Wild Law – A Manifesto for Earth Justice – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

wild_law_cover_webA manifesto for Earth Justice
Second Edition
Cormac Cullinan with a Foreword by Thomas Berry
Published by Green Books (26th May 2011)
ISBN 978 1 900322 90 4
Paperback, 208 pages
Price: £12.95

PART 1 - Rethinking Governance
• Anthills & Aardvarks
PART 2 - The World as we know it
•The illusion of independence
• The myth of the master species
• Why law and jurisprudence matter
• The conceit of law
PART 3 - Earth Governance
•Respecting the great law
• Remembering who we are • The
question of rights • Elements of Earth
PART 4 - The journey into
•Seeking Earth jurisprudence • The
rhythms of life • The law of the land  •
A communion of communities
• Transforming law and governance
PART 5 - The terrain ahead
•The mountain path

“This book of Cormac Cullinan explains with great clarity how we can change our entire approach to governance so that we can continue life on a liveable planet. In its basic outlines this book is one of the finest contributions to the entire field of jurisprudence in recent times.” – Thomas Berry, author of The Dream of the Earth, The Universe Story and The Great Work.

Wild Law fuses politics, legal theory, quantum physics and ancient wisdom into a fascinating story. It has been seminal in informing and inspiring the global movement to recognise rights for Nature – a movement destined to shape the twenty-first century as significantly as the human rights movements shaped the twentieth century. This revised edition includes a new preface, postscript and the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth proclaimed on 22nd April 2010.

Wild Law presents a vision of how we could transform the systems that structure and order industrialised societies to enable us to rediscover a viable role for our species within the Earth community. It reveals how the governance systems of today legitimise and promote the disastrous exploitation and destruction of Earth. The author explains how to begin transforming these systems to ensure that the pursuit of human well-being enhances the beauty, health and diversity of Earth instead of diminishing it.

Wild Law describes an Earth-centred approach to ordering human societies (Earth jurisprudence), how to apply it, and its emerging role as a common manifesto for promoting social and environmental justice, the conservation of biological and cultural diversity, animal rights and welfare, and green spirituality.

Cormac Cullinan is a practising environmental attorney, governance expert and author based in Cape Town who has worked in many countries in Africa, Europe, North and South America, and Asia. In 2008 he was included in Planet Savers: 301 Extraordinary Environmentalists, a book that profiles leading environmentalists throughout history. He led the drafting of the 2010 Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth.

Wild Law is a most interesting and timely book, though the first edition has been out a for a long time already, and the issues and solutions speak to the reader – they did to me – and make sense.

However, the serious lack of proofreading of the book detracts and at times makes it very difficult to read some sections as, due to typos, spelling and syntax errors, they do not make sense until one goes over them again and realized that it does not read right due to an error or three.

Many errors are typos where the sense is wrong or where the noun was turned into a verb, others are syntax errors or the wrong though a proper word being use. Spellcheck programs have a great deal to answer for; I am talking from personal experience.

Rating four out of five and the drop by the one point is simply due to proofreading issue or better the lack of it.

© 2011