Rights of Nature Europe proposes a whole systems framework of law that recognizes the reality of our existence: we are nature - part of the interdependent web of life. When nature thrives, we thrive. Rights of nature shifts the paradigm by reversing the structure of law that treats nature as an object separate to us - which is at the root of the problem - by recognizing nature as a rights-bearing subject of the law equal to humans and corporations.
As the destruction of the biosphere continues, we need to establish new legal systems to protect what remains. Mumta Ito proposes a new beginning for environmental law based on extending 'civil rights' to the natural world. It starts with the premise that all life is protected - and then seeks to find the balance required to maintain our dynamic relationship with all life - not the other way round. Despite the proliferation of environmental laws and treaties, destruction of the natural world still continues apace. One of the key reasons that this occurs is because our environmental laws - which see nature as property - legitimise it. It starts with the premise that all of life isn't protected, leaving us with the impossible task of reactively legislating to carve out protections, rather than proactively creating the frameworks needed to create the ecologically thriving world that all wish to inhabit. The laws that we already have - such as the EC Habitats and Species Directive, the UK Wildlife and Countryside Act and the US Endangered Species Act - selectively protect species proven to be under risk. ...read the full article.
Despite hundreds of environmental laws nature is still in decline. These laws are failing because they are based on the premise that nature is property to be consumed. Laws carve out minimal protections against this consumption, but they are piecemeal, reactive, and for the most part an observable failure. Granting rights to nature subverts this property paradigm. Nature is fully protected as a subject of the legal system capable of bearing rights. An acceptable level of human activity - economic and leisure - is then settled on. But this activity must not threaten the functional integrity of the ecosystem in question. Nature rights establishes a duty of care towards nature and embeds the reality of our relationship with nature in law. Mumta explains how the current legal system operates and how rights of nature brings systemic transformation.