Friday 4th June 2021
Handwriting the Constitution presents The Universal Declaration of Climate Rights is a unique social art project, a collaboration between conceptual artist Morgan O’Hara, student environmentalist Leonard Alf and Estuary 2021.
The Handwriting the Constitution project, founded by O’Hara in 2017, promotes principles of social and civic solidarity that help citizens of all nations and political views deepen their knowledge of their inherent rights and of the laws upholding those rights. By creating a physical and psychological space, it explores the practice of concentrated writing as an art form designed to bring people together. It has been identified as activism for introverts.
Handwriting the Constitution sessions invite people from all walks of life to meet in public spaces to hand-scribe historic documents that protect human rights and freedoms. To date, 142 sessions have been held with over 2000 people from the US, Europe, and Asia from various fields, including, education, art, construction, music, geology, design, history, medicine, architecture, and politics participating. Handwritten documents include the US Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in multiple languages), international constitutions, each in its own language, and Liu Xiao Bo's Charter 08, his proposal for a democratic China.
This event presents a new original document – The Universal Declaration of Climate Rights (UDCR) – drafted by Leonard Alf. Unlike its predecessors, for example the GNHRE's Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change, the UDCR frames environmental rights from a non-human perspective, upholding the intrinsic value of landscapes, ecosystems, sentient and non-sentient species, and a greenhouse-gas-stable atmosphere, prior to considerations of their utilitarian worth to the human societies dependent upon them. It honors the elements of earth, air, fire and water as essential - in and of themselves - to the life of the planet. Culminating in a section detailing the climate rights of human beings, it seeks to uphold human value as primary.
This online event will be the first write-through of the document held online taking approximately two hours. Its structure follows that of the UDHR, which can also be handwritten in two hours. This is the first session involving the new document and it is expected that suggestions and modifications be proposed.
In the years ahead, this kind of social art practice, amplified by social support and empowered by legal tenets, will help lead us toward our society of the future. We hope you will join us for the inaugural event, the workshop, and the dialogue that is sure to ensue.