Event details

  • The Playhouse Performing Arts · Derry / Londonderry, County Londonderry
  • 23 January 2024
  • 07:30:00 PM to 09:00:00 PM

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POSTPONED: Rights Of Nature

07:30:00 PM to 09:00:00 PM
23 January 2024


POSTPONED: Rights Of Nature

07:30:00 PM to 09:00:00 PM
23 January 2024


Apologies, due to the storm warning and many people ringing in with concerns and the recent loss of life a few days ago we are postponing this event and will reschedule when nature is not speaking so loudly.

A Discussion In The Round

It should be no surprise given the colonial history of this island and this city that a movement that sprang from the coming to power of the pre-colonial world views beyond Europeshould find resonance here.  

Rights of Nature is an emerging and transformative social movement for the recognition of Nature as a subject of law and a subject of history.  It’s a movement that is fast gaining a foothold on the island and in the North West. In December, the Joint Committee on Environment and Climate Action adopted a report with recommendations that the Irish Government take the next steps towards a referendum that would invite citizens to consider incorporating Rights of Nature into Bunreacht na hÉireann (Ireland’s Constitution).

The Rights of Nature movement has its origins in South America, in countries like Bolivia and Ecuador, where the Rights of Nature have already been enshrined in constitutions. The movement represents a coming to power of indigenous peoples and their language/systems of knowing that refuse the modern European notion that our lands, territories and species derive value first and foremost from our systems of property. In other words, Nature – the island of Ireland and all the communities of species and ecosystems that constitute the island – is alive, must have regard before the law, and must be recognised as a subject of our history.    

In Ireland our own indigenous language and mytho-poetic traditions echo the insights of other indigenous peoples around the world who live in a relationship of deep reciprocity and respect with Nature. We have the ancient Brehon laws that also contained ancient insights into our entanglements with the fate of Nature.

The discussion will be informed by inputs from former Derry City and Strabane District Councillor, Meave O’Neill, who introduced the first Rights of Nature motion on the island, Rose Kelly, a founding  member of Donegal Rights Of Nature who were at the fore in getting Donegal County Council’s motion and Dr Peter Doran, who, working in tandem with these grass roots movements initiatives to win the recommendation of Ireland’s Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity Loss (2022) to recommend that it be put before the Irish people in a constitutional referendum.

The discussion/conversation will explore the economic, political and even spiritual significance of this world view’s re-emergence here with deep roots in our own community story and be facilitated by Mary McGuiggan.  


Maeve O’Neill (Zero Waste NW)  Maeve is a longstanding member and former chair of Zero Waste North West.  She was a People Before Profit Councillor on Derry City and Strabane District Council.  Her work there was instrumental in getting Derry City and Strabane District council to pass a motion enshrining Rights of Nature.  Derry/Strabane became the first Council in Europe and on these islands to pass a motion recognising nature as having rights as a subject in law.

Rose Kelly (Donegal Rights Of Nature) Rose, a native of Donegal is a primary school teacher and longtime environmental activist.  She is a founding member of Donegal Rights Of Nature the group that were instrumental in getting the Rights of Nature motion passed in Donegal council.

Dr Peter Doran: Environmental Justice Network Ireland:  Peter is a lecturer in Environmental Law at Queens University, a long time member of Zero Waste North West and a founding member of Environmental Justice Network Ireland.  Born in Donegal he grew up in Creggan where the experience of conflict lead him to a life long commitment to understanding and countering the issued driving social injustice and climate breakdown with a focus on the colonial origins socio-ecological crises.

The discussion will be facilitated by Mary McGuiggan (Zero Waste North West):  Mary is a founding member of Zero Waste North West and leads on its Environmental Gathering which brings earth protectors from across the island and beyond together and keeps an watchful eye on government policy north and south.  

This event is organised by Zero Waste NW as part of the 2024 Programme of Events marking Derry’s Bloody Sunday.