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 – Fall 2015

  •  On June 18 Pope Francis released his encyclical letter on the environment, economics and equity.  This is in preparation for the upcoming UN climate negotiations to be held in Paris in December.  Here is Sr. Pat Siemens reflection on this important pastoral letter.  Laudato Si’ - A story of right relationships, by Patricia Siemen, published in  Global  Sisters Report, July 5, 2015
  • Sister Pat Siemen has returned from her sabbatical, refreshed with new perspectives from her travels. We are so happy to welcome her back!  Visit CEJ on Facebook to see some details of her trip, including some wonderful photos, and follow new initiatives from CEJ, inspired by her insights and learnings.
  • In addition to resuming the reins guiding CEJ, Sister Pat will be teaching Exploring Principles of Earth Jurisprudence during the fall term at Barry Law School. Click here to view syllabi and reading lists from previous courses.
  • Upcoming CEJ educational events, field trips, and presentations are featured on the right side of this page. Check back often for updates to these and other community events. 
  • Top law student papers from the most recent Earth Jurisprudence Seminar have been published here on the CEJ website. We’re grateful for the thoughtfulness and creativity of our students, and proud to add their  voices to the Earth jurisprudence conversation.  Please check back for additional papers as they become available.
  • If you’d like to schedule a talk or workshop about Earth jurisprudence and the rights of nature for public and professional education, CEJ staff would be happy to oblige.  Please contact us for more information about what we offer.


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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