A white grizzly bear with a fish. Biodiversity Rights Mother Earth Rights of Nature Canada

New biodiversity strategy for Canada must respect the rights of Mother Earth

Photo above by Barry Stemshorn.

Please note that the deadline for official submissions to the biodiversity strategy has passed, however you can still send this message to the ministers below. The more people who write in the more powerful our message will be. Please also share this action on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

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Dear Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault

CC: Environmental critics of the Bloc Québécois, Conservative Party, Green Party, and New Democratic Party

A new biodiversity strategy for Canada must create a framework to acknowledge and uphold the rights of Mother Earth.

I am deeply concerned that the loss and destruction  of nature is happening at a pace that our current laws cannot address. From climate driven forest fires to declines of species such as the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale to pollution of vital watersheds and river systems, the loss of a diverse and vibrant natural world is affecting my well-being, and that of my family and community.

The UN 2019 Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services found that the rate of species loss is accelerating, and that globally one million species are threatened with extinction. This trend is reflected in accelerating degradation of ecosystems and declines in threatened and endangered species here in Canada.

At the same time, I know that communities are stepping up to change things for the better. For example, the Innu of Equinitshit have recognized the rights of personhood of the Mutehekau Shipu (also known as the Magpie River) in Quebec. Other leaders are calling for similar recognition for the St. Lawrence and Gatineau Rivers. Around the world, countries and Indigenous peoples have adopted laws that reflect the recognition and protection of rights of Mother Earth.

Under your leadership, the global community gathered in Montreal last December and collaboratively developed the Kunming – Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (1). Thank you for your leadership.

Now it’s time for Canada to step up and show we are going to do our part to truly enact the ambition of the Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) recognizes the concept of the rights of Mother Earth or nature. Target 16 of the GBF calls on counties to  encourage and enable actions “in order for all people to live well in harmony with Mother Earth”. Target 19 of the Framework asks countries like Canada to commit resources and develop biodiversity strategies to enhance “the role of collective actions, including by indigenous peoples and local communities, Mother Earth centric actions and non-market-based approaches including community based natural resource management and civil society cooperation and solidarity aimed at the conservation of biodiversity.”

To successfully “halt and reverse” the loss of biodiversity we need to shift our relationship to one of shared responsibility and respect for nature.  Canada’s new biodiversity strategy and any legislation adopted to ensure its success must create frameworks to recognize and uphold the rights of Mother Earth.


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(1) DECISION ADOPTED BY THE CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY 15/4. Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, 19 December 2022. https://www.cbd.int/doc/decisions/cop-15/cop-15-dec-04-en.pdf