The Ecological Citizen

A free-to-access publication confronting human supremacy in defence of the Earth


Long article

Rights of rivers enter the mainstream

Grant Wilson, Darlene May Lee

The Ecological Citizen Vol 2 No 2 2019: 183–7

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First published: 1 January 2019  |  Permanent URL  |  Download citation in RIS format


By offering a solution to the environmental challenges of our day, Earth law may be the next great rights-based movement. The belief that non-human nature – including the species and ecosystems that comprise our world – has inherent rights has galvanized an international movement. Building on the breakthrough of three rivers securing rights recognition, Earth Law Center works on the front line by partnering with local communities to secure rights for rivers and wider ecosystems. Empowering nature also empowers communities because when advocates see themselves as rights defenders, the stakes are raised, and the relationships between people and the environment are transformed. Based on this background, this article explores the origins of Earth law, the importance of rivers, how Earth law can strengthen river protections and current river initiatives, and it also details how to get involved.



Earth jurisprudence, Earth-centred law, Rights of nature, Water