Monday, November 24, 2008

Legal Rights for Nature!

On Sept. 11, 2008 the Matter Network posted an article written by Erica Gies entitled "Legal Rights for Nature". Gies detailed the yet to come ratification of a new constitution that would include legal consideration for the needs of nature and its elements. Gies wrote:
"Ecuador has played host to major environmental offenses -- such as Texaco’s almost three decades of dumping toxic waste into waterways that sustain indigenous people – and, as a result, is primed to adopt such legislation. In a political reorganization designed to correct inequality and exclusion in government, the country is currently redrafting its constitution, which contains language granting nature rights.

These proposed laws seek to limit the economic activity of corporations and the state in favor of the common good, saying that no human activity will be allowed to endanger the regenerative processes of nature.

The Pachamama Alliance, a U.S.-based NGO that works with native Ecuadorans on protecting indigenous rights, suggested the language, which gained support from the indigenous and environmental movements, artists, media figures, and political sectors."
It is a joy to report that Ecuador has since ratified that constitution. As reported by Lynne Twist, co-founder of Pachamama, at a November 22 fund-raiser at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist church in Cambridge, MA, the completely new constitution now states clearly the need for anyone within Ecuador's borders to adhere to these laws. This adherence now includes Texaco which, as Twist noted, will now have to deal with this new, nature-empowered constitutional law after stalling for so long since the beginning of its legal wranglings. Sweet justice even before Texaco enters the court room.

Twist further reported that "legal rights for nature" amendments were being considered in Peru, Columbia and Bolivia, the latter of which is now headed by an indigenous president, Evo Morales.

This is an important move in the interest of indigeny as it formalizes in modern legal structures perspectives and practices concerning nature that indigenous people have been holding dear since the period of sovereign indigeny. Modern society, culture and political practice have moved markedly and dangerously away from the essential view of nature as key to the physical, social and spiritual culture of humanity. This move away from this essential viewpoint is the hallmark of the disintegrated indigeny/devolutionary energetics period in which humanity now struggles for clarity. The people of Ecuador, including, and importantly, the indigenous people of Ecuador, have made a powerful statement in the interest of nature in an era of climate change and backward capitalist cultural practice. They are to be applauded for this bold and necessary action.

Clearly, it would seem an ethical mandate that every constitution be changed to include such natural legal rights. One might only ponder for a moment to understand the sheer bedlam that would be created in the soiled ivory towers USAmerican corporate offices if the same were to be seriously proposed by a USAmerican electorate.

I wonder, in the post-election elation of our Obama love-fest, if said president-elect's administration would be so brave and forward-thinking to embrace just such legislative initiative. For many reasons, the ground for such may be more fertile in the southern climes and populations of this hemisphere, their ethical and political clarity more resolute, bravery in the face of blind, ignorant and purposefully destructive industrial momentum more powerfully - and beautifully - defined.

No comments: