This Earth Day, we have to start envisioning a future based not on exploiting nature but on recognizing that nature has inherent rights. Ironically, this week also marks the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill, the worst 1 in U.S. history.
Beyond headline-grabbing catastrophes, every day we dump 2 million tons of toxic waste into the world’s water, the equivalent of the weight of the whole human population.
Every day we literally blow the tops off of mountains to release hidden coal. And it is all legal, simply because under present law, nature is absolutely nothing much more that human property, like a slave. But thanks to some innovative thinking by governments, municipalities and indigenous peoples, a wiser mindset is taking hold. And the United Nations has also begun to consider the rights of nature.
This might be the very first step toward the adoption of a Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth. A companion piece to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, this emerging declaration – which could be backed by enforceable laws around the world – seeks to redefine our human relationship with all other species from 1 of dominance to 1 of harmony.
Many locations have already begun to alter their laws in accordance with this new way of thinking.