The Ecological Citizen

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



What is the Rights of Nature movement? (A definition)


The Rights of Nature movement argues that non-human nature possesses inherent and inalienable rights. In thus extending the concept of a right from humans to the rest of nature, the movement transcends the anthropocentric worldview of nature as property and other-than-human beings as exploitable objects. It calls for non-human rights to be expressed and respected via a range of legally enforceable mechanisms, including constitutions, treaties, statutes, ordinances, and decisions reached in courtrooms. Drawing on indigenous worldviews, it is a direct challenge to the human supremacist ideology.

Well-reported examples of early successes for the movement include constitutional reform in Ecuador to recognize the inherent rights of nature, legislature in Bolivia to uphold the 'Rights of Mother Earth', and a treaty to establish the legal personhood of the Whanganui River in New Zealand. The movement gains momentum with every passing month.



Related content


Beyond the North American Wildlife Conservation Model and towards Earth rights
Long article by  Anja Heister[Vol 3 Suppl A 2019: 67–74]
 Access PDF  |  More details


The silence of the humpback whale
Long article by  Kathleen Dean Moore[Vol 3 Suppl A 2019: 7–11]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Do current conservation plans to protect vital marine ecosystems need to do more?
Opinion by  Michelle Bender[Vol 3 No 2 2020: 115–16]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Rights of rivers enter the mainstream
Long article by  Grant Wilson and Darlene May Lee[Vol 2 No 2 2019: 183–7]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Enacting the wisdom of Chief Seattle today in Latin America
Long article by  Coyote Alberto Ruz Buenfil[Vol 1 No 1 2017: 55–9]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Rights of nature: A report on a conference in Switzerland
Meeting report by  Marie-Lise Schläppy and Joe Gray[Vol 1 No 1 2017: 95–6]
 Access PDF  |  More details


The Harmony with Nature initiative: Why it matters and what it might achieve
Opinion by  Michelle Maloney[Vol 1 No 1 2017: 22–3]
 Access PDF  |  More details


Towards a new paradigm for nature in the EU: A report on a meeting in Belgium
Meeting report by  Mumta Ito[Vol 1 No 1 2017: 97–8]
 Access PDF  |  More details