April 9, 2024

Rights of Nature as a Tool to Protect Animals and the Environment


Teresa Nuques Martínez – Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador

Judge of the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, Teresa Nuques Martínez holds a PhD in Law from the University of La Coruña, Spain, and earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil, Ecuador. She also holds a Master's degree in Arbitration and Mediation, Administrative Law, and Constitutional Justice. Furthermore, she is a specialist in Constitutional Law from the University of Salamanca, Spain. In addition to her judicial role, Judge Nuques is actively involved in academia as a Professor of postgraduate and undergraduate courses at the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Hugo Echeverría Villagomez – Attorney Specializing in Environmental Law

Hugo Echeverría Villagomez is an attorney specializing in Constitutional Rights of Nature, Constitutional Environmental Law, and Penal Environmental Law, with over 22 years of professional practice. He is a part-time Professor at Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Law School (Ecuador) and part-time Professor at Universidad Hemisferios, Law School (Ecuador). He holds membership in multiple organizations for environmental and animal law, including the International Association of Constitutional Law’s Research Group on Rights of Nature and Animals, World Commission on Environmental Law’s Task Group on the Rights of Nature at the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and Iberoamerican Association of Law, Culture and Environmental (Asociación Iberamericana de Derecho, Cultura y Ambiente)’s Environmental Law Institute.


Kevin Schneider (Moderator) – Counsel, Earth Law Center

Kevin Schneider is an attorney admitted to practice in New York and acts as counsel to the Earth Law Center. Previously, Kevin was the Executive Director of the Nonhuman Rights Project and served on the legal team that represented the elephant Happy in a historic habeas corpus case before New York’s highest state court. For over a decade, Kevin has worked on extending legal rights to animals and ecosystems. Among other publications, he wrote the chapter on “Nonhuman Rights” for the law textbook Earth Law (Wolters Kluwer, 2021). Kevin is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Law (J.D.) and the University of Massachusetts, Boston (B.A., Political Science).