Rights of Nature Movement

Today, environmental laws regulate the human use and destruction of nature. They legalise fracking, drilling, and even dynamiting the tops off mountains to mine coal. The consequences are proving catastrophic: the die-off crisis of the world’s coral reefs, accelerating species extinction, climate change. Finally, though, this is changing. In 2006 the first law recognising the legal rights of nature was enacted in the borough of Tamaqua, Pennsylvania, in the United States.

— Mari Margil

The Rights of Nature Movement is a global movement to recognize the Rights of Nature to survive and thrive in law. The movement began in 1972 when Southern California Law Review published “Should trees have standing–toward legal rights for natural objects” by law professor Christopher Stone. 

Tamaqua Borough, Pennsylvania was the first community to recognize the Rights of Nature in law. In 2006, Tamaqua Borough banned the dumping of toxic sewage sludge as a violation of the Rights of Nature. Since then, other communities in the United States along with Native American Nations, communities in Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, New Zealand, Bangladesh, and more have recognized the Rights of Nature. 

For a full timeline of the Rights of Nature movement, visit the Rights of Nature Timeline at CELDF.org.