In The War on Humans, I warned that radical environmentalists wanted to accord human-type “rights” to “nature.” The idea is to prevent development and human exploitation of natural resources. Under these laws, anyone can sue on behalf of “nature,” and courts have to give the rights of the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees “equal consideration” to the needs or desires of humans.
Toward this end, New Zealand granted the Whanganui River the rights of “personhood.” Now, a proposal is being pushed in the U.K. to give “rights” to the Frome River. From the SomersetLive story:
The River Frome could soon be capable of bearing the same rights as humans and companies, if proposals to establish a nature rights by-law go ahead.
Sustainable Frome is campaigning to get Frome Town Council to create a new type of by-law which recognises the river as a legal system capable of bearing the same rights as us humans.
The key elements of a nature rights by-law for the river were laid out at a town council meeting last July. These would be:
1. That the river be given appropriate rights stemming from the function of rivers within the wider whole of nature.
2. That local people and the council be granted the power to enforce these rights on behalf of the river. Currently anyone trying to defend the nature of the river has to show sufficient interest in order to bring a case.
3. That the river must not be subordinated to the rights and interests of companies of natural persons, whose property claims must respect the rights of the river.
Some here in the U.S. have also caught this radical infection: More than thirty U.S. municipalities — including Santa Monica, which has no “nature” left to protect — have instituted laws that recognize the “rights of nature.”
The message, of course, is that humans are not the least bit exceptional. Indeed, this view posits the subversive view that we are merely one species among flora and fauna possessing no special value nor entitled to unique rights.