Bolivia set to pass world first laws giving all nature equal rights to humans

Celsias Team

Bolivia's Government has been attracting alot of attention lately and as it gets set to  pass the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans it will attract a lot more . The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and social groups in Bolivia is a massive redefinition of rights. It redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings”, and it is   expected to lead to a major shift in  conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry in a country that has been ravaged for its resources for years.

At the Cancun talks Bolivia was a sole voice when it proclaimed that the entire process was farcical and that the developing nations were not only bearing the brunt of climate change but the new guidelines meant that they were cutting their carbon emissions more as well .evo morales

The Law of Mother Earth will establish 11 new rights for nature including: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. It will also ensure the right of nature  “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities”.

Vice President   Alvaro García Linera. “It establishes a new relationship between man and nature, the harmony of which must be preserved as a guarantee of its regeneration.Earth is the mother of all ”

Bolivia's constitution was changed in 2009 after  Evo Morales’s won  both houses of parliament. This is not such a radical move as it may be in the US or elsewhere as this was the 17th time it had been changed.Evo Morales is Latin America's first indigenous president and he is an outspoken critic in the UN of industrialised countries which are not prepared to hold temperatures to a 1C rise. Understandably as the impact of the current degree of warming ( as per Cancun) would be 3.5 to  4 degrees increase and this means major desertification for much of Bolivia.pachamama

This change and these laws reflect a  resurgent indigenous Andean  world view which places the environment and the earth deity known as the Pachamama at the centre of all life.This world view considers humans equal to all other entities.

Bolivia has long suffered from serious environmental problems from the mining of tin, silver, gold and other raw materials. 

Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said Bolivia’s traditional indigenous respect for the Pachamama was vital to prevent climate change. “Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family. We indigenous people can contribute to solving the energy, climate, food and financial crises with our values,” he said.

In the indigenous philosophy, the Pachamama is a living being.The draft of the new law states: “She is sacred, fertile and the source of life that feeds and cares for all living beings in her womb. She is in permanent balance, harmony and communication with the cosmos. She is comprised of all ecosystems and living beings, and their self-organisation.”

This is almost Avatar come written into a legal form!

Bolivia has, like many developing nations , gotten the raw end of the climate change battle. As a country they face melting glaciers and more extreme weather events including more frequent floods, droughts, frosts and mudslides.This was the point being made by the Bolivian Ambassador.

For other stories on all aspects of Climate Change check out Celsias :

Bolivia takes a Stand - Developed Nations not doing Enough

Daft Draft of NZ Energy Strategy Accidentally Released

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14 comments

If you see any unhelpful comments, please let us know immediately.

Adam Monroe (anonymous)

The correct relationship between nature and society is equality and freedom, respectively. If land were owned collectively, it would automatically be treated as a public trust. The single tax on land, not coincidentally the oldest idea in economics, would create this relationship.

Written in April 2011

Marc (anonymous)

"Evo Morales is Latin America's first indigenous president..."

Perhaps you mean Bolivia's first indigenous president?

Written in April 2011

Mr. Pink (anonymous)

Great, in the bolivian jails, you could get killed by one of the other million prisioners who might be just on the same floor of you, now you might get killed even by a "llama", or a wolf, or a pitbull, animals got the same rights like humans, and they should be judge the same way. So you animals better watch out because the eye of law its now over you.

Written in April 2011

Kim A. 10°

This paragraph didn't make sense to me:
At the Cancun talks Bolivia was a sole voice when it proclaimed that the entire process was farcical and that the developing nations were not only bearing the brunt of climate change but the new guidelines meant that they were cutting their carbon emissions more as well .
It's the one right above the picture. Which process is farcical?
I think this is a long overdue way of viewing the Earth. I also think the rest of the world may not take it seriously though. I say 'GO BOLIVIA!"

