Does Nature Have Rights

Author Ellen Vande Visse

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Rights of Mother Earth

Responsibilities to Mother Earth

So, what’s the biggest news regarding people’s reactions to climate change?

To me, it’s the broadcast about:
— thousands of common people from all over the world gathering in Bolivia to have a World People’s Summit on Climate Change.
—“Change the system, not the climate.” That was the opening speech from Bolivia’s President!
—a movement to establish rights for nature.
Tears of joy streamed down my face. Check it out.

An excerpt:
“We are talking about two grand projects in dispute. On the one side is the project of capital and imperialism, which signifies looting, which signifies death, and which signifies all of the false solutions to climate change that we reject entirely.

We assert that we need to change the system and not the climate. We assume the construction of another project: the project of life. A project based on principles that defend life, the Mother Earth, and that is based on another model of social, economic, political and cultural development. That is why we are here.”

-Itelvina Masioli, a Brazilian leader of the international small farmer movement, La Via Campesina, speaking on April 20, 2010, at the People’s World Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Ronnie Cummins is attending the summit as a representative of the Organic Consumers Association.

Video- Democracy Now! Covers the World Peoples’ Summit on Climate Change

As the peoples’ climate change talks here move into their third day, thousands of participants from across Latin America and around the world are streaming into this small Bolivian town to discuss how to slow the impact of global warming.

Bolivia Climate Conference Moves to Establish
Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

One of the key initiatives of the climate conference in Bolivia is to come out with a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth. We speak with South African environmental lawyer Cormac Cullinan, the co-president of the Rights of Mother Earth Working Group at the summit. He arrived at the climate change conference with a draft Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth that formed the basis of the discussion.

Listen to this interview with Cormac Cullivan, Rights of Mother Earth Working Group, now working on a draft at the World Peoples Conference on Climate Change in Bolivia April 21, 2010

Cormac Cullinan, South African environmental lawyer and an anti-apartheid activist. He is the author of Wild Law: A Manifesto for Earth Justice and is co-president of the Rights of Mother Earth Working Group.

This is so hopeful in the face of corporate commitment to massive extraction and profiteering that is destroying our planet (including open-pit coal mining near my neighborhood). I could not help but share this news with you.