The following is a FaceBook posting. The idea that nature can have rights just as corporations is gaining ground. There are examples in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Oklahoma, India, and New Zealand (see this link in Mother Jones.)
Since Florida’s leaders have little interest in protecting our natural resources and continue to facilitate their depletion and exploitation by private interests, establishing nature’s rights may be a solution to this travesty even though this concept has a challenged road ahead before acceptance.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
You are invited to attend an informational meeting about an exciting new effort in Alachua County–SAFEBOR, a citizens’ initiative to place a Bill of Rights for the Santa Fe River on the 2020 election ballot.
The members of our core working group have signed on to this task because we realize that our current laws are failing to restore, protect and preserve the Santa Fe River, its associated springs and the Floridan aquifer. The effort to grant legal rights to natural systems is part of a new, visionary social movement that is being adopted within the United States and internationally because people recognize that we need to fundamentally change the ways we are living with Mother Nature.
If SAFEBOR is successful, Alachua County’s home-rule charter will be amended and the citizens of Alachua County will grant legal rights to the river in the same way that citizens of Toledo, Ohio, recently granted legal rights to Lake Erie (LEBOR). (And yes, we know their action is being challenged in the courts.) SAFEBOR is being guided largely by the work of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (https://celdf.org/), the same organization that was involved with the citizens of Toledo.
To place this charter amendment on the ballot, we will need volunteer help in a variety of areas. We will need to gather thousands of signatures from registered voters. We will need a full-fledged public relations campaign. We will need to raise money. We will need endorsements and help with spreading our message from allied organizations and prominent individuals. Most of all, we will need to inspire people to be courageous in taking what could be a game-changing action for our beloved Santa Fe River. We want this campaign to be positive, to be inspiring, and to tap into the love we feel for the Santa Fe.
A citizens’ initiative like this is complicated effort and we know you will have questions. Please join us for an informational meeting 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, 2019, at the Millhopper Branch Library, 3145 NW 43 Street, Gainesville, FL 32606.
Lu Merritt aka Karma Norjin Lhamo