Building the World

Voice of the Future 2019: Nature

“Under the Trees.” Thomas Moran, 1865. Image:wikimedia

“Should Trees Have Standing” opened the legal question. More recently, Colombia established rights of the Atrato River and surrounding basin; India tried to grant personhood to the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers, citing precedent of New Zealand’s recognizing personhood rights of the Whanganui River. Toledo, Ohio, USA voters approved the Lake Erie Bill of Rights, giving rights to exist, flourish, and evolve for the Great Lakes ecosystem; the law was challenged. Bolivia passed the Law of the Rights of Mother Nature. In climate change, Nature may be the Voice of the Future. Listen as the Māori celebrate Whanganui River rights (Te Awa Tupua); hear the Voice of the Future.

Athens, A. K. “An Indivisible and Living Whole: Do We Value Nature Enough to Grant it Personhood?” Ecology Law Quarterly, 45, 187. 2018. (

Corte Constitucional, Republica de Colombia. “Acción de Tutela para la Protección de Derechos Colectivos cuando Existe Vulneración de Derechos Fundamentales.” Sentencia T-341/16. For English language version,

Estado Plurinacional de Bolivia. “Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra.”

Morris, J.D.K and J.Ruru. “Giving Voice to Rivers: Legal Personality as a Vehicle for Recognising Indigenous Peoples’ Relationships to Water?” Vol 14, No. 2, 2010.

New Zealand Legislation. “Te Awa Tupua (Whanganui River Claims Settlement) Act.” 20 March 2017.  Witness the vote and Waiata, Māori song of celebration:

Ohio, Toledo.

Stone, C. “Should trees have standing? Toward legal rights of natural objects.” Southern California Law Review 45 (1972), pp. 450-501.

Stone, C. Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment. 3rd edition 2010 (originally published in 1973) Oxford University Press. ISBN-13: 978199736072; ISBN-10:0199736073.

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported Lice

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