Global Ecological Integrity Group
Sustaining Global Ecological Integrity and Human Health Through Science, Ethics, and Law


From our Founder/Director Laura Westra

Dear Integrity Friends,

At last year’s meeting, we agreed that we had come a long way from our beginnings (in Windsor and the Great Lakes area) which had been entirely committed to the research and study of the scientific basis of ecological and biological integrity.

Our increasing preoccupation with its ethical and legal aspects is no doubt the most important part of our project and the most worthwhile aspect of our activities, and we are extremely grateful to Klaus who leads the way in bringing ecointegrity to the attention of the international legal community. Still, as we proceed, we need to learn more about the current scientific research in both public health and the earth sciences, an endeavour that can only add legitimacy to the quest for legal acceptance.

To that effect, we have invited two very well-known scholars in the broad fields of occupational and environmental health research, both being Fellows in the Collegium Ramazzini, with the assistance of Colin Soskolne. They are Carl Cranor (University of California Riverside, CA) whose work on chemical exposures I have relied on for years; and, Ana Soto (Tufts University, Boston, MA) whose cellular biology research included that with the late Theo Colborn who participated with GEIG in Washington DC almost 20 years ago. On the side of Earth System sciences, Klaus Bosselmann has been instrumental in inviting Dieter Gerten (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact) and Johan Rockström (of the same institute) as well as Stefan Knauss (University of Halle) who has been working independently on ecological integrity.

Matteo Fermeglia, whom you met last year in Salerno, is our local organizer, on behalf of Prof. Mauro Bussani of the University of Trieste. I assure you we are working hard to ensure a meeting as outstanding as the one we had in Salerno!

GEIG 2019
Università degli studi di Trieste, Italy

24-29 June 2019

Perspectives on Ecological Integrity in Science and Law

2019 Final Programme
15 April 2019

GEIG recommends carbon offsets for all participants - click here for Native Energy offsets
GEIG Founder L. Westra to speak at

The Science and Politics of Glyphosate:
A One-Day Workshop on the

most-applied Pesticide in the World
Erasmus Rotterdam University
06 June 2019

Dr. Westra will speak in Panel 1: Law and Politics. For the full agenda, click here. This workshop will bring together academics, scientists, and policymakers to explore glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup®, and other commercial broad-spectrum herbicides, such as those manufactured by Bayer, and the numerous court cases that have linked these highly toxic herbicides to cancer.
"A true understanding of
ecological integrity
human life with the wild,
and the rights of the latter
with those of the former."
2019 GEIG Publication

Ecological Integrity and
Land Uses: Sovereignty,
Governance, Displacements
and Land Grabs

Eds. L. Westra, K. Bosselmann,
and V. Zambrano
Nova Science Publishers

This book is intended to focus the attention of scholars and policymakers on the ongoing land grabs that occur in all continents, as corporations, conglomerates and powerful governments ally themselves with those who reap economic profits from the dispossession of those who inhabit the lands.

Often the dispossession takes place as a legal transaction, even as an internationally sanctioned form of so-called “sustainable development”, something that, in reality, is neither sustainable, nor leading to the development of the communities indigenous to the land, who usually attempt to the best of their ability, to resist, and deny what they view as a forceful hostile occupation, of the lands which constitute their only source of sustenance.

This book raises a grave question, as it asks, whether these dispositions might represent grave violations of the rights of peoples to be free from racial discrimination, and to their rights to their own resources and self-determination. When climate change is exacerbated by deforestation, in order to use the land for more profitable cash crops, then it is even possible to view the environmental disasters that ensue as crimes against humanity.
 Laura Westra
Founder and Director of GEIG
2018 GEIG Foundational Publication

Environmental Disasters
and Land Grabs as
Crimes Against Humanity

Laura Westra
Nova Science Publishers

Increasingly people in every continent of the world are becoming aware of the grave consequences of the current environmental problems, from climate change to unsustainable agricultural growth durations. These consequences include dangerous, environmentally caused results that affect our health and the health of our children, as well as our social well-being and our very basic rights.

