Subject of Rights

Nature has rights – the right to flow, to breathe.

Recent landmark cases mean this fact has entered the terrain of international law. Nature is now, in some instances, a subject of rights, a status that empowers and protects the communities who live with the seas and mangroves, rainforests and shores.

We coexist with a living entity – its name varies across cultures, myths and traditions. Its many manifestations emerge differently across ecosystems – but the same force exhales in the jungles of Brazil and moves the waters around great deltas. Indigenous communities know this being, and they listen at the source. For generations, they have exchanged, heard, protected. Many have become advocates, leading the fight to recognise the subjecthood of the rivers and forests they understand intimately.

Tune in and ask how you would feel – blocked, stopped, suffocated. How would you feel if your right to exist was under threat? Because the evidence that mounts in the case never registered, for the trial that never takes place implicates our existence too. If we continue to ignore nature and its rights, we also strip away our rights to a future.