CELDF

Blog: Brazil Superior Court calls for paradigm shift to recognize the intrinsic value and rights of nature

We now know that July 2019 was the hottest month in recorded human history, with 2016 – 2018 the hottest years in recorded history.  We know that more than 1 million species are at risk as human activities push “the planet towards a sixth mass species extinction.”

The climate emergency is growing, species extinction is accelerating, coral reefs and other ecosystems are dying.  Humankind is causing these overlapping crises, as the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Climate warns of the “significant human influences on the Earth system as a whole.”

It is increasingly clear that humankind must rapidly move away from a relationship with the natural world based on “domination” toward one focused on protection and sustainability.

In 2006, the first place in the world secured the rights of nature in law. This was Tamaqua Borough, a small community in the … United States. Thirteen years later, dozens of communities across the country have enacted such laws.

Action in Brazil

In March, Brazil’s Superior Court of Justice picked up this mantle, calling for a new legal paradigm that recognizes the intrinsic value of nature. The Court wrote that nature and species deserve respect and care, and that legal systems should afford them “rights and dignity.”

The Court further wrote of the need for humankind’s relationship with nature to move away from one of “domination” and the need to consider “a legal approach that is biocentric and not just anthropocentric.”

 In its ruling, which focused on protecting wildlife, the Court acknowledged how the law is already changing in different places – advancing respect for and rights of nature. This includes several Brazil communities which have enacted rights of nature laws over the past several years, assisted by CELDF partner Vanessa Hasson, an attorney in Brazil.

Nurylicious by Iguazu Brazil in Flickr Creative Common

In 2006, the first place in the world secured the rights of nature in law. This was Tamaqua Borough, a small community in the State of Pennsylvania in the United States. Thirteen years later, dozens of communities across the U.S. have enacted such laws.

In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to enshrine the rights of nature – or Pachamama – in its constitution. Bolivia and Uganda each have national laws in place, and courts in India, Bangladesh, and Colombia have recognized legal rights of river and other ecosystems.

Today, communities, indigenous peoples, activists, and governments are joining together in the Rights of Nature Movement. Find out how you can become involved. Please visit //celdf.org/rights/rights-of-nature or contact rightsofnature@celdf.org.

Featured Image : Nurylicious by Iguazu Brazil in Flickr Creative Commons Nurylicious

 

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