By R. Renee Yaworsky
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
LA PAZ, Bolivia—In a revolutionary move, Bolivia is set to pass a law that essentially grants nature the same rights as human beings. It will become the first law of its kind in the entire world.
Called the Law of Mother Earth, the legislation is expected to be the first step in a new radical environmental conservation policy. The policy’s long term goals include diminishing pollution and exploitation within Bolivia.
The Law of Mother Earth, which defines Bolivia’s famous mineral deposits as “blessings,” has already experienced popularity among politicians and social organizations alike. The law makes reference to nature’s right “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”
Further, 11 new rights for nature are set forth in the law, including: the right to life and existence; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to clean water and air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right not to have cellular structures modified or genetically altered.
The South American nation has struggled with environmental difficulties ranging from rising temperatures, melting glaciers, and extreme weather like floods, droughts and mudslides. The country has also been heavily mined for its rich tin, silver and gold deposits.
Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera has praised the Law of Mother Earth, saying, “It makes world history. Earth is the mother of all. It establishes a new relationship between man and nature.” The law has been shaped in part by the indigenous Andean belief that human beings are equal to all other things.
While it remains unclear what specific legal protection the law might grant the ecosystems, the government plans to create a ministry of mother earth and endow communities with legal powers to control polluting industries.
For more information, please see:
Ahmedabad Mirror-Mother Earth to be granted human rights under Bolivian law-12 April 2011
Sydney Morning Herald-Bolivia to pass a law granting nature “human rights”-12 April 2011
Albuquerque Express-Bolivia set to pass “Law of Mother Earth”-11 April 2011