Rights of nature

Rights of nature

The idea that nature — forests, rivers, mountains — could have rights, in the same way that human rights, or corporate rights exist has been

Half a century since it was conceived, rights of nature is a movement with momentum. The next test? Making its impact felt the world over.

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Viewing nature as a commodity has long been the norm but giving it legal rights may force a change of outlook across the world.

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The idea that nature — forests, rivers, mountains — could have rights, in the same way that human rights, or corporate rights exist has been building momentum.

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The recognition of natural entities as living persons has generated awareness but its contribution to their legal protection remains uncertain.

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Maps and charts showing the progress of laws to protect rights of nature show that countries are taking different approaches to saving ecosystems.

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Giving legal rights to rivers and trees is touted as a potential solution to environmental damage. But history suggests its effect will be minor.

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Some experts are proposing that nature has rights, like human rights. But to do that, we first have to define what ‘nature’ really is.

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If a river has rights, does that mean farmers can no longer use the water to grow their crops?

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