Ecuador has Rights of Nature in their constitution as a way to protect things such as the flow of rivers and mining projects that threaten wild species. Uganda also recognizes the Rights of Nature in protecting nature’s “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions, and processes in evolution”. New Zealand Recognizes the Whanganui River as a legal person with all rights given to natural persons. Earth Jurisprudence. Those are just some of the rights given to parts of nature in the world, but I hope that someday those rights can be extended across the world and will be the rule, rather than the exception.
Current legal laws recognize environmental law, which is about regulation, i.e. what resources can we take for ourselves, and how much pollution and toxins are we allowed to put into the earth (hint: it’s not none). They basically control how humans interact with the earth- essentially issuing permits to destroy the earth. In contrast, Earth Jurisprudence is about how to give our natural resources autonomy and allow the earth to heal and
thrive. The earth cannot defend itself and cannot directly fight back. The people of the earth should have a duty to protect their land and live symbiotically with it, not against it. We live for the Earth,
the Earth doesn’t live for us!
China and the United States cause nearly half of the world’s pollution, alone. However, the effects of that pollution are felt worldwide, and no one is exempt from its impact. Which countries are the world’s biggest carbon polluters? – ClimateTrade. Each country and each person has a duty to do all that they can to give back to the earth. That includes giving rights to rivers, mountains, oceans, deserts, trees, animals, and all living things so that they may be protected from human incursion. Tony Zelle, one of the authors of Earth Law Education: Advancing an Ecocentric Paradigm to Address the Climate Crisis, general counsel for the Earth Law Center, and a zealous advocate for Earth Law states that, the change we need in the world begins with education. Specifically, the way we educate students needs to change. Rather than sending children indoors for school and showing them pictures and videos about nature, we need to send them outside and let them see for themselves! Have the students walk the river and listen to the voices of nature. Have them observe the wilting leaves of a plant and recognize that it is thirsty! Have them watch the diminishing river and see that the river is dying! All people need is to change their consciousness and re-engage with nature as the indigenous people do, or once did. Nature is communicating that she is sick, we are just not listening.