This book raises a radical question: Can environmental disasters and land grab crimes, in fact, be seen as crimes against humanity? That approach is defended through a number of present legal documents and through existing and novel arguments. With this in mind, who is responsible for the present situation, and who should be held accountable for both damages and harm towards those parties affected?

The main problems concern holding governments (who minimally permit, but often promote many of the practices of legal and natural persons) responsible for initiating and supporting the activities that ensure their economic benefit, which is leading to the present impasse. The authors discuss how such individuals can be held accountable singly and collectively for the harms they impose on all life.
"Ecological integrity is a precondition for human aspirations and a fundamental principle of law."
 Klaus Bosselmann
Steering Committee, GEIG
Oslo Manifesto of the Ecological Law and Governance Association
Opportunity for Support

Hague Principles for a Universal Declaration on Responsibilties for Human Rights and Earth Trusteeship

On 10 December 2018, the “ Hague Principles for a Universal Declaration on Responsibilties for Human Rights and Earth Trusteeship ” will be launched at the Earth Trusteeship Forum in the Peace Palace, The Hague, Netherlands, to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In addition to the Hague Principles we will also launch a global inititiative towards establishing institutions of Earth trusteeship in close relation to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Earth Trusteeship Forum on 10 December calls upon global civil society to speak out in favour of governance at all levels (global, national and local), to address Human responsibilities and Earth trusteeship.

The Earth Trusteeship Initiative (ETI) is a consortium of human rights, human responsibilities and environmental organisations. Over the past 10 months, the ETI worked and agreed on the Hague Principles. They define three fundamental responsibilities for citizens and governments to protect human rights and the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems.
Please visit for further details, for the Hague Principles declaration and how you can endorse it. You can also find the provisional programme for the 10 December Forum there and, if interested, register your attendance.

Kind regards,
Klaus Bosselmann
Chair, Steering Group, Earth Trusteeship Initiative

Co-Chair, Global Ecological Integrity Group
2016 GEIG Publication
Now Available in Paperback

The Common Good and
Ecological Integrity: Human Rights
and the Support of Life

Eds. L. Westra, J. Gray, and A. D'Aloia
Earthscan from Routledge

The book considers whether present forms of governance support the common good, or whether they are endangering its very foundations. It explores the connection between consumerism and capitalism, the destruction of natural resources and with it, the elimination of many of the ecosystem services that support life in general, and human life in particular. 

2018 GEIG Publication

Ecological Integrity, Law and

Eds. L. Westra, K. Bosselmann,
J. Gray and K. Gwiazdon
Springer Publishing

Ecological integrity is concerned with protecting the planet in a holistic way, while respecting ethics and human rights. Over recent years it has been introduced directly and indirectly in several legal regimes, culminating in international law with the 2016 expanded remit of the International Criminal Court, which now includes "environmental disasters".

This book celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Global Ecological Integrity Group (GEIG), which includes more than 250 scholars and independent researchers worldwide, from diverse disciplines, including ecology, biology, philosophy, epidemiology, public health, ecological economics, and international law. It reviews the role of ecological integrity across a number of fields through inter- and trans-disciplinary engagement on matters affecting and governing the sustainability of life for both present and future generations. These include, ethics, environmental disasters, crimes against humanity and environmental health, and how such issues can be subject to sound governance and be incorporated into international law. The book also looks forward to new applications of the concept of ecological integrity, such as crimes that result in the exploitation of natural resources and the illegal dispossession of land.
2017 GEIG Publication

The Role of Integrity in the
Governance of the Commons

Eds. L. Westra, J. Gray, and F. Gottwald
Springer Publishing

This book explores the impact of disintegrity on various aspects of governance, as the disregard of ecological conditions produce grave direct effects to human rights (to water or food) and, indirectly, also to human security in several ways. International legal regimes need to be reconsidered and perhaps re-interpreted, in order to correct these situations that affect the commons today. 

