Contact Us
Latest Projects

Rights of Nature – University College Dublin

Organisation University College Dublin
Date 18th April 2023 12:00 PM (GMT)
Email n.o'

Rights of Nature: an interdisciplinary community discussion
18th of April, 12-2pm, Room H1.47, Science Centre, University College Dublin

The 2017 decision by New Zealand to grant “legal personhood” to the Whanganui river was regarded by global media outlets with some incredulity and surprise. However, interdisciplinary research in classical civilization, indigenous culture, and environmental justice reveals that this is anything but extra-ordinary: societies have long regarded rivers, along with other natural phenomena and sites as having sacred and/or animist qualities that imbue them with status. The Greeks, for example, regarded their rivers as divinities, and river crossing was often hedged in by rituals and acts of purification. In the case of the Whanganui river, the Whanganui Iwi claimed rangatiratanga (chieftainship or ownership) over the river, regarding it as sacred and in need of protection. More recently, the discussion around rights of nature has become mainstream, with the topic studied by the Irish Citizens Assembly on Biodiversity. This legal discussion, more broadly, could signal a paradigm shift away from approaches to nature as property, resource, and site of rent, and towards recognition of the environment’s central role in earth-sustaining functions; while acknowledging the pivotal role of non-colonial and non-capitalist approaches to nature in driving this shift.

This informal discussion-based event is a forum to share short reflections on the theme ‘rights of nature’ from varied disciplinary perspectives including Law, Philosophy, Literature and Classics. Confirmed participants include Amanda Byer (UCD, Law), Amy Strecker (UCD, Law), Bebhinn Donnelly-Lazarov (Surrey, Law), Claudia Dellacasa (UCD, English), David Prendergast (TCD, Law), Giacomo Savani (St Andrews, Classics), Julián Suárez Bohórquez (UCC, Law), Mary Dobbs (Maynooth, Law), Noreen O’Meara (Surrey, Law), Olaf Almqvist (Classics), Treasa De Loughry (UCD, English).

Please register your interest by eventbrite. In-person participation is recommended, online attendance will be facilitated. This event will be catered.

Admission is free.

Back to Calendar