I write to speak of a transition at CEJ that begins today. Transitioning can be a time of expectation and excitement, or a time of hesitation and dread. Fortunately the CEJ transition is one of excitement.

Starting July 1, I am beginning a year’s sabbatical and leave of absence from CEJ and Barry Law School in order to reflect and write. It is satisfying to leave the work and mission of CEJ in the competent, capable and experienced hands of Jane Goddard, Acting Director, and Rob Williams, CEJ Staff Attorney.  In addition, yesterday we added Jane Marsden to our team as CEJ’s administrative assistant.

For some time now, I’ve been hankering to find some down time to study and reflect upon the changes and rapid developments in the field of Earth Jurisprudence and Rights of Nature.  CEJ began in 2006 and the Earth jurisprudence movement has burgeoned since then. In 2006 only a handful of folks such as Thomas Berry, Mike Bell, Cormac Cullinan, and Liz Hosken, with her wonderful colleagues  from the Gaia Foundation in London, were speaking of the contours and core principles of Earth jurisprudence. I have always considered myself blessed to begin the Center of Earth Jurisprudence under their wise and welcoming mentoring.

Now the Rights of Nature movement is recognized internationally. The formation of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature in 2010 and its recent first World Ethics Tribunal on the Rights of Mother Earth held in Ecuador in January demonstrate the significant eco-centric cultural and legal shifts that are emerging across the planet. It seems that many of us are finding our way back into a reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Our indigenous brothers and sisters remain our teachers, reminding us that all other species are our brothers and sisters. We are all of one web.

So, as we move into the fullness of summer in the Northern Hemisphere, I take leave of CEJ and go into a period of networking and then hibernation so I can settle into writing. I look forward to seeing some of you along the way at various CEJ and Earth law events. In February I have the honor of working with Dr. Vandana Shiva and co-teaching a workshop with her and Dr. Mira Shiva, on “Building an Earth Democracy” at the Earth University in Dehradun, India. More information on this international workshop will be posted  shortly.

During this sabbatical year, I promise to remain grounded in this work  and ask for your prayer and support for the expansion of CEJ and its mission to advocate for legal policies and cultural changes that respect the rights all beings to exist and fulfill their propose.

May this be a time of abundance for each of you as well.


Sister Pat

Magnolia Time (photo by Jane Goddard)

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One Response to Transitions

  1. Karen Ahlers says:

    Hello Sr. Pat. So happy to hear of your plans. I hope the coming year is all you hope it will be. Selfish of me perhaps, but my hopes are also for the refreshed leadership and insightful writings that will inspire us all to be better stewards upon your return. Love and best wishes, Karen

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