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Rights of Nature on the Santa Monica City Council Agenda

Rights of Nature is included the City of Santa Monica, California’s proposed Sustainability Rights Ordinance that recognizes “Natural communities and ecosystems possess fundamental and inalienable rights to exist and flourish in the City Of Santa Monica.”  The Introduction and First Reading of the ordinance is on the Santa Monica City Council Meeting Agenda for March 12, 2013.

Sustainable City Plan The rights described in the Ordinance will be advanced in part by Santa Monica’s model Sustainable City Plan, which is being updated now and which sets out specific sustainability actions and goals.

The Executive Summary introducing the Ordinance Establishing Sustainable Rights for Santa Monica residents and the natural environment states “Following previous direction by Council, staff has prepared an ordinance that codifies the commitments made in the Sustainable City Plan and asserts the fundamental rights of all Santa Monica residents regarding sustainability. The ordinance also establishes the rights of natural communities and ecosystems to exist and flourish in Santa Monica and asserts the rights of residents to enforce those rights on behalf of the environment.  The ordinance establishes that corporate entities do not possess special privileges or powers under the law that subordinate the community’s rights.”

The Ordinance also articulates the rights of people to self-governance and sustainable living. It declares that “all residents of Santa Monica possess fundamental and inalienable rights to: clean water from sustainable sources; marine waters safe for active and passive recreation; clean indoor and outdoor air; a sustainable food system that provides healthy, locally grown food; a sustainable climate that supports thriving human life and a flourishing biodiverse environment; comprehensive waste disposal systems that do not degrade the environment; and a sustainable energy future based on renewable energy sources.”

Alliance members from Earth Law Center, Global Exchange and Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund are pleased to have been partnering with the City of Santa Monica staff and Task Force on the Environment since its inception.