We are asking the UN to adopt a Declaration of Rights of Mother Earth to complement the Human Rights Declaration.
An essential step to achieve Rights of Nature is to apply Earth Jurisprudence or Earth Law, which gives natural communities standing in the court of law and sees and treats Nature as fundamental, rights bearing entity, with intrinsic rights to exist and flourish, irrespective of its use and value to humans.
Earth Jurisprudence is already in place in a number of countries recognizing the inherent rights of Nature to exist, thrive and evolve. Earth Jurisprudence is also grounded in the recognition that humankind and Nature share a fundamental, non-anthropocentric relationship given our shared existence on this planet.
Since 2006, a number of countries have adopted national or local legislation on the basis of such principles: Ecuador, Bolivia, India, Mexico, New Zealand and the USA. Hence, a legal system based on recognizing that Nature, in all aspects, have inherent rights to health, prosperity and evolution, is gradually becoming the norm.
We, civil society organizations worldwide have voiced the need for humankind to recognize the fundamental rights of the natural world and have called on the Governments and peoples of the world to adopt and implement a "Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth". We have modelled such Declaration on the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" that we adopted in 2010 and urge the United Nations to consider it.
Among the key reasons are:
Environmental legislation has ignored the interconnection of water, air, land and wildlife. Present single-stressor laws missed the fact that humans could transform the Earth System on a global scale, through air pollution, ocean acidification, deforestation and water contamination, just to cite a few.
Human pressure on the Earth System has reached a scale where abrupt global environmental change can no longer be excluded. To continue to live and operate safely, humanity has to stay away from critical "hard-wired" thresholds in the Earth's environment and respect the nature of the planet's climatic, geophysical, atmospheric and ecological processes;
Human wellbeing and prosperity can no longer be at the Earth's expense, but instead must serve the Earth. Humankind should stop abusing and treating Nature as a commodity in the same way that people were treated throughout history. The adoption by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 of the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights" was a landmark to end such abuses. Today, in order to stop the abuse of Nature, we need the same landmark declaration for Rights of Nature.
We are inviting you to sign this petition for the acceptance of Rights of Nature in solidarity with the people who are defending Mother Earth directly, to ask your elected government officials to adopt legislation in this regard and urge the United Nations to consider our petition to adopt a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth to exist, thrive and evolve.