Legal Rights of Nature initiatives are growing globally, with recent examples including deforestation in Ecuador halted for breach of nature’s rights[3a] and the Whanganui River in New Zealand being granted legal personhood.[4]

The power of these initiatives rests, at least partially, in their potential to change the way that people think.

Rights of Nature: what are they, where do they come from, and why are they important?


RIGHTS OF NATURE is a climate change issue; Governments are using climate change to over charge residents on Council Tax and ridiculous charges such as ULEZ, CAZ, ZEZ, creating 15 minute Zones raising Billions a year for Council partners, with nothing spent on RIGHTS IF NATURE – ie Planting Trees.

A document highlighted by Sandi Adams at a recent Glastonbury Council meeting, Absolute Zero, shows government targets of

  • no Zero Fuel by 2050
  • Stop using aeroplanes – Planes flying with synthetic fuel or electric
  • Use Trains not cars

Sadiq Khan says “ULEZ successful environmental initiatives” Claiming he has the support of the MAJORITY OF LONDON

SADIQ KHAN speaking at the climate charity Green Alliance on Monday (20 March), Khan said the Ulez has been “transformational”, describing it as “one of the most successful environmental initiatives anywhere in the world” but one which has been subject to “a sustained campaign of opposition”.

THIS “campaign of opposition” to similar tactics in recent years which he said are meant to “divide and mislead”, such as the “dismissal of science” and the “peddling of misinformation”.



[1] Give legal rights to animals, trees and rivers, say experts | Environment | The Guardian; Law in the emerging bio-age | The Law Society
[2] A Lake in Florida Suing to Protect Itself | The New Yorker
[3] This relevance is not new – rights of nature has always been relevant to climate change. However, COP 27 follows one which was the first to nominate indigenous peoples to various advisory roles (COP26 Strengthens Role of Indigenous Experts and Stewardship of Nature | UNFCCC), and there are a range of events planned which relate to nature-based solutions, rights-based approaches, and nature as the foundation for human and global security. COP27’s host website lists four goals – mitigation, adaptation, finance and collaboration – the latter of which states that “[e]nsuring humans are at the center [sic] of climate talks is imperative.” A rights of nature rewording would talk about ensuring that nature is centre of climate talks.
[3a] Plans to mine Ecuador forest violate rights of nature, court rules | Ecuador | The Guardian
[4] The New Zealand river that became a legal person - BBC Travel
[5] Credit and thanks to Dr Smallwood for this summary and quotation.
[6] Nature-based Solutions | IUCN
[7] This phrase is used by Cormac Cullinan (Wild Law) and taken from Thomas Berry.
[8] For the links between this belief and capitalism see, e.g., the work of Jason Hickel and most recently The Value of a Whale: on the illusion of green capitalism by Adrienne Buller.
[9] Ronald Dworkin, Justice for Hedgehogs.
[10] The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review. “Nature is more than a mere economic good. Nature nurtures and nourishes us, so we will think of assets as durable entities that not only have use value, but may also have intrinsic worth.”
[11] Buller, The Value of a Whale, 2022, p.28, 140, 249, 252, 258, 266.
[12] Integral human development in harmony with nature | WWF
[13] Create conditions for ‘harmony between humankind and nature’, UN chief says on sidelines of G20 in Japan | | 1UN News As Craig Kaufmann and Pamela Martin observe, “harmony with nature” is generally taken to be a euphemism for rights of nature.
[14] Jill Bolte Taylor: My stroke of insight | TED Talk
[15] Miranda Aldhouse-Green: The Celtic Myths: A Guide to the Ancient Gods and Legends, 2015, pp. 15, 41, 156, 162; Sacred Britannia: The Gods and Rituals of Roman Britain, 2018, pp. 110, 111; 2021, pers. comm.
[16] Nature's Rights | Transform the System (natures-rights.org)
[17] harmonywithnatureun.org
[18] One of the most influential modern declarations on rights of nature is the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, drafted on 22 April 2010 at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, Cochabamba, Bolivia.[18] The conference was attended by around 30,000 people and the drafters included Cormac Cullinan, the author of Wild Law.
[19] Rights of Rivers
[20] E.g., the Ecuadorian constitution.
[21] E.g., the Whanganui River.
[22] A Lake in Florida Suing to Protect Itself | The New Yorker (ampproject.org)
[23] Kaufmann and Martin, The Politics of Rights of Nature, 2021.
[24] Cullinan, Wild Law, p.93.
[25] Nash depicts the evolution of rights in America as an expanding fan, including granting rights to former enslaved people by the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 and to Native Americans by the Indian Citizenship Act 1924. This obscures the reality that enslaved and indigenous people held rights which were taken away by slavery and colonization; the correct shape is not a fan, but an hourglass with colonization at the pinch.
[26] “Representation” as in the postcolonial critical concept: Ashcroft B, Griffiths G, & Tiffin, H 2013, Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts, 3rd Edition, “representation” <https://learning.oreilly.com/library/view/post-colonial-studies-the/9780415661904/006_9780203777855_chapter1.html>
[27] Anthony Anghie, Imperialism, Sovereignty, and the Making of International Law
[28] Kälin and Künzli, ‘The law of International Human Rights Protection’, European journal of international law, 21(1), 245-246
[29] Cullinan, Wild Law, p.12.
[30] 2019, the year the world woke up to climate change (ebrd.com)
[31] Figueres & Rivett-Carnac, 2020: 15
[32] March 2022. The report acknowledges the power of changing consciousness and consciousness-raising
[33] (Our Planet | Groundbreaking Series) “How do we create a future in which both people and nature can thrive? We open our eyes to this moment in history. Think on a planetary scale.”
[34] Experimental evidence for tipping points in social convention | Science, as referenced in After the failure of Cop26, there’s only one last hope for our survival | George Monbiot | The Guardian
[35] The Legally Disruptive Nature of Climate Change, 197-198
[36] Cullinan, 2011: 55).
[37] Allot, 1990: 298. For example, in September 2015 Philippe Sands QC summarised recent developments in environmental protection, concluding that “there has been some change of consciousness”, citing as an example a ban on scientific whaling which led to a company the next day announcing that it would no longer hunt whales for food. Climate Change & Rule of Law: Lecture by Philippe Sands QC chaired by Lord Carnwath, UKSC, 17.09.15 - YouTube
[38] Climate Change and the Rule of Law(Yers): What Thinner and Thicker Accounts Might Require of Those in Practice by Steven Vaughan :: SSRN
[39] c8d740_d092b20e72074cc59313ed1dc4030857.pdf (upstreampodcast.org) (transcript)

Published by J.Anand

🎤I believe in the beauty of my dreams 😍

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