I recently came across a pretty sweet article on Wired. Bolivia, a landlocked country in South America, has positioned itself to become Greenpeace’s new best friend.
Believe it or not, Bolivia is making history by presenting the world’s first “Law of Mother Earth,” which will grant legal rights to ALL OF NATURE. What’s even more unbelievable is this law is set to pass.
This new age-sounding law is not exactly all that shocking coming from Bolivia, given the nature-embracing Andean traditions deeply rooted in the culture. American translation: they are the free-spirited vegan cousin to the meat-loving American war hawk.
So what’s this law all about anyway? The Guardian says it “redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as ‘blessings’ and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.” That’s something only a shaman could love. Natural systems with legal rights. Huh. Treehuggerz.
But there are some pretty practical reasons for Bolivia’s action to save their Mama Earth. “Bolivia is experiencing drastic environmental upheaval,” explains the Wired article. “Thanks to climate change, glaciers that provide fresh water to most Bolivians are drying up; parts of the country…will likely become wasteland before the century’s end. The line between protecting nature and protecting people is very thin.” Respect your Mama!
Bolivia’s law could be just the inspiration the world needs to change our habits towards Miss Mother Earth, challenging humans’ daily activities, to “achieve dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth.”
Now, the United Nations is scheduled to discuss a treaty based on the so-called Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth that was drafted by environmentalists last year. The treaty probably won’t pass as easily as Bolivia’s law, but, as Wired puts it, “the intellectual argument for nature’s rights isn’t necessarily a patchouli-soaked Gaia fantasy translated into legalese. Some say it’s a practical extension of ecological insight.” It’s science, ya’ll.
And it’s respect. University of Southern California law professor Christopher Stone says it best: ”It’s just as silly to think humans had inalienable rights to destroy communal entities like streams and forests.” We need to rise up and agree, legally, that certain resources can and should be exempt from ax-wielding lumberjacks. Although, I hope we can keep flannel around.
Well…I guess now we pray to the colors of the wind with Bolivia and keep looking South to see what happens.
What do you think? Should nature be afforded a legal status?