In 2008 the Ecuadorian government enshrined the Rights of Nature into the country’s constitution, which was the first time that a government had given the natural world legal status and a form of protection.
Next New Zealand was one of the countries to partially implement a similar idea, by protecting some mountains and rivers with legal rights, and giving to citizens the power to seek legal redress for violations. As in Ecuador, this built upon indigenous ideas about the relationship between humans and nature, and indeed indigenous peoples seem to be in the forefront of ecological struggles the world over.
It may seem the the US, where property rights are so sacred, would be the last place to look for a similar movement, but in fact in various local districts this same idea has been adopted, including in Santa Monica and Utah (concerning the endanged Salt Lake waters).
Although implementation everywhere has been difficult, the idea has spread to other countries, and is gaining traction as one way to help protect an empoverishing environment. This beautifully shot and informative film looks at these ideas from a global perspective, and how it might succeed in ameliorating the problems we have created.
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