Fox News reports that on Wednesday, United Nations diplomats were scheduled to devote an entire day to debating the rights of “Mother Earth.”
A bloc of governments lead by Bolivia have put the issue on the General Assembly agenda to discuss the creation of a U.N. treaty that would grant the same rights found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to Mother Nature.
Treaty supporters want the establishment of legal systems to maintain balance between human rights and what they perceive as the inalienable rights of other members of the Earth community — plants, animals, and terrain.
Communities and environmental activists would be given more legal power to monitor and control industries and development to ensure harmony between humans and nature. Though the United States and other Western governments are supportive of sustainable development, some see the upcoming event, “Harmony with Nature,” as an attempt to blame environmental degradation and climate change on capitalism.
The General Assembly two years ago passed a Bolivia-led resolution proclaiming April 22 as “International Mother Earth Day.” The measure was endorsed by all 192 member states. But Bolivian President Evo Morales envisioned much more, vowing in a speech to U.N. delegates that a global movement had begun to lay “out a Declaration on the Rights of Mother Earth.”
In January, Bolivia became the first nation to grant the natural environment equal rights to humans. Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth is heavily influenced by the spiritual indigenous Andean world outlook that revolves around the earth deity Pachamama, roughly translated to Mother Earth.
The Bolivian law establishes 11 rights for nature that include: the right to life and to exist; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered; the right to have nature‚s processes free from human alteration. The law also establishes a Ministry of Mother Earth to act as an ombudsman, which will ensure nature is “not being affected my mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”