Siarter y Coed / Charter of the Trees ‘Treesense’ Utopias Bach and The LORE School Pontio, Bangor 3 May 2023
What rights do trees want? What rights do they have? What rights could they have? Which trees can we help? What if trees don’t want rights?
These are all important questions that we would like to pose to think of ways that we can make use of the law that we already have, to create a Siarter y Coed to protect rights of trees that we may personally love and know, and all those beyond.
In a now famous article written in 1972 by environmental lawyer, Christoper Stone, he asked the question, ‘Do trees have standing? in his article ‘Do trees have standing? Towards Legal Rights for Natural Objects’ (Southern California Law Review). Standing traditionally means, the right to appear in court, therefore really asking the question, do trees have rights?
This question is not that simple, as first of all what do we mean by rights, and how can we know it trees many have or even want them? Can we assume human rights frameworks to be applied to trees? These are philosophical questions that will springboard us in to considering some of the examples found in legal history, such as the the thirteenth century lost charter, the Charter of the Forest, folklore traditions, contemporary human rights frameworks, local Welsh law, international nature rights and case law precedents, in order to create a Siarter y Coed / Charter of the Trees, that can be used to tree advocacy in the future.
This three hour session on the rights of trees, as part of Utopias Bach’s Tree Sense Experimental School, is inspired by the Council of All Beings, is a chance to step outside of our human form and seek to represent the wills and desires of other beings. Inspiration is also taken from the citizens’ assemblies of Extinction Rebellion and the climate assemblies of GwyrddNi.
Within this, we would like to invite all creatures, whether arboreal or none, to join and learn of their rights, what their lore, and law, can teach us; and how we may advocate for them by re-imagining and re-awakening the legal frameworks we have.
The event is hybrid, and there is a link available to those who wish to join beyond the realms of the venue Pontio, in Bangor.
There is an opportunity to carry the results forward as part of the Tree Sense Experimantal School / Ysgol Arbrofol including:
Sunday 7th May: nature walk, observing, mapping, installation and re-imagining Parc y Coleg close to Pontio, for social, environmental and reproductive justice;
Wednesday 10th May: workshop with tree stories, linking folk lore and law, building on the results of the Siarter y Coed workshop;
Wednesday 17th May: Collaboratory to discuss results of the Tree Sense Experimantal School / Ysgol Arbrofol to date;
Sunday 20th May: Tree costume and props making, preparing for our Forest comes to Pontio day on 27th May. This would include making banners/a manifesto/charter of the forest drawing on all results of the Experimental school to date;
Sunday 20th May: Graduation!
Saturday 27th May: Come and be part of the Forest Comes to Pontio performance! Bring everything you’ve made from the last 12 weeks.
Utopias Bach is a series of creative invitations to explore personal and communal relationships to the human and more-than-human world. Over the course of our residency at Pontio, Bangor (3 March – 27 May 2023), we invite – human people and tree people of all ages – to become a symbiotic participants in a co-enquiry with trees. More than 120 people have registered so far!
We are very happy to be working with Gwyrddni, a community-based, community-led climate action movement bringing people together across five areas of Gwynedd on tackling climate change.
We are also working with The LORE School, a law and arts organisation that seeks to provide legal literacy to communities who typically find the law inaccessible, through creative and nature-based teaching, advocacy and research.