Report Zoöp Workshop I: Legal Representation for (Collective Bodies of) Non-humans
Can equality between humans and non-humans be legally implemented in such a way that it leads to ecological regeneration?
The first zoöp research workshop took place in the zoöp research facility at the Neuhaus temporary academy for more-than-human knowledge on 23 May 2019 and had as aim to work out the actual legal structure of the zoöp concept. A group of legal thinkers, ecologists and representatives of organisations that want to become zoöps critically evaluated the central aims of the basic concept and the legal and others means necessary to achieve those aims. Secondly they appllied the thus sharpened and wizened concept to two cases – two organisations who intend to become zoöps: Fort Abcoude and Boerderij Bodemzicht. The resulted updates zoöp concept is presented here. This is the 4 June 2019 version of the zoöp basic concept.
NB: The numbers in the text refer to the diagram underneath that represents the main elements of the zoöps structure and relations to outside bodies.
As societal pressure on non-human populations shifts way beyond their carrying capacity, the search is on for ways of giving those populations a means of counterbalance within antropogenic systems. Zoöp (2) is such a proposal, for a new kind of organisation.
The term is a combination of coöp (short for coöperation) and zoë (Greek for ‘life’) It is the name of a variety of the legal format of the coöperation in which humans as well as certain collective bodies of non-humans are partners and co-owners. The zoöp format has a twofold aim: first to expand the capacity for non-humans to act within the wider societal tissue and to strengthen their legal and economic position, second to engender ecological regeneration and growth that is resistant to extractivistic dynamics of capitalist practice.
Externally, zoöps function like any other coöperation and they can exist within the existing juridical-economic infrastructure: certain products, services or yields of a zoöp are tradeable in the market economy under certain conditions. (7)
Internally, zoöps have a different kind of economy- called zoönomy (3, 8) - not aimed at generating financial capital but aimed at the growth of ecological capital, which is expressed in a primaliry qualitative metric (and some quantified metrics) and counted in zoöns
Zoönomy and instrument
Zoönomic development is the primary ‘interest’ of the non-human collective body that partners in the zoöp. A zoönomy’s qualitative state of development is counted in zoöns. A fully flowered zoöp per definition has a zoönomy of 99 zoöns. This qualitative metric indicates the level of zoönomic fulfillment of a given zoöp – the degree to which its zoönomic potential is reached. The qualitive development of a zoönomy is assessed with the aid of a combined instrument (5) that interprets remote sensing data, local sensor data and human assessments.
Structure and legal format
A zoöp comes into being when a particular kind of contractual coöperation is formed between two kinds of partners. One kind is that of companies or public institutions (4); the other one is a local zoönomic foundation (3) that is obliged by it statutes, to act solely on behalf of a spatially identified collective body of living non-humans.
In acting out its aims (furthering the local zoönomy) this foundation is assisted by an instrument(5) that assesses and makes legible internally and externally its zoönomic development.
The local zoönomic foundation has a decisive say in the economic activity of the zoöp. The fact that foundations are bound by law to act in accordance to their statutes thereby ensures a basic independence in decision making processes.
Statutes of local zoönomic foundations are always made under supervision of the zoönomic mother board (1). This is the body that collects and shares zoönomic knowledge among zoöps, helps organisations to ‘turn zoöp’ and develops the zoönomic instrument (6). Ideally, a wide range of existing companies should be able to adopt the zoöp format.
Economic and zoönomic exchange
The qualitative state of a zoönomy is fully auditable and numerically governed with the aid of a blockchain that sets conditions for the economic activity of a zoöp - the trading of a zoöps’ yields or services in the money-based economy like fruit, wood, other growths, services or like hotel nights, child care or sports facilities, burial grounds, et cetera. A zoöps’ economic transactions (4) are subject to a specific condition: they can only take place if they do not negatively impact zoönomic conditions. In other words: when money-based transactions threaten to negatively impact the zoönomy, zoönomic interests prevail. Ideally, a zoöps economic activity also benefits its zoönomy.
Zoöps can exchange zoönomically(8) as well, This always implies the transplantation or grafting of a part of the collective body of non-humans of one zoöp to another. These kinds of exchanges may greatly support the zoönomic development of beginning zoöps, without significantly reducing the quality of a fully flowering zoöp.
Next to its qualitative zoönomic development, a zoöp can quantify certain aspects of its zoönomy, for instance: the amount of C02 it sequesters, the amount of water it filters, the amount of air it cleans of dust particles. These ecological services may offer interesting opportunities for financial investment in a zoöp, with beneficial side effects for its zoönomy.