by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Madras High Court in India, which has jurisdiction over the state of Tamil Nadu, has declared that nature is a living being with rights. From the Hindustan Times story:
“’Mother Nature’ as a ‘Living Being’ having legal entity/legal person/juristic person/juridical person/moral person/artificial person having the status of a legal person, with all corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person, in order to preserve and conserve them.”
What a farce. Nature is not moral. It cannot have duties or liabilities. While being made up of sentient beings — as well as insentient life-forms, geological features, and atmospheric phenomena — it is not itself rational or sentient. I mean, if the monsoons flood a city, can the city sue “nature” for damages? Please.
But in parts of India, it now has rights that are, it would appear, going to be at least coequal to those of humans. …
… Nature-rights laws generally allow anyone who believes that nature’s “rights” are being violated to sue to prevent the violation and to seek redress. That gives even the most extreme crank the ability to exercise a litigation veto over development, or a powerful club to use for “greenmail” extortion. Or, sometimes, panels of environmentalists are appointed to act as guardians. Whichever way it goes, this ruling will make people in the state of Tamil Nadu poorer and less able to extract nature’s bounty for their own well-being. And, to say the least, it furthers the cause of nature rights internationally.
It’s so frustrating. Despite the movement’s increasing successes and its subversive anti-human impacts and implications, people still refuse to take the threat seriously. But it’s high time for the pervasive “it can’t happen here” complacency to end.