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NEWS: Barlow backs ‘Mother Earth’ rights at the United Nations

The National Post, the Vancouver Sun and about a dozen other Postmedia newspapers report, “Bolivia will this month table a draft United Nations treaty giving ‘Mother Earth’ the same rights as humans — having just passed a domestic law that does the same for bugs, trees and all other natural things in the South American country. …The wording may yet evolve, but the general structure is meant to mirror Bolivia’s Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, which Bolivian President Evo Morales enacted in January. The UN debate begins two days before the UN’s recognition April 22 of the second International Mother Earth Day — another Morales-led initiative.”

“Canadian activist Maude Barlow is among global environmentalists backing the drive with a book the group will launch in New York during the UN debate: Nature Has Rights. Barlow said of the campaign, ‘It’s going to have huge resonance around the world. It’s going to start first with these southern countries trying to protect their land and their people from exploitation, but I think it will be grabbed onto by communities in our countries, for example, fighting the tarsands in Alberta.'”

Bolivia’s ambassador to the UN Pablo Solon says, “If you want to have balance, and you think that the only (entities) who have rights are humans or companies, then how can you reach balance? But if you recognize that nature too has rights, and (if you provide) legal forms to protect and preserve those rights, then you can achieve balance. …We’re not saying, for example, you cannot eat meat because you know you are going to go against the rights of a cow. But when human activity develops at a certain scale that you (cause to) disappear a species, then you are really altering the vital cycles of nature or of Mother Earth. Of course, you need a mine to extract iron or zinc, but there are limits.”

The book, The Rights of Nature: The Case for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, includes writings from movement leaders and activists, including Barlow, Vandana Shiva, Cormac Cullinan, and Pablo Solon. It was produced in partnership with Global Exchange, Navdanya, EnAct International, and Fundacion Pachamama. For more on the Nature Has Rights event in New York City, see http://canadians.org/campaignblog/?p=7357.

The Postmedia News article is at http://www.vancouversun.com/document+would+give+Mother+Earth+same+rights+humans/4597840/story.html.