Bolivia is a few steps away from giving nature the same rights and protection as human beings. As of the date of this posting, The Law of Mother Earth has already passed through Bolivia’s senate but is stuck in it’s legislative assembly.
This historical and controversial law would give equal rights and protections to human being, animals, rivers, and mountains. It redefines Bolivia’s mineral resources as blessings and proposes radical measures to prevent environmental contamination.
Nick Buxton from Yes! Magazine reports that the bill declares that Mother Earth “is a living, dynamic system made up of the undivided community of all living beings, who are all interconnected, interdependent and complementary, sharing a common destiny.”
If passed, Mother Earth’s rights will include: the right to life and existence; the right to diversity; the right to have sufficient water of good quality for self sustenance; the right to clean air; the right to exist in a state of equilibrium; the right to have its living systems restored from the effects of humans; the right to have its cellular makeup left unaltered; and the right to live free of any and all contamination.
In addition, there are six basic principles that make up the law:
- Human activity must achieve equilibrium with nature’s cycles and processes.
- The common good shall prevail and nothing should be above the rights of Mother Earth.
- While recognizing that living systems have a limited capacity to regenerate and humans also have a limited ability to change their actions, the State shall guarantee that conditions shall be met to ensure that the various living systems have a right to absorb damages, adapt to disruptions, and regenerate without altering their basic structure and functionality.
- The State and all individuals must ensure that all residents respect the rights of Mother Earth.
- Mother Nature cannot be privatized.
- All human beings enjoy Mother Earth and must share in her protection.
The law is widely popular with the country’s indigenous population who holds Mother Earth very near to their heart and that humans and nature should co-exist. However, skeptics think that this bill might not pass since it will mean that Bolivia will need to curve its mining and natural resource laws. Complaints are already surfacing that lawmakers are passing this law in name only but will not do anything to ensure its enforcement.
Regardless of its passage, this law has the potential to become the precursor to future laws around the globe that will ensure humanities co-existence with earth.
To view the full text of the law in Spanish click here.
Photo courtesy of Ecologia Verde.