Bolivia is about to pass an historic piece of legislation, one that is waaaay overdue. It is set to establish a Law of Mother Nature, enforced by the Ministry of Mother Earth, which will give nature and all natural resources the same rights as human beings. This includes “the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; and the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered. Perhaps the most controversial point is the right ‘to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities’ (Bolivia Set to Pass Historic Law of Mother Earth).
This was the best piece of news I’d heard in a long time. For the past few years, natural disasters have been claiming so many lives, and it’s about time that someone realized that humanity is to blame. We’ve exploited, poisoned, or destroyed so much of this planet that it’s no surprise that we’ve tipped the careful balance of nature. Nature is resilient, but not even she can heal that quickly. Hundreds of years of oppression and billions of human feet marching over her grasses have completely transformed the surface of this planet, and therefore nature as well. Use up her topsoil, and she will stop growing crops for you. Poison her waters and dirt, and she will in turn feed those poisons to you. Dig into her body for oil and gold and diamonds, and she will fight with earthquakes and tsunamis. Pump chemicals into her air, and she will get red hot with anger, eventually burning the planet and its inhabitants alive.
Someone I know, in response to this article, criticized Bolivia for being arrogant enough to presume that humans have the authority to give nature rights. While I understand her argument, I see the Law of Mother Nature more as a sign of respect that has been missing for quite some time. No, we are not the kings of this planet, reigning over nature and her myriad children. But we are greedy, and those who use the planet for their own profit can only be stopped by law. This is an attempt to help nature, to force the uncaring to respect her as they would a fellow man. It is also a call to the world to join the war, the war to win back our planet.
I don’t see nature as a goddess, a sentient, rational consciousness that feels emotion like we do. But nature, as a collective consciousness of plants and animals, does feel pain, and will fight back. Anyone ever seen The Happening? I don’t think nature is capable of such a large scale attack, but she will respond to our abuse in her own way. We are poisoning the very thing that nourishes us. Unless we change our environmental policies soon, we may very well kill her. When the soil is gone, when the glaciers have melted, when hundreds of species are extinct and the balance of nature has been destroyed, where will that leave us?
Kudos, Bolivia. Hopefully the rest of the world follows.