Rights of Nature
Rights of Nature is the recognition and honoring that natural ecosystems including trees, oceans, animals, mountains have rights just as human beings have rights. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, the time has come to recognize that nature and all our natural communities have the right to exist, maintain and regenerate their vital cycles. And we – the people – have the legal authority and responsibility to enforce these rights on behalf of ecosystems. The ecosystem itself can be named as a rights-bearing subject with standing in a court of law
This movement began with Indigenous communities in Ecuador. These rights were codified in the Ecuadorian constitution in 2008. Soon after, in Bolivia, the World’s People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth drafted the Universal Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. Since then, a number of other communities (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) have used this principle to protect their lands.