Kriss Kevorkian- Ph.D., Eco/Climate Thanatologist, Legal Rights for the Salish Sea & A Grieving World

Kriss Kevorkian, Ph.D. (Legal Rights for the Salish Sea and A Grieving World) is an Eco/Climate Thanatologist offering emotional support to people who are experiencing environmental grief and/or ecological grief, as well as other forms of grief. She is the founder of Legal Rights for the Salish Sea educating people to understand and support the inherent rights of Nature. “We are focusing our work on the Southern Resident Orcas (SROs) because people around the world resonate with this species and are begging us to do all we can to save them from extinction.”

The rights of Nature movement looks through a lens where we see “Nature as kin, not as a commodity or property. There’s a great documentary, The Rights of Nature: A Global Movement, that explains this so beautifully and it’s available on Youtube.”

People often speak on behalf of the SROs, reminding us that they are apex predators, that they are a unique species of orcas, etc. It’s all true. But do we have to place some sort of value on them in order to save them or any other animal, species, and/or ecosystem? I’d like to see us save the SROs and salmon because they are our kin. This is an Indigenous view of life that I wish all humans would embrace. Can you imagine how much kinder our world would be if we viewed all living beings as our kin?”

Since Kriss has been involved in the rights of Nature movement, she feels far more connected to Nature now than she did before. “I find the people in this movement to be supportive of one another and collaborative because we’re all working on creating a new world, so to speak, where all are valued and respected. The only opposition comes from people who fear that their rights might be taken away. It
reminds me of all the movements where marginalized populations were fighting for equal rights, as many still are, while the majority fears that somehow their own rights would be diminished.”

Kriss knows it can be difficult for those grieving to find their way out of the despair and hopelessness they feel. She suggests that if we channel our grief into action, we heal. “Harness your grief and help us to educate our elected officials to recognize the inherent rights of the SROs and all of Nature. If you need support, please contact me at agrievingworld@gmail.com. Clearly, the pandemic has made us painfully aware of how much we need Nature. As we’ve seen, Nature can live without us, but we can’t live without Nature.”

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