Today’s legal systems facilitate economics without any consideration to Nature. Since nature is unprotected under the law, except as property, environmental law can only carve out some protection programs for endangered species and their habitat. This is not enough to protect Nature, it is a system that does not work anymore.
Nature being an object/property has several undesirable consequences that make it practically impossible for citizens to protect nature using the law (eg. planning courts, endangered species system can’t keep pace with extinction rates. If there is no relationship = no obligations/duty of care, law of tort – can only get monetary compensation for human loss — no obligation to restore nature). How “rights” changes this: RoN is a framework of law that includes legal personality, duty of care and ecological governance.
Therefore we ask for a systemic change in the legal structures, a change that will also include giving rights to Nature, not only to Humans and entities created by humans.
With Rights of Nature included in the legal structure, it would provide for an economy in harmony with Nature, based on a fair legal system that includes all stakeholders.
The Earth is our home and only source of life, whose rights and protection need to be made a priority
The world has lost over 60% of her biodiversity within the last 40 years. Nature across the globe has been significantly altered by multiple human drivers, with the great majority of indicators of ecosystems and biodiversity showing rapid decline. Seventy-five per cent of the land surface is significantly altered, 66 % of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85% of wetlands (area) has been lost. Excerpt from the ipbes report 4B.
The UN is mainly based on the Human Rights Declaration, which was adopted after World War II. However, Human Rights without Rights of Mother Earth are not complete.
The commitment by the UN to adopt a Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth, followed by the recognition of Nature in all national legal systems as a rights-bearing entity, would demonstrate this willingness and initiate the paradigm shift from the current anthropocentric world view, to an Earth centered governance towards a future in Harmony with Nature.
The United Nation’s programs are mainly based on the protection and well being of humans – hence the Declaration of Human Rights is one of the key documents. What is missing today is a declaration that acknowledges Nature as a living being, with the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, rather than being seen as property or a resource to be consumed. The declaration in its self is not legally binding but can serve as an aspiration for all nations and point the way to align our laws with the laws of nature and include nature in the legal systems as a rights bearing entity. Today this is not the case our legal systems give rights only to people and institutions created by people, such as corporations.