Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

Rights of Nature is the recognition and honoring that natural ecosystems including trees, oceans, animals, mountains have rights just as human beings have rights. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, the time has come to recognize that nature and all our natural communities have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. And we – the people – have the legal authority and responsibility to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as a rights bearing subject with standing in a court of law.
For indigenous cultures around the world recognizing rights of nature is simply what is so and consistent with their traditions of living in harmony with nature. All life, including human life, are deeply connected. Decisions and values are based on what is good for the whole. Nonetheless, for millennia legal systems around the world have treated land and nature as “property”. Laws and contracts are written to protect the property rights of individuals, corporations and other legal entities. As such environmental protection laws actually legalize environmental harm by regulating how much pollution or destruction of nature can occur within the law. Under such law, nature and all of its non-human elements have no standing.
By recognizing rights of nature in its constitution, Ecuador – and a growing number of communities in the United States – are basing their environmental protection systems on the premise that nature has inalienable rights, just as humans do. This premise is a radical but natural departure from the assumption that nature is property under the law.

Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature

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