onto the dock at Wakulla Springs and shoveled a ton of fertilizer into the Spring every day of the year. Obviously, the park rangers would not allow that—why does DEP continue to permit our springs to be polluted?

We can solve this problem if we have the will to take meaningful action now, not as the Department proposes, five years from now. . . . So far the BMAP process has been a missed opportunity for our communities to come together and protect a priceless piece of our common heritage for our children and our children’s children. We can do better.

Read the full text of the letter here. Read the appendix here.

Photo by Harley Means

Photo by Harley Means
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