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What do we mean by Rights of Nature?

By Mumta Ito and Doris Ragettli

Did you know that only humans and institutions created by humans, such as corporations have rights?

Nature is considered and treated as an object to be used by us humans, which – since the industrial revolution- has lead to the extinction of species and the pollution and depletion of Nature. 

Today’s legal systems facilitate economics without any consideration to Nature. Since nature is unprotected under the law, except as property, environmental law can only carve out some protection programs for endangered species and their habitat. This is not enough to protect Nature, it is a system that does not work anymore.

Nature being an object/property has several undesirable consequences that make it practically impossible for citizens to protect nature using the law (eg. planning courts, endangered species system can't keep pace with extinction rates. If there is no relationship = no obligations/duty of care, law of tort - can only get monetary compensation for human loss - no obligation to restore nature)

How “rights” changes this: RoN is a framework of law that includes legal personality, duty of care and ecological governance.

Therefore we ask for a systemic change in the legal structures, a change that will also include giving rights to Nature, not only to Humans and entities created by humans.

With Rights of Nature included in the legal structure, it would provide for an economy in harmony with Nature, based on a fair legal system that includes all stakeholders.

You can view the Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth in the following languages:

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