Dramatic’ global rise in laws defending rights of nature

SAFEBOR BOTTLE In: Dramatic' global rise in laws defending rights of nature | Our Santa Fe River, Inc. | Protecting the Santa Fe River in North Florida

Given that Florida does not have the political will to obey even its current water laws, it is not surprising that this concept causes panic and hysteria among big water users and abusers.  This is slow-moving in the U.S. but growing worldwide.

Read the complete article here in the Thompson Reuters Foundation News.

Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
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‘Dramatic’ global rise in laws defending rights of nature

by Carey L. Biron | @clbtea | Thomson Reuters Foundation
Thursday, 1 October 2020 08:00 GMT
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At least 14 countries have passed such measures in the past dozen years

By Carey L. Biron  WASHINGTON, Oct 1

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From Bolivia to New Zealand, rivers and ecosystems in at least 14 countries have won the legal right to exist and flourish, as a new way of safeguarding nature gains steam, U.S. environmental groups said on Thursday.

Rights of nature laws, allowing residents to sue over harm on behalf of lakes and reefs, have seen “a dramatic increase” in the last dozen years, said the Earth Law Center, International Rivers and the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice.

“This is a new area of rights, but it’s also a growing movement,” Monti Aguirre, Latin America coordinator with International Rivers, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

World leaders held the United Nations’ first biodiversity summit on Wednesday to build support for a new agreement to protect 30% of the planet’s land and seas by 2030, set to be negotiated in China next May.

Separately, more than 60 leaders signed a Pledge for Nature on Monday committing to reverse global loss of biodiversity by 2030, including clamping down on marine pollution and deforestation.

Without action, 30% to 50% of all species could be lost by 2050, threatening economic and social prosperity, a report by The Nature Conservancy charity said this month.

Lawmakers have been implementing rights of nature, which are rooted in indigenous thought, through laws, judicial decisions, constitutional amendments and United Nations resolutions in countries including Ecuador, Bangladesh, Uganda and Australia.

“We see these efforts not as isolated events, but part of something larger,” Simon Davis-Cohen, a researcher with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a U.S. nonprofit which supports the global growth of rights of nature laws.

This new legal route to protect the planet – overriding the long-held human right to harm – bring fresh arguments to court, rally communities and shift local politics, he said.

Davis-Cohen criticised Thursday’s report for failing to focus on the need to empower local authorities, saying strengthening local decision-making was “instrumental” to achieving stronger environmental law.

That question of local decision-making is playing out in Florida, which “has suffered greatly from the failure of our regulatory system to protect our waterways,” said Chuck O’Neal of advocacy group Speak Up Wekiva, named after a local river….

 

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