The People's Picnic, a free concert featuring the Grand Junction-based country blues and rock ensemble Williams Brothers Band, will be held from 1-4 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 11, at Paonia Town Park. Hosted by the grassroots organization North Fork Valley Community Rights Advocates the event provides an opportunity to give feedback on the proposed "Bill of Rights for Paonia." Passage would grant rights to communities, nature and prohibit new oil and gas extraction.

NFVCRA is conducting a survey on representation by municipal, county, state, and federal governments, and whether corporations and ecosystems should have the same rights as people. All respondents will be entered in a drawing to win a $100 gift certificate from Don's Market or a $50 gift certificate from Heart of the Dragon in Paonia, to be drawn at the conclusion of the concert.

The Paonia Bill of Rights reads like the Declaration of Independence and reinstates the right to self-government, free of corporate and government interference, and introduces revolutionary concepts including a right to a healthy climate, clean water and soil, and rights of ecosystems. In doing so, it calls for a ban on new fossil fuel exploration and development in Paonia's watershed.

Paonia is one of more than 200 communities in the country that have crafted similar bills. Ecuador made history as the first country to recognize the rights of nature in its constitution. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, Nature has legal personhood and can be defended in a court of law.

To take the survey and read the proposed bill, visit nfvcra.org.

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