FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director, International Center for the Rights of Nature
A program of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund
AUSTRALIA: The first Rights of Nature legislation has been introduced in Australia, into the Western Australia Parliament. The International Center for the Rights of Nature assisted Member of Parliament Diane Evers and the Australian Earth Laws Alliance in drafting the bill.
Western Australia MP Evers recently introduced the “Rights of Nature and Future Generations Bill 2019” which will have a second reading this week.
The legislation would secure the Rights of Nature to “exist, flourish, regenerate, and evolve,” and provide the people and government of Western Australia with the ability to defend and enforce these rights on behalf of Nature. The Bill recognises the rights of First Nations Peoples to speak for and defend their ancestral lands, as well as the Rights of Nature. The Bill also recognises the rights of present and future generations to a healthy environment, and includes a clause relating to the “precautionary principle” by stating that “lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for denying or postponing the implementation, defence, or enforcement” of the Rights of Nature.
Mari Margil, of the International Center, stated, “We congratulate MP Evers on her ground breaking legislation to protect the rights of nature. This is a critically important step to protect nature and shift away from a legal system which today authorizes environmental harm.”
MP Evers explained that, “This is a necessary step in protecting the future of our planet and future generations as the current system is not working. We continue to see environmental destruction and actions that ensure continuing climate impacts.”
Dr Michelle Maloney, of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, stated, “Around the world, we are seeing an increasing number of Indigenous peoples, communities, and countries introducing Rights of Nature laws. These laws improve upon the current legal system, where nature is merely human property that can be used up until there’s nothing left. Rights of Nature laws redefine what environmental protection means: putting the health of the living world at the center of society, so that present and future generations of people and all other living beings can have a liveable, healthy and biodiverse planet to live on.”