The Rights of Nature movement is sweeping the globe, and none too soon. Here are but a few of the stories to inspire…
In the Latest Rights of Nature Case, a Tribe Is Suing Seattle on Behalf of Salmon in the Skagit River
Salmon—the fish—are suing the City of Seattle in Sauk-Suiattle tribal court, seeking recognition of their legal rights to exist, flourish and regenerate.
The Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe filed the complaint earlier this month on behalf of the fish following the city’s construction and operation of off-reservation hydroelectric dams on the Skagit River. The tribe, also asserting claims based on rights the tribe holds, alleges that the city constructed the dams, beginning in the first half of the 20th century, without the tribe’s consultation or consent.
The case is the latest in a series of rights of nature lawsuits emerging in U.S. communities and throughout the world. Rights of Nature laws have also been passed in some places. Last year, the White Earth Band of Ojibwe filed the first rights of nature enforcement action in a U.S. tribal court, seeking to enforce the rights of wild rice against the state of Minnesota. Also last year, five waterways were the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed against a developer and the state of Florida, alleging that a proposed development violated the waters’ rights to “exist, flow, to be protected against pollution and to maintain a healthy ecosystem.”
The aim of the rights of nature movement is twofold: to give legal rights to the natural world, in a similar way as people, trusts and corporations have specific legal rights; and to shift people’s consciousness, so that they see their relationship to the natural world as one in a fellowship of living beings, instead of seeing nature as a “thing” or property that can be owned, and in some cases, destroyed. The movement draws heavily on Indigenous worldviews. Read more at Inside Climate News by Katie Surma, January 14, 2022
Ecuador’s Constitutional Court enforced Rights of Nature to Safeguard Los Cedros Protected Forest
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 must develop a binding 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.
Read more at GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature), December 1, 2021. The video is 3 minutes.
Virginia Law Review: Where Nature’s Rights go Wrong
This article is dated November 29, 2021. Glad that Ecuador has pushed beyond these legal boundaries, per the article above. Interesting study though! Read the overview here. For the full research paper click here.
In the January 2022 episode of “Glen’s Parallax Perspectives”…
Glen Anderson interviewed two experts — Kai Huschke, community organizer with CELDF, and Elliott Moffett, Nez Perce, president of Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment (www.nimiipuuprotecting.org), — who have savvy insights and practical experience working to protect environments and establish legal rights for nature.
Watch the TV YouTube recording below (1 hour). Read more here.
Check out the wealth of articles in the Rights of Nature section of all our monthly newsletters!
January newsletter here.
December newsletter here.
All VACRN newsletters here.