Ken Cline, with beard, will recount his travels in New Zealand at College of the Atlantic on Feb. 6. PHOTO COURTESY OF COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

Cline to talk about nature as a legal person

BAR HARBOR — Ken Cline will recount his recent travels in New Zealand, where he explored national park management and the legal status of two landscape features that were recently declared legal “persons” under New Zealand law, at College of the Atlantic’s Human Ecology Forum in McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Feb. 6, at 4:10 p.m.

Cline, the College of the Atlantic David Rockefeller Family Chair in Ecosystem Management and Protection, spent two months in 2017 traveling and studying the unique legal settlements regarding the Whanganui River and former Te Urewera National Park on the North Island of New Zealand. He will discuss these travels and highlight the specific worldview of the Maori — the indigenous peoples of New Zealand — and how their ancestral claims and the Treaty of Waitangi resulted in this novel legal experiment.

Cline will conclude by discussing how a similar legal arrangement might resolve century-old disputes regarding management of the Penobscot River and the legal rights of the Penobscot Indian Nation.

Cline coordinates collaboration between COA and Acadia National Park. He is professor of environmental law and policy at College of the Atlantic. He is a member of the IUCN’s World Commission on Protected Areas and the World Commission on Environmental Law.

Cline has done extensive work with local, national and international river and land conservation groups in the United States, Chile, Turkey, Tobago, Mexico, France and India. Most recently, he has done research in New Zealand on Maori legal rights and a new paradigm for managing rivers and land that gives legal standing to nature.

Cline has been a longstanding volunteer leader for the Sierra Club serving on the conservation governance committee and national rivers committee and various positions in the Maine chapter. He co-authored a book focusing on the lakes and streams of Acadia National Park and surrounding lands and was recently appointed to Acadia National Park Commission.

The COA Human Ecology Forum is a free, weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.



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