Nature is the basis for all life on earth. In a just world, nature is valued, protected and safeguarded for future generations. Increasingly people recognise and acknowledge that we are all part of our only planet Earth, and we all are dependent on it and its nature.
A legal theory and growing movement
The concept Rights of Nature (RoN) represents both a movement and echoes a renewed legal theory. It promotes the idea that ecosystems and all life on earth should have inherent rights that need to be protected. The basis is a reconsideration and re-valuation of nature. By replacing the current dominant concept of nature serving as a resource to use for human beings, with the concept in which all humans live with respect for - and in harmony with - nature. Ultimately RoN also offers a means to an end: safeguarding nature for future generations.
In 2008, Ecuador became the first country in the world to recognize Rights of Nature in its national constitution. The past years RoN laws have been adopted by various national governments. Currently they exist in about 17 countries, including dozens of cities and regions or provinces and in various forms (constitutional, agreements, statutes, local ordinances, and court decisions). Most recently Italy and Panama have made protecting the environment part of their constitution.