Frequently asked questions
We answer all of your questions about the Rights of Nature movement.
The Rights of Nature is the recognition that the Earth and all her ecosystems are living being with inalienable rights: to exist, to live free of cruel treatment, to maintain vital processes necessary for the harmonious balance that supports all life. It is the recognition that our ecosystems – including trees, oceans, animals, mountains – have rights just as human beings have rights. Rights of Nature is about balancing what is good for human beings against what is good for other species, what is good for the planet as a world. It is the holistic recognition that all life, all ecosystems on our planet are deeply intertwined.
The Rights of Nature can be enforced through the law. For millennia legal systems around the world have treated land and nature as “property”. Laws and contracts are written to protect the property rights of individuals, corporations and other legal entities. As such environmental protection laws actually legalize environmental harm by regulating how much pollution or destruction of nature can occur within the law. Under such law, nature and all of its non-human elements have no standing. By recognizing rights of nature in its constitution, Ecuador – and a growing number of communities in the United States – are basing their environmental protection systems on the premise that nature has inalienable rights, just as humans do. This premise is a radical but natural departure from the assumption that nature is property under the law.
You can visualize all of the latest Rights of Nature developments in our Rights of Nature timeline, located in our ‘Resources’ menu. There, we update all of the latest news on the movement.
We encourage everyone to work on a local level to pass resolutions and ordinances including the Rights of Nature, which can eventually generate nature rights recognition at a larger scale – even nationally. Around the world, local communities have been starting to recognize Rights of Nature in the form of resolutions or ordinances. We also encourage you to join our regional and thematic hubs, which work to promote these initiatives.
You can become a GARN member if you are a defender of the rights of Mother Earth, or working to advance the recognition and protection of the Rights of Nature worldwide. Just head over to the ‘Get Involved’ tab in our menu, go to ‘Join the Movement’ and simply fill in the form!