Rights of Nature is a key component of the strike.
Addressing global warming is not an option. Our survival, future generations, and countless species, depend on our success in implementing swift structural change to our societies.
There are countless ways to approach this crisis and to contribute.
Many focus on structural change to the economy. Others, like us, focus on structural change to the law.
We are in this climate crisis because of our legal doctrines, and they must be changed. The Youth Climate Strikes understand this.
Strike demands include a “Green New Deal” that attempts to transform the economy—the devil’s in the details—and bold environmental justice and agricultural demands, as well as structural legal change to recognize the Rights of Nature.
Leaders across the world are called on to:
“Recognize the Rights of Nature into law to protect our sacred ecosystems and align human law with natural law to ban resource extraction in defense of our environment and people.”
We stand with these demands.
We have supported dozens of local groups to draft and adopt legally-binding municipal laws that manifest this demand for Rights of Nature. We are working internationally to do the same.
We are not referring to resolutions, or legally toothless motions. This is not about feel-good action.
We’re talking about legally-binding and enforceable laws that recognize the Rights of Nature and that empower communities to govern the activities of private corporations.
This is what is needed. And this is what we are doing across the United States and around the world. This February, residents of Toledo, Ohio, for example passed a law we assisted them to write, which recognizes Lake Erie’s rights to “exist, flourish, and naturally evolve.”
That lake—imperiled by pollution and warming waters—provides drinking water to millions of people, and countless species.
To enforce the rights of the Lake, the Lake Erie Bill of Rights subordinates the “rights” of corporations to the Lake’s rights and residents’ rights to “a clean and healthy environment.” According to the law, residents’ rights, “shall include the right to a clean and healthy Lake Erie and Lake Erie ecosystem.”
The law allows these residents to sue polluters on behalf of the Lake and themselves, and sets up a fund for proceeds to restore the Lake.
Join us in building a movement to drive this structural change deep into our legal doctrines.
Images: Global youth strike for climate justice, Nottingham market square by kthtrnr, Flickr Creative Commons
Climate Strike by Roy, Flickr Creative Commons