It seems logical to grant protection to nature by treating it as a living entity. And the law might be catching up
On 20 March a community rally on the Margaret river south of Perth called for the river to be recognised as a legal entity with the local council as its custodian. Under the banner “Is it time to give our river rights?”, more than 100 people discussed ways of protecting the river, prompted by plans for a mountain-bike and walking track along the foreshore. A river advocate, Ray Swarts, says a rights-of-nature approach has majority support in the council.
The emerging international rights-of-nature movement aims to address the way western legal systems treat nature as property, making the living world invisible to the law. It uses western legal constructs, such as personhood and rights-based approaches, to shift the status of nature from property to a subject in law in an effort to protect the natural world.