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New Organization Launches Dedicated to Nature’s Defence

Legal Advocates for Nature’s Defence (LAND) is a new non-profit organization working towards the protection of nature and honouring of Indigenous sovereignty in law and policy. Based in Robinson Huron Treaty territory, the organization was founded in 2023 by Kerrie Blaise, an accomplished environmental and Indigenous rights lawyer. Kerrie is joined by board members Randy Restoule, a dedicated lands technician and researcher of Dokis First Nation and Neesha Fernandes, a social worker who brings years of experience in trauma-informed practice.

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LAND’s goals are to:

  1. Make justice accessible to all communities
  2. Advance the protection of nature and honouring of Indigenous sovereignty in law and policy
  3. Work with the grassroots to improve environmental laws for people and the

Our Unique Approach to Advocacy

LAND prioritizes providing legal services and support for initiatives that help advance the two most critical of targets for our planet: cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2030 to combat climate change and protecting 30% of lands and waters by 2030 to halt biodiversity loss. These targets, as recognized by the United Nations and signed on to by Canada, are critical if we are to halt the twin crises of nature and biodiversity loss.

There is clear evidence that nature and biodiversity is in a global crisis. The rate of species extinction is tens to hundreds of times higher than the average of the past ten million years and 25 percent of all animal and plant species are threatened. One million species currently face extinction unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss, which includes climate change.

The Opportunities

LAND was founded with the purpose of filling a vitally important niche: being responsive to the unmet legal needs of Indigenous nations and grassroots organizers across the country and drastically scaling-up their voices in urgent climate and lands protection matters.

Using the global biodiversity agreement as our roadmap to 2030, we are:

  • Working with grassroots, non-profit and Indigenous partners across the country to scale-up lands and water protection through a range of initiatives, including the introduction of first-of-its kind legislation to protect endangered ecosystems and enshrine Canada’s international biodiversity targets into law
  • Advancing legal options and mechanisms which facilitate the establishment of Indigenous Protected and Conserved Areas and their recognition
  • Serving as a Civil Society Organization (CSO) certified by the Law Society of
    Ontario, meaning we provide free legal services for communities advancing
    environmental justice.
  • Amplifying the voice of the grassroots in urgent climate and Indigenous rights matters through legal representation
  • Providing insights about environmental laws and legal processes and how to
    improve them for people and the planet

Join Us to 2030

LAND is a young organization but our founder and board, combined, have decades of experience working to create solutions in light of incalculable injustices. We have an unwavering dedication to protecting the natural world and amplifying the voices of those who depend on its most.

The years leading up to 2030 are the most critical if we are to halt catastrophic climate change and biodiversity loss. With less than seven years left on the clock, we must build momentum, advocating for the rights of nature so that we do not continue to further erode biodiversity values.

We are incredibly grateful to all of our supporters and depend on you so that we can scale up our capacity. Please help us meet our $75,000 fundraising goal so that we can:

  • Develop programming specific to advocating for the protection of nature
  • Draft first-of-its kind legislation to protect endangered ecosystems and enshrine Canada’s international biodiversity targets into law
  • Hire key staff for 2024, including a young, aspiring environmental lawyer

You’re Invited!

We invite you to join us on Friday September 29, 2023, where we’ll come together on Lake Nipissing, North Bay on the Chief Commanda II for an evening cruise and fundraiser to celebrate our launch. Full event details as well as tickets can be purchased here.

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