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Rights of Nature: Introduction and Current Research Questions

Organisation Alex Putzer MIT, Massachusetts
Date 3rd March 2023 05:00 PM (GMT)

TLDR: Just like human rights give rights to humans, rights of nature give rights to nature. What does that mean? Does this make sense? I say yes! With over 420 legal rights of nature initiatives in over 40 countries across all continents, this movement is here to stay. Join my introduction, where I will also delve into some current research questions.

Never too long: By promoting a non-humancentric understanding
of the environment, the rights of nature emphasize the importance of inclusive
ethics and justice. Rather than considering nature as an object to be exploited
and dominated, it is perceived as a subject, to be respected and cherished,
with intrinsic value independent of human interests. A river, for instance, is
protected for its own sake, rather than its usefulness for fishing, generating
electricity, or as a waterway. As of early 2023, there were over 420 legal
rights of nature initiatives in over 40 countries across all continents. Their
unifying rationale is the recontextualization of traditional environmental
protection efforts. Below the surface, however, lie many nuances and
contradictions. In this lecture, I will dive into the origins of an allegedly
‘paradigm-shifting’ concept, its moral articulation, legal implementation, and
selected success stories. I will share my research on the ‘nature’ in the
rights of nature, with a specific focus on urban environments, and hope to give
a cautiously optimistic response to the question if the rights of nature are
yet another Thunbergian ‘Blah Blah Blah’ or if they indeed have the potential
to change the course of Spaceship Earth.

For the curious:

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