Friday, April 22, 2011
Nature has Rights
This Earth Day you can read the proposed Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth at:
This declaration was adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia on April 22, 2010.
Essentially the draft United Nations treaty gives "Mother Earth" the same rights as humans. Bolivia proposed this at the UN having passed a "Law of the Rights of Mother Earth", which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January.
That document speaks about Bolivia's natural resources in reverent terms ("blessings") while granting the concept of "Earth" or perhaps Nature a series of specific rights analogous to people such as include rights to life, water and clean air; the right to repair livelihoods affected by human activities; and the right to be free from pollution. The law established a Ministry of Mother Earth, and provides the planet with Representation. That is, there is a Nature ombudsman whose job is to hear "nature's complaints" as voiced by activist, activist groups, and state organizations.
Pablo Salon, Bolivia's ambassador to the UN, describe it this way to Postmedia News.
"If you want to have balance, and you think that the only (entities) who have rights are humans or companies, then how can you reach balance? But if you recognize that nature too has rights, and (if you provide) legal forms to protect and preserve those rights, then you can achieve balance."
Closer to us Canadian activist Maude Barlow who is former Senior Advisor on Water to the President of the UN General Assembly and chairperson of the Council of Canadians. She is a leading contributor to The Rights of Nature and among global environmentalists backing the UN drive with a book (The Rights of Nature) the group will launch in New York during the UN debate o whether Nature Has Rights. Here is how she makes the argument:
"The case for acknowledging the Rights of Nature cannot be understated." Every now and then in history, the human race takes a collective step forward in its evolution. Such a time is upon us now as we begin to understand the urgent need to protect the Earth and its ecosystems from which all life comes. The Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth is a crucial link in this process and will one day stand as the companion to the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of the guiding covenants of our time. "
Of the campaign Barlow said:
"It's going to have huge resonance around the world," . "It's going to start first with these southern countries trying to protect their land and their people from exploitation, but I think it will be grabbed onto by communities in our countries, for example, fighting the tar sands in Alberta."
You can see an interview with Barlow and others talking about this topic on this at http://blip.tv/file/5047387