What if trees could sue?

by Peter Burdon, ABC Environment – May 17, 2011

Giving nature legal rights in a similar way as humans do may sound far fetched, but there are places around the world where this is becoming reality.

Peter Burdon reflects on Professor Christopher Stone’s rivoting question to his students in 1972 “So, what would a radically different law-driven consciousness look like? … One in which Nature had rights … Yes, rivers, lakes … trees … animals.” …

“Three decades later, lawmakers and communities are beginning to take Stone’s thesis seriously as a novel and potentially powerful means to protect the environment. … in the United States over 20 communities … In Ecuador … in Bolivia…”

Burdon goes on to pose the question for his home country of Australia.   “In a country like Australia, which does not recognise a Bill of Rights for human beings, we are a long way off achieving such recognition for nature. But if nature is recognised as a bedrock value and limit on human activity, then it could create opportunity for a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship.”

Read the complete article …

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