Congratulations to the tiny country of Ecuador, the only country in the world that has formally adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitution. Although there are other nations that honor the Rights of Nature…usually when it’s convenient…Ecuador stands alone as the only country that has stood by their decision
So, what exactly do we mean by the Rights of Nature? I think most people probably have a good idea, but there is some confusion too. Personally I think of the Rights of Nature as respect for creatures and the natural world. We should not behave as if nature is there for our exclusive use and disposal. We should never destroy the natural world for economic advancement or personal egocentric wants.
But a good example of the Rights of Nature is the most recent decision made by the Ecuadorian court, as reported by GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature).
“In an unprecedented case, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador used the constitutional provision on the “Rights of Nature” to safeguard Los Cedros protected forest from mining concessions. The Court voted 7 in favor and 2 abstentions. With the ruling, the Constitutional Court has created groundbreaking jurisprudence in which the Rights of Nature – the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, and environmental consultation – must be respected. The court decided that activities that threaten the Rights of Nature should not be carried out within the Los Cedros Protected Forest ecosystem, which includes mining and all types of extractive activities. Water and environmental permits to mining companies must also be denied.”
GARN is an organization that I’ve written about before. Anyone can join GARN. Their website is garn.org.
There are actually seven countries that legally recognize the rights of nature, and surprisingly the United States is one of them (although that can be pretty hard to believe, I do think we are doing better.) For example, CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) is an organization that is extremely helpful in helping communities press lawsuits against invading corporate pillagers and other organizations wanting to do environmental damage that local communities object to.
The NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council) is an organization that takes offensive companies and their pending plans to court to stop projects that are destructive to the environment. A recent example is their stopping the hideous plan to do intensive mining in the pristine Bristol Bay in Alaska. Bristol Bay is one of the most pristine, natural wildlife/seal life areas in the world. Of course, the Canadian company wanting the property is filing yet more suits.
The very latest endeavor NRDC has undertaken is to stop the dangerous 1,000,000 acres of offshore drilling oil and gas lease sales in Alaska by the Biden administration. Oil spills in Alaska have killed millions of fish, whales and other creatures and destroyed entire ecosystems needed for survival. I’m not sure how leasing a million acres of Alaska coastal waters for oil drilling supports this administrations preaching about “climate change.”
We have one earth…our home. We have treated animals and the environment as though they are under our dominion and rule. We have too often shamefully and wantonly waged war on nature’s resources without a thought of the devastation often caused. Nature has every right to exist on this planet equal to the rights of people…Without nature, quite frankly, we wouldn’t last very long. Without us, however, Nature would flourish.