Community Event

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Thursday | May 16, 2019 | 6:30 pm — 8:00 pm

The majority of responses to climate change focus on top-down measures, such as the Paris Agreement and the call to revive the United States Environmental Protection Agency. A parallel struggle is also underway that is less known but arguably equally important: the struggle of people who depend on land and environment to fight climate change from the bottom up, through the courts. However, the World Justice Project estimates that 5 billion people live outside of the protection of the law. Those living outside the law are often driven from their land, denied basic services, and intimidated by violence. This is especially the case in places like India, Sierra Leone, and Cambodia where individuals and communities are often denied the power to manage their forests, pastures, rivers, lakes and coasts. Meanwhile, there is an ever-increasing investment interest in exactly those resources. When the rights of those who live and depend on the land are insecure, conflict and unsustainable, inequitable development are more likely. In response, there is an emerging movement of community legal workers, also known as community paralegals, who empower people to understand, use, and shape the law. These advocates form a dynamic, creative frontline that can squeeze justice out of even broken systems. How do grassroots justice efforts relate to systemic change? How can those most affected by environmental harm overcome the imbalances of power between themselves, private companies and the state? What roles do global superpowers, such as the United States and China, play in land investment and climate change? How should the top-down and bottom-up parts of the environmental movement interact?”

Sonkita Conteh, director of Namati’s Sierra Leone Program, and Vivek Maru, founder and CEO of Namati, will join us to describe these efforts by smallholder farmers, fisher people, herders, and legal advocates to address harms caused by industry and large-scale agriculture, in Sierra Leone, India, Kenya, Myanmar, the United States, and elsewhere.

Namati is the first and only global organization dedicated to legal empowerment. Since 2011, 1.3 million people have directly benefited from remedies achieved by Namati-trained paralegals.

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Cost: $20
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Event Email: 415-535-9201
Please contact organizer for wheelchair accessibility information.

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