The Awards serve to empower winners and build the green economy.
See an interview with past winners below
Congratulations to the 2018 Award Winners!
1. The Biodiversity Award
2. The Climate Change Award
4. The Energy Efficiency Award
GOLD AWARD WINNER
SILVER AWARD WINNER
BRONZE AWARD WINNER
Cormac Cullinan is an internationally respected environmental lawyer, author, speaker and advocate for the legal recognition of the rights of other than human beings to continue to make their unique contribution to the community of life we call “Earth”. In 2008 he was included in a book profiling 301 extraordinary environmentalists in recorded history and in 2012 he received the Nick Steele South African environmentalist of the year award.
Cormac attributes his love of the wild to the many hours he spent wandering the hills and forests around his family home in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, and to the influence of his parents. He became the head of the land service club while at primary school and has been an environmental activist ever since, lending his characteristic warmth, creativity and passion to all of his involvements.
In the belief that better environmental laws could prevent the accelerating destruction of Nature Cormac completed an LLM in environmental law at Kings College London and became an environmental lawyer. He established EnAct International, an environmental governance consultancy, in London and worked in more than 25 countries around the world, drafting environmental treaties, legislation and policies and advising governments on the “architecture” of their governance systems. After 10 years in Europe, Cormac returned to South Africa in late 1999 to take up a partnership in the specialist environmental law firm (now Cullinan & Associates Inc.) and lead the South African office of EnAct. Both firms have played a significant role in developing South Africa environmental laws and policies and the law firm has been, and still is, involved in many environmental and social justice cases.
Realising that most Western legal systems are designed to legitimize the exploitation of Earth, Cormac began formulating and developing a critique that went beyond the mainstream idea that simply drafting better environmental laws would prevent further exploitation. After meeting the ecotheologian Thomas Berry and hearing his call for the development of a new jurisprudence (philosophy of law), Cormac wrote Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice (2002) which expresses a vision of Earth Jurisprudence based on the understanding that the purpose of legal systems must be to guide humans to nurture mutually beneficial relationships with the other
members of the Earth Community instead of exploiting them. Wild Law was the first book to define Earth Jurisprudence (which is central to the United Nations Harmony with Nature programme) and has been translated into several languages. It has played a significant role in informing and inspiring a growing international movement and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books in China in 2017.
At the invitation of Bolivia, Cormac spoke at the 2009 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen and led the drafting of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which was proclaimed on 22 April 2010 by the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Bolivia. In September 2010 he played a leading role in establishing a Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature and in April 2011 addressed the UN
General Assembly on Earth Jurisprudence. Cormac is an active member of the Executive Committee of the Alliance and drafted the Peoples’ Convention that establishes the International Tribunal on the Rights of Nature. He is a judge of the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature and was the presiding judge at the Tribunal hearings in December 2015 in Paris.
Cormac has two sons and three step children and lives in Cape Town with his wife Mary Ann, whose sage advice, love and support contributes enormously to his life and work. His latest project is establishing a Wild Law Institute to promote rights of Nature in Africa.