In our last narrative season, La Lucha En La Jungla, about the decades-long fight over oil pollution in the Ecuadorian Amazon, I mentioned something unique about Ecuador’s constitution. It includes a provision for the rights of nature. Ecuador rewrote its constitution in 2008 to include a chapter called Rights for Nature. Other countries have toyed with this idea since then, and it freaks a lot of people out, especially people running large multinational corporations, mainly because it challenges one of the core tenets of capitalism: private property. Rather than treating nature as property under the law, rights for nature articles acknowledge that nature in all of its life forms has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate, and that we, the people, have the legal authority to enforce those rights on behalf of ecosystems. Here’s Natalie Green with the Global Alliance for Rights of Nature, explaining how the concept works in Ecuador.
“Well, Ecuador in 2008 rewrote its constitution and it was passed by the majority of Ecuadorians. And what we decided is that we don’t want to follow a model for development like a socialist model or capitalism model, because all those models were proven to be wrong. And we decided to recognize something that is that we are going to fight for and we’re going to be working for a model based on well-being. What’s what’s established in the Constitution is a model based on well-being and what is well-being, or bien vida in Spanish? It will be this notion of living in harmony with nature.”
And here is a handy explainer from the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, which has been leading a lot of the fights for rights of nature in the US.
“Under the current system of law, nature is considered to …