Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund brings together public interest law and grassroots organizing into a unique legal and organizing strategy – partnering with communities, civil society, and governments to drive a new paradigm for environmental protection based on rights.
The mission of CELDF is to drive a new movement for environmental protection which for the first time elevates ecosystems and species from being considered “property” under the law – and thus “right- less” – to being rights-bearers. Treated as property, environmental laws regulate the “use” of nature, such that these laws legalize harm and exploitation of the environment. Under this legal framework, ecosystems and species are facing collapse. Today CELDF has assisted close to 200 communities across the U.S. to establish environmental rights of communities and nature, and stop factory farming, fracking, water privatization, and other threats as a violation of those rights. This includes the first-in-the-nation laws codifying the Rights of Nature.
CELDF is now building upward from the grassroots – establishing state and national Community Rights Networks – to advance state and federal change.