“Without the soaring birds, without the great forests, the free-flowing streams, the sight of the clouds by day, and the stars by night, we become impoverished in all that makes us human.” – Thomas Berry, The Great Work
About Rights of Nature
The rights of nature movement has taken off around the world since Ecuador recognized nature’s rights in its constitution in 2008. Yet in most places in the United States nature is still treated as property. Legally it is a commodity.
Pollution and environmental destruction are not illegal in this country. Our current environmental regulatory laws (dating from 40 years ago) such as the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act simply regulate how much can be exploited by whom. They only offer an illusion of environmental protection in the U.S. These laws actually authorize and legalize the destruction of the natural world.
These Acts allow permits and licenses to pollute and degrade or destroy nature – despite mounting public health hazards for all species including humans. Countries like Spain, France, Portugal and Finland have already recognized a human right to a healthy environment.
Boulder Rights of Nature is working to get rights of nature established as law in one or more jurisdictions in Boulder County and elsewhere. In this work we are aligned with hundreds of community organizations across the country. (To see our draft ordinance, click here.) For example, we are researching legal frameworks to protect Boulder Creek and Coal Creek with their naturally occurring species.
We believe that living in balance and harmony with nature is essential for life and well-being for all species, and for the integral functioning of the ecological systems that give life to all species. We want a positive future, not an impoverished one.
We all come from Nature. Nature gives us life.