Many of you are familiar with the idea of the Rights of Nature / Rights of Mother Earth, but it’s a long way from understanding the concept to seeing how it plays out on the ground, where someone (or a group) has to speak for the natural entity and then people have to figure out how to resolve the situation.
Inside Climate News recently ran an excellent article on this process. Deep in the Amazon rainforest, the International Rights of Nature Tribunal met with people in their communities to understand what is happening to the forest and the Indigenous people who live there and try to live in harmony with nature.
Renowned Brazilian Indigenous leader and influential author Ailton Krenak played a critical role in securing Indigenous rights in the 1988 constitution. In his writings and speeches, Krenak pushes back forcefully against “city folk” who poke fun at Indigenous ways of thinking. To him, a culture that purposefully carries out widespread environmental destruction isn’t just wrong, it’s psychotic.
Cormac Cullinan, a member of the tribunal, said that: ‘The justice we seek is restorative justice, to restore the health of the damaged relationships between humans and nature.’ He went on to say that ‘Today no scientist believes that the world is a mechanism, but that false thinking is still in the law. The rights of nature is about correcting that delusion.’
You can’t reduce this to a few words or even a few hundred words, but investigative reporter Katie Surma does a great job bringing the process to life in her report, titled ‘A Thousand Miles in the Amazon, to Change the Way the World Works‘.