Environmental degradation is advancing around the world. There is a growing recognition that we must fundamentally change the relationship between humankind and nature. Making this fundamental shift means acknowledging our dependence on nature and respecting our need to live in harmony with the natural world. It means securing the highest legal protection and the highest societal value for nature through the recognition of nature’s rights.

When we talk about the Rights of Nature, it means recognizing that ecosystems and natural communities are not merely property that can be owned. Rather, they are entities that have an independent and inalienable right to exist and flourish.

The system is fixed. We need to break it.

Under the current system of law, nature is considered to be property. Those who “own” ecosystems and the permits to destroy them are permitted to do so despite the known impacts on human and natural communities. Laws recognizing the Rights of Nature transform the status of ecosystems and natural communities to being recognized as rights-bearing entities. As such, they have rights that can be enforced by people, governments, and communities.

Join us for a deeper dive into Rights of Nature to tackle these questions and more:

  • Many communities live downstream from a harmful activity or share borders with multiple communities. How or why should one community assert the existence of rights for an ecosystem that reaches beyond themselves? 
  • How can we dismantle current laws that describe Nature as property? 
  • How do communities enforce the Rights of Nature?
  • Is passing a Rights of Nature law that is in conflict with state or federal laws a form of civil disobedience?
  • Does the right to a healthy climate exist? 
  • What kind of cultural shift is needed to uphold the Rights of Nature? 

Brainstorm with CELDF community organizers who are working with communities that are advancing the Rights of Nature. 

Watch the conversation and live Q&A Below

Additional Resources