Bolivia enshrines rights for nature
“Bolivia is set to pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans,” the Guardian said on April 10.
“The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as ‘blessings’ and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry”, the article said.
The Bolivian government of President Evo Morales was the only government to oppose the deal on climate change that came out of the December United Nations climate talks in Cancun, Mexico — insisting far greater and quicker emissions cuts were needed to save the planet.
The Guardian said Bolivia would establish 11 new rights for nature: “They include: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered.”
The paper said it also included the right of nature “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.
The law is part of restructuring Bolivia’s legal system in line with the new constitution, which was drafted by an elected constituent assembly and passed by referendum in 2009. The new constitution is part of the process of “decolonising” Bolivia that is being driven by the country’s indigenous majority.
Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, is Bolivia’s first indigenous president.
Bolivian Vice-President Alvaro Garcia Linera said: “It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all..
“It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration.”