I was reminded of the groundbreaking and vital work of Steven Wise when I was working on a grant proposal for the One Language Project and researching other movements in a similar vein. If you missed the article by my friend Charles Siebert in the New York Times Magazine this summer, you can read it here:
How does a thing become a person? In December 2013, the lawyer Steven Wise showed the world how, with a little legal jujitsu, an animal can transition from a thing without rights to a person with legal protections. This Op-Doc video follows Mr. Wise on his path to filing the first-ever lawsuits in the United States demanding limited “personhood” rights for certain animals, on behalf of four captive chimpanzees in New York State.
You also might enjoy this video of his appearance on the Colbert Show!
There is a movement afoot and Naturestage is part of this new shift in awareness of other species sharing much emotional commonality with us and what that means for how we, at the top of the food chain, treat them. Our empathy and compassion is something that needs to be nurtured in our education system, and that is why Naturestage exists – to use art as the conduit for imagination, cross-cultural dialogue and heart to converge, leading to new systems that work for the earth and for all of us.