The Rights of Nature: Building a New People’s Movement for the Earth

Guest Blog Post By Mari Margil, Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund.

When Dr. Seuss’s Lorax sees the Truffula trees being destroyed, he declares: “I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”

No tongues, indeed. But today, trees are gaining a voice, and nature is speaking for itself and defending its own rights to exist and thrive.

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There’s a growing push to give nature legal rights, but what would that mean?

Mother Earth, Gaia, Pachamama, Papatuanuku: different cultures have long used human metaphors to define nature.

But while there’s evidence that anthropomorphism can help foster empathy and respect for the environment, there’s a movement of people arguing that metaphors don’t carry the legal clout needed to ward off what the UN has described as an impending “planetary catastrophe”.

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Lake Erie Bill of Rights Passes With 61% of the Vote

In a special municipal election yesterday, citizens in Toledo, Ohio, USA, passed the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, which establishes that Lake Erie, and the Lake Erie watershed, possesses “the right to exist, flourish, and naturally evolve”. It further states that it “shall be unlawful for any corporation or government to violate the rights recognized and secured by this law”. Read More …

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