Over the past year, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund was invited to assist the Ecuadorian Constituent Assembly to develop and draft parts of their new constitution to include rights for nature, or ecosystem rights. Drawing on their experiences assisting communities in Pennsylvania, New Hampshire and Virginia to change the status of ecosystems from being regarded as property to being recognized as rights-bearing entities, the new laws are leading the way for other countries to change how we view and protect our natural resources and habitats.
Article 1 of the new "Rights for Nature" chapter reads: "Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public bodies."
Story suggested by Michael Brownstein
Image: "Butterfly fruit" by nic on openphoto.net courtesy of a Creative Commons license