What does "Wild Law" Mean?

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  • Written By: Donn Saylor
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 02 February 2020
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Wild law is the idea that human laws are conducted in accordance with all other beings and with the Earth as a whole. The term is an aspect of Earth jurisprudence, a philosophy that asserts that human beings are just one aspect of a bigger community and, as such, must conduct themselves according to environmental law in order for society to survive. The expression "wild law" was created by an environmental attorney named Cormac Cullinan.

The idea behind wild law is that human behavior is developed and refined to fit within certain environmental parameters so that civilization can thrive. Its aim is not "the survival of the fittest," but rather a cooperative relationship with all other life forms. It seeks to preserve life on Earth by elevating humans above their own needs to see themselves as part and parcel of a larger group of interconnected beings.

One of the main principles of wild law is balance. Proponents of this philosophy note the radical imbalances in the human relationship to the planet; these imbalances have led to widespread pollution, decimation of rain forests, and the collapse of entire ecosystems. Only when balance is achieved can human beings be certain that life on Earth will move forward, and this can only be accomplished by individuals recognizing their place in the grand scheme of things.


From a legal perspective, wild law is not easily categorized. It is, in essence, a philosophy of law more than a legally-enforced sanction. Wild law is a method of governing oneself for the benefit of all beings and the planet as a whole.

The ideas that drive wild law are directly related to conservation efforts, green living practices, and the support of healthier environmental policies. Wild law has also emerged as a philosophy popular among environmental lawyers. Lawyers working in this discipline take cases that set out to preserve natural habitats, educate the public and build healthier and more environmentally-conscious communities. When necessary, they enter into litigation related to environmental concerns.

An environmental lawyer who works with the philosophy of wild law might participate in any number of ecological-minded initiatives. A "wild law attorney" can take on cases involving water quality, pollution regulation, and species facing endangerment. Someone in this field might also choose to hold a corporation accountable for its negative impact on the environment, raising public awareness, spearheading policy change, and filing lawsuits as necessary.


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