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Report of the day | Like people, lakes, rivers, trees etc. should be given rights

Today, a ‘hypothetical’ case is taking place in a Northern Netherlands court about whether or not a tree can be placed in a certain location. Central question: Does the tree itself have anything to say about it? Should nature be given the same rights as humans?

People adopt a tree as part of the Bosk art project in Leeuwarden. Much to the dismay of those people’s neighbors. A ‘hypothetical’ case is underway in the district court of the northern Netherlands over whether or not the tree should be removed.

What are the rights of that tree?

The idea that lakes, rivers, trees can have rights or even have ‘legal personality’ may be utopian. Is that even possible with things that have no sense of their own?

Yes, it is possible. In Ecuador, for example, these rights were already enshrined in the constitution in 2008. About 64 cases have already been filed on behalf of nature. Just this year, a court in India ruled that ‘Mother Nature’ has the same legal status as humans.

In New Zealand, the Whanganui River has been given the legal status of ‘statutory personality’. As a result, ‘guardians’ can be appointed as people who can represent people’s interests and talk about what happens.

Good growth? Should nature be given the same rights as humans?

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