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Ecuadorians to vote on constitution making its nature a rights-bearing entitiy

Ecuador next week votes on giving legal rights to rivers, forests and air. Is this the end of damaging development? The world is watching

Source:  Copyright 2008, Guardian
Date:  September 24, 2008
Original URL: Status ONLINE


The South American republic of Ecuador will next week consider what many countries in the world would say is unthinkable. People will be asked to vote on Sunday on a new constitution that would give Ecuador's tropical forests, islands, rivers and air similar legal rights to those normally granted to humans. If they vote yes - and polls show that 56% are for and only 23% are against - then an already approved bill of rights for nature will be introduced, and new laws will change the legal status of nature from being simply property to being a right-bearing entity.

The proposed bill states: "Natural communities and ecosystems possess the unalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve within Ecuador. Those rights shall be self-executing, and it shall be the duty and right of all Ecuadorian governments, communities, and individuals to enforce those rights."

Thomas Linzey, a US lawyer who has helped to develop the new legal framework for nature, says: "The ...

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