On September 25, 2021, I posted some information about this. Below this info from my original posting, I provide much more information.
Very often, legal cases are dismissed because of lack of “standing.” The “standing” concept is a legal matter about whether someone has actually been harmed by the abuse they want to challenge in court. If the plaintiff has not been personally harmed, the case is thrown out. Now in recent years a growing legal movement has been affirming the rights of Nature, so that rivers, forests, wildlife, etc., should be recognized as having “standing” and can sue to protect their interests.
A few South American nations have written this into their new constitutions.
This article provides information:
Does Nature Have Rights? A Burgeoning Legal Movement Says Rivers, Forests and Wildlife Have Standing, Too
Climate change and environmental destruction have inspired court cases around the country—and the globe—aimed at protecting the natural world.
By Katie Surma September 19, 2021
Besides the information above, which I had posted in September 2021, you will find these resources informative and interesting:
I am planning to produce my January 2022 TV program on this topic. I’ll post information to my blog by late December 2021. People in Thurston County WA who have cable TV will be able to watch the interview three times a week throughout January 2022: every Monday at 1:30 pm, every Wednesday at 5:00 pm, and every Thursday at 9:00 pm.
The idea is not new. In 1972, American law scholar Christopher Stone penned a visionary essay, Should Trees Have Standing?, in which he proposed granting nature rights. Justice William Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. In a famous dissent, he argued that nature, or anyone who speaks for it, should have its day in court. See these items:
A Wilderness Bill of Rights by William O. Douglas
Watch a debate about the rights of nature at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnVqvV1KuX1KkgJY0_2iXGA
In this video, two globally-known experts debated it. A savvy friend told me Thomas Linzey made a much stronger case than Wesley Smith.
Thomas Linzey is Senior Legal Counsel, the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights (CDER). He is widely recognized as the founder of the contemporary “community rights” and “rights of nature” movements, which have resulted in the adoption of several hundred municipal laws across the United States. Linzey’s work has been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Mother Jones, and the Nation magazine, and he was named, in 2007, as one of Forbes’ magazines’ “Top Ten Revolutionaries.” In 2018, Linzey was named by American Environmental Leaders as one of the top 400 environmentalists of the last 200 years. He is the author of several books, and has been featured in Leonardo DiCaprio and Tree Media’s films 11th Hour and We the People 2.0.
Wesley J. Smith, Chair and Senior Fellow, Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism
Mr. Smith is an attorney, and serves as Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Since 1985, he has published thousands of articles, columns, and opinion pieces on issues pertaining to the moral importance of human life, addressing the entire spectrum of bioethical issues relating to conscience, patient protection, eugenics, suicide, transhumanism, medical ethics, and law and policy. His writing has appeared in Newsweek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Forbes, among others, and he has appeared on more than a thousand television and radio talk/interview programs, including ABC Nightline, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, CNN Anderson Cooper 360, CNN World Report. He has testified as an expert witness in front of federal and state legislative committees, and is an international lecturer and public speaker.
See this book about the rights of nature: The Ministry for the Future:
A documentary film about the Rights of Nature movement is titled, “The Invisible Hand.”
It was shown recently through a Zoom link for the Meaningful Movies series in Bellevue WA, but I don’t know where to find it now for viewing. Most likely a web search could locate it. The documentary film by Executive Producer Mark Ruffalo features knowledgeable panelists. He points out that many people think it’s absurd to consider that nature has legal rights, even though our legal system vigorously asserts that corporations are “people,” so they have legal rights. This film provides a significant paradigm shift and raises questions about the fate of capitalism and democracy and asks us all to consider the perspective of “Who speaks for Nature?” Invisible Hand documents front line communities that are providing a blueprint forward. This film inspires people to become a nation of communities working to create the systemic changes that are needed to protect the fragile ecosystem we inhabit.
A county in the U.S. decided that streams and lakes have rights. Now they are suing Florida:
Click this link to hear the recording of an excellent webinar on Rights of Nature by the Institute for Ecological Civilization in late April 2021: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0MbK6zG5LI
We Are Living in a Climate Emergency. Why Doesn’t Nature Have Legal Rights? https://truthout.org/audio/we-are-living-in-a-climate-emergency-why-doesnt-nature-have-legal-rights/?eType=EmailBlastContent&eId=80fb8a40-131a-49db-a852-28ad944b96bc
This 6-minute video explains the Community Rights movement: https://celdf.org/2020/02/video-the-transformation-from-reformist-to-revolutionary/
Lake Erie has been suffering horrible pollution for a long time. Lake Erie needs to have legal rights. Fortunately, progress is being made!
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF, www.celdf.org) is helping build a decolonial movement for Community Rights and the Rights of Nature to advance democratic, economic, social, and environmental rights – building upward from the grassroots to the state, federal, and international levels. Their mission is to build sustainable communities by assisting people to assert their right to local self-government and the rights of nature. CELDF fought in federal court to help Lake Erie protect itself. The Lake Erie Bill of Rights (LEBOR) was the first Rights of Nature law for a specific ecosystem passed in the United States. In early 2020 Rights of Nature was argued in an American court against corporate rights – another historic first. See information from CELDF at https://celdf.org/2020/02/lake-erie-bill-of-rights-court-update/
CELDF’s 8 videos about their grassroots Community Rights work in several part of the U.S. are on their website: https://celdf.org/grassroots-video-series/
More information exists. That’s enough for now.
Look for Glen’s January 2022 TV program about this topic.