Written in April 2011

Marty (anonymous)

Tell me what part of Mother Nature having the rights of man makes any sense at all. You leftist nuts need to stop with the global warming hoax. It is really getting old. Let us ponder these questions. Since Mother Earth will now have rights, does this give her the right to sue for alleged crimes against her? And if indeed she can, well then suit can be braught against her in counter claims correct? So.... Can I sue her for causing a storm and ruining my crops. For hurricanes or tornadoes that caused that caused the destruction of my home. For the erupting volcano that spewed ash to again destroy my crops, that blocked the sun and caused my lung cancer? We all know smoking is harmful yet people do it and sue big tobacco, can I sue her for skin cancer after years of exposure to the suns rays? Who do I take to court for these issues then? I mean she is now a legal entity, then one should be able to take action against her right?? Oh and by the way should she not be on trial as a mass murderer for the thousands of deaths in Haitis earthquake? How about a serial killer for the Indonesian tsunami and the ensuing Japanese Tsunami killing thousands upon thousands not once but again and again... I mean really people get a grip on reality and grow up already.

Written in April 2011

Kevin Carney (anonymous)

I'm wondering if perhaps something has been lost in translation. Not just from Spanish to English, but from the intent of the law to the reporting about the law. On the one hand, we are a product of the environment that sustains us, and if we are successful in modifying the environment so that it no longer sustains us, we go extinct. All of nature is in balance if when the balance is altered, a re-balancing occurs. It is conceivable an extreme re-balancing might move forward without us. So taking care of the environment that sustain us is a form of taking care of ourselves. On the other hand, if the law is written to treat Mother Nature as an individual with individual rights, some common sense notions may become downright silly. Almost all life on earth eats (only plants "eat" sunshine), and what we eat is other life. It must be so and no law can alter that. So it's a question of balance.

Written in April 2011

Jo (anonymous)

@ Marty : I think Bolivia just found it's grip on reality again and this has nothing to do with "leftist nuts". Problem with the majority of Western society is that it has lost it's connection with nature ages ago and also the knowledge that comes with that. Maybe sitting down with some of the oldest indigenous inhabitants of this planet ( the Kogi & Arhuaco from Colombia, Maya's from Guatemala, Aboriginals etc...) and learning what these people have known for centuries and still live by, might be an eye opener. And you don't need a dozen flight tickets for that, an internet connection will do :)

Written in April 2011

Rev. Gregory Wilson (anonymous)

"Tell me what part of Mother Nature having the rights of man makes any sense at all;" you are nature, or don't you get that. Corporations have more rights then you and that is an abstract idea.

Written in April 2011

Rev. Gregory Wilson (anonymous)

It means money is not the center of life. can you even imagine that. A corporation saying no to a money making adventure because it would pollute, or cause people to lose homes, jobs, a decision for the well being of life. Can you let go of your self and imagine that.

Written in April 2011

John D. (anonymous)

Marty et al, your comments are insulting to not only Bolivia but half the human race that is paying attention. We as a species are facing some enormous threats, all of our making. Our only hope of making it through is if thinking people and nations take proactive steps like Bolivia is taking. I know this must seem like an attack on your Maconalds/Exxon world but you know what, that world has been proven to not really work. That's what the crash of 2008 was all about. IF we as a species don't recognize the vital role of nature and soon, we are on the slippery slope to extinction. Maybe some basic research would help. Hey I know, why don't you look up why the last four years are the only years in the last 6 million years when the oxygen level of our atmosphere has declined? That might shed some light on why this move by Bolivia is such a great piece of forward thinking!!

Written in May 2011

Simon Kaiwai (anonymous)

This demonstrates that from greater unity anything is possible... even taking a leaf out of past societal/indigenous values. Hopefully the land of Aotearoa will have an awakening too.

Written in May 2011

sharkonwhisky (anonymous)

@ Marty...you're a bigoted fool. We are a part of nature, and the earth, it is where we came from and where we shall return, in the form of energy and matter when we die. And global warming isn't some conspiracy theory! I hate it when people who clearly know little very little about what they are talking about spiel off as if they do. Global warming is absolutely taking place, and it is down to us, there is more evidence to support this than there is the existence of gravity. Go Bolivia! I salute your first brave teetering steps into a brave new world.

Written in June 2011

Kevin J. DeSilva (anonymous)

This is the best news I have heard in many years! ... For the very first time in over a decade, my Heart actually beat! ... VERY happy news!

Written in June 2011

Di Anne (anonymous)

One step, activating a thought process,moving toward a common sense attitude about our HEALTH, LIFE and SURROUNDINGS, and how actions and decisions may or may not impact those three. Sadly project $ is what actions and decisions are based on today. Stop, Think, STOP.

Written in June 2011

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