Some believe that our starting point should acknowledge the impact we already have on the natural world, and accept that we now live in the "anthropocene". Others think that the present emphasis on sustainable development needs to be re-defined. Finally, many believe that reconnecting with moral principles both in professional life and in governance in general represents a necessary first step.
2017 GEIG Foundational Publication
On Hunger: Science, Ethics
and the Law

Laura Westra
BrownWalker Press

Most of the existing literature on hunger and food does not address the harm that current practices inflict on people globally. Laura Westra’s On Hunger focuses on the interface between food and public health and on the flawed regulations intended to protect us. Food not only represents nourishment for the body; it also possesses other valuable aspects that are protected by international legal instruments. Westra argues for the importance of effecting radical changes: to protect and improve the present system of food production and distribution.
Many congratulations and thanks to all participants who made the 26th annual gathering of the Global Ecological Integrity Group a great success. GEIG would like to give particular thanks to Professor Virginia Zambrano, Matteo Bruno Scannapieco, and our hosts at the University of Salerno, with the support of the European Law Students Association. The theme was, "Ecological Integrity and Land Uses: Sovereignty, Governance, Displacements and Land Grabs." Papers have been selected for a June 2019 publication.

Keynote addresses were given by Maria Gabriella Stanzione and Klaus Bosselmann. The panels included:

Plenary 1 - Land Grabs and the Commons
Plenary 2 - Ecological Integrity, the Rights of Nature, and the Commons
Plenary 3 - The Land and the Right of the Commons
Plenary 4 - The Right to the Commons and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights: Aspects of Land Grabs
Plenary 5 - The State and Environmental Disasters
Plenary 6 - Ecological Integrity: Land and Water Uses
Plenary 7 - The Role of Society, Religion, and Traditional Knowledge in Ecological Governance

GEIG 2018
University of Salerno, Fisciano, Italy

26 -30 June 2018

Ecological Integrity and Land Uses: Sovereignty, Governance, Displacements and Land Grabs

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An important component of GEIG events is embracing the people, place, and culture of our meetings - these personal relationships create the professional commitments, and bring heart and context to the discussion. This year we shared our group dinner in beautiful Vietri sul Mare, had a morning guided tour of the ancient Greek and Roman ruins in nearby Paestum, and even celebrated the adoption of a small puppy, Geigy, that jumped into the car of our host, Virginia, on the morning of our final day.
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The 25th gathering of GEIG took place at the Faculty of Law of the
University of Windsor, June 27-30, 2017. Experts from around the world
and across disciplines gathered to discuss the intersection of
ecological integrity with science, ethics, and law. They were then warmly welcomed for a celebration at the home of Laura Westra.

A Letter of Thanks
from Laura Westra, Founder and President of GEIG
2017 - 25th Anniversary
The Global Ecological Integrity Group

Ecological Integrity 25 Years On
and Environmental Disasters as Crimes Against Humanity
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Our keynotes included (left to right):

Kathleen Mahoney, "Reparations for Mass Violations: The Need for Reform"

Sheila Collins, "The Reactionary Turn in Environmental Policy: The Trump Effect"

Richard Westra, "Foundations and Pathways to a Redistributive, Ecosustainable Future"
Our Plenaries Included:

Plenary 1 - Crimes Against Humanity and Pubic Health
Plenary 2 and 3 - Environmental Disasters and Ecological Integrity
Plenary 4 - Ecological Integrity and Ecological Law
Plenary 5 - The Commons and Territorial Rights
Plenary 6 - Environmental Disasters and Policy Choices
Plenary 7 - Environmental Disasters and Ethical Approaches
Plenary 8 - Environmental Disasters and Ecological Governance
Plenary 9 - Democracy and Global Governance
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A Special Session: Democracy at a Tipping Point?

Participants at this special session explored whether we are experiencing the end of democracy as we know it. What are the prospects for preserving the integrity of Earth’s ecological systems in a world occupied with fear, xenophobia and nationalism? This session was dedicated to exploring the identity crisis in the US and Europe and ideas for a renewed democratic culture capable of tackling the big issues of our time.

Participants agreed that further attention and partnerships were needed to expand the topic, and committed themselves to continue to keep the conversation alive. A meeting report will be posted here.