Rights of Nature, April 29, 2020
Our nation, our country is ruled by law. We rely on our laws for order and fairness. We may not always agree with every law, of course, but in theory and hopefully in fact, they exist to help the majority of citizens live better, fuller lives.
When this nation was founded, only white men with property were allowed to vote in our elections. No women were allowed to vote until 1920. For many years in this country it was legal for one person to own and sell another person. For many years in this country it was illegal for two people to get married if they were of different races, and more recently, if they were of the same sex. For many years it was legal for businesses and companies to dump toxic chemicals into the creeks and rivers, and into the air, regardless of the harm that was caused to fish, plants, wildlife, and humans who had to live or work in those areas. And for many years it was legal to shoot as many ducks as you could shoot, and catch as many trout as you could catch, with no regard to sensible limits.
All of these things have been changed, for the better, in my opinion, by laws passed by foreword thinking people. Change can come, and it does come.
Now there is a new kid on the legal block and it is called the Rights of Nature. Laws are being passed in several states and in several other countries that give legal rights and protections to natural systems such as rivers and lakes and watersheds. Rivers cannot protect themselves from the activities of humans, and so these new laws would enable humans to go to court to speak on their behalf.
Without healthy rivers and creeks we will not have clean drinking water. Without healthy watersheds we will not have abundant fish and wildlife or places for people to go and play.
You may soon be hearing more about the Rights of Nature and to me it sounds like an idea whose time has come.
The views and opinions of the above reflects solely the views and opinions of the submitter. Those who would like to submit a Letter(s) to the Editor are always welcome. Email them to: News@NewsLincolnCounty.com