Rights of nature are on the rise. After their recognition in Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand, Uganda, and India, the most recent recognition of nature’s rights took place in Spain. In...
Rights of nature are on the rise. After their recognition in Ecuador, Bolivia, New Zealand, Uganda, and India, the most recent recognition of nature’s rights took place in Spain. In 2022, the Mar Menor was recognized as a legal person, which possesses legal rights, and can be represented in court. Rights of nature represent a new phase in environmental protection, and, according to Jasper Mührel, the latest recognition signifies the dawn of a European approach to rights of nature.
Until now, animal law scholars have remained fairly sceptical about this development. Visa Kurki, for instance, argued that rivers and natural objects, in fact, cannot really ‘be’ legal persons in any meaningful way, contrary to sentient beings such as animals. Others have pointed to the dangers of the rights of nature-paradigm, as they fear that animal rights will be reduced to rights of species, falling victim to ‘environmental fascism’ when individual animals are sacrificed for the greater good. At the same time, however, some proponents of rights of nature assume that rights of nature automatically include animal rights, regarding the two as allies in the fight against anthropocentrism.