The forum of People for Earth is comprised of various academic societies.
Each society organizes a variety of academic events, including seminars, lectures, conferences, publications, and collaborative projects.
Academic Society on Earth Jurisprudence
The Academic Society on Earth Jurisprudence has been active since its founding in 2015, with Professor Taehyun Park of Kangwon National University's Graduate School of Law playing a central role.
The roots of Earth Jurisprudence can be traced back to the world's first Earth Jurisprudence Conference(Airlie Conference in Washington, USA) organized by the American cultural historian Thomas Berry(1914-2009) in 2001, in collaboration with the Gaia Foundation in the United Kingdom. It was during this event that Thomas Berry proclaimed “the Principles of Earth Jurisprudence”, a philosophy that is rooted in his vision of an Ecozoic Era, emphasizing that “Every being has a right” and “Rights originate where existence originates.”
Earth Jurisprudence has gained rapid global recognition as a movement for the Rights of Nature since its adoption by the UN Harmony with Nature Programme in 2016. Ecuador incorporated the Rights of Nature into its constitution in 2008, and New Zealand passed legislation recognizing the rights of rivers in 2017. In 2020, the European Economic & Social Committee reviewed the Charter of the Rights of Nature.
In an era marked by the climate crisis, there is a need to redefine humanity's role within the global community and transition to systems that enable its implementation. Earth Jurisprudence represents a new philosophy concerning governance, particularly the belief that law, as a part of governance, should ensure the well-being of all members of the Earth community.
Since 2015, the Academic Society on Earth Jurisprudence has been offering the "Earth Jurisprudence Lecture Series" aimed at lawyers and legal professionals. In 2021, the society became a registered member of the Korean Citation Index(KCI) through membership and articles of incorporation. As an organization with its own unique structure and content, the Academic Society on Earth Jurisprudence aims to expand its domestic and international activities further.
Principles of Earth Jurisprudence
- Rights originate where existence originates. That which determines existence determines rights.
- Since it has no further context of existence in the phenomenal order, the universe is self-referent in its being and self-normative in its activities. It is also the primary referent in the being and activities of all derivative modes of being.
- The universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects. As subjects, the component members of the universe are capable of having rights.
- The natural world on the planet Earth gets its rights from the same source that humans get their rights, from the universe that brought them into being.
- Every component of the Earth community has three rights. The right to be, the right to habitat, and the right to fulfill its role in the ever-renewing process of the Earth community.
- All rights are species specific and limited. Rivers have river rights. Birds have bird rights. Insects have insect rights. Humans have human rights. Difference of rights is qualitative not quantitative. The rights of an insect would be of no use to a tree or fish.
- Human rights do not cancel out the rights of other modes of being to exist in their natural state. Human property rights are not absolute. Property rights are simply a special relationship between a particular human "owner" and a particular piece of "property" for the benefit of both.
- Species exist in the form of individuals and groupings--flock, herds, schools of fish and so forth. Rights refer to individuals and groupings, not simply in a general way to species.
- These rights as presented here establish the relationships that the various components of the Earth have toward each other. The planet earth is a single community bound together with interdependent relationships. Every component of the Earth community is immediately or mediately dependent on every other member of the Community for the nourishment and assistance it needs for its own survival. This mutual nourishment, which includes predator-prey relationship, is integral with the role that each component of the Earth has within the comprehensive community of existence.
- In a special manner humans have not only a need for but a right of access to the natural world, not only to supply their physical needs but also to provide the wonder needed by human intelligence, the beauty needed by human imagination, and the intimacy needed by the human emotions.
Academic Society on Biocracy
Since 2018, People for Earth has focused on the ecological issues of the Korean Peninsula and the DMZ by organizing international conferences. In 2020, members of the Academic Society on Earth Jurisprudence organized an international conference with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development(UNRISD) to explore peace, environment, and development in the context of border regions worldwide. In the process, they introduced the field of Earth Jurisprudence and approached the DMZ as a living community. The Academic Society on Biocracy was formed around Professor Byungjin Ahn of Kyung Hee University’s Global Academy for Future Civilization, who was in charge of organizing the conference.
Earth Jurisprudence goes beyond limited democracy to embrace biocracy as a comprehensive system to ensure the political participation of nature. Consequently, the Academic Society on Biocracy engages in research on new political ethics and ecology, embracing non-human perspectives, advocating for ecological democracy, and community-building. Additionally, it investigates methods to secure the voice and rights of nature and non-human entities in decision-making processes to overcome current ecological destruction.
Academic Society on Visions of Ecozoic Era
The Academic Society on Visions of Ecozoic Era began its activities in 2015, coinciding with the establishment of People for Earth. In his 1992 book “The Universe Story”, Thomas Berry called for the end of the Cenozoic Era of mass extinction and the entry into the Ecozoic Era, a new geologic era of mutual benefit between the Earth and humans.
The Academic Society on Visions of Ecozoic Era studies the science, philosophy, and culture of humans in line with the interests of the planet as a whole through a shift from anthropocentrism to Earth-centered perspectives. Led by Professor Kiwon Song of Yonsei University's Department of Biochemistry, experts from various fields, including scientists, humanists, and sociologists, conduct in-depth seminars on the philosophy of life with an integrated approach, and conduct research on future models of science and technology society.
Academic Society on Climate and Culture
The Academic Society on Climate and Culture was founded in 2018 by a group of scientists from various fields, including botanists and polar researchers, led by Dr. Wontae Kwon, a former IPCC member and the chairman of the Gyeonggi Institute of Environment and Energy Research. It was founded on a shared understanding that climate issues need an in-depth approach from the perspective of life and culture in the current situation where not only climate action but also climate adaptation is needed to limit the 1.5-degree rise promised in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The Academic Society on Climate and Culture aims to study and practice climate-adaptive alternative cultures by examining various issues such as climate-induced natural disasters and refugee problems around the world historically and regionally. It approaches human culture from the perspective of climate and explores the possibility of new cultural life.