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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