Giving Nature Rights

This piece from <em>Utne Reader</em> looks at Ecuador's recent extension of inalienable rights to nature and why other countries should follow this lead.
May 13, 2009, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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"In September 2008, the citizens of Ecuador approved the world's first constitution to extend inalienable rights to nature. In the South American country, "Nature, or Pachamama . . . [now] has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution."

Ecuador's policy makers received assistance structuring the groundbreaking eco-provisions from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), a U.S.-based nonprofit that's helped municipalities in several U.S. states enact similar "right of nature" laws. The concept is simple but inspired: Give nature rights, so that people can defend them-instead of going after eco-violators for bureaucratic infractions.

Most contemporary law treats nature as property and favors the proprietor, merely limiting the destruction of nature, rather than prohibiting it for nature's own sake."

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Published on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 in Utne Reader
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