Legal Rights to Nature as a Fundamental Step towards a Planet in Harmony : Exemplified by the process that led up to Ecuador’s Constitution of 2008
Abstract: The Rights of Nature is an emerging concept within sustainable development, it states that the current environmental laws are not enough to protect nature from human harm. The movement emphasize the need to acknowledge other living entities in our law systems, regardless of their use or benefit for humans. It requires a paradigm shift in the way that modern societies relate to nature, moving from an anthropocentric to an ecocentric age. The first and only nation that has enacted the Rights of Nature in its constitution is Ecuador in 2008. On a global scale this is an historic event challenging the human norm of acting superior to nature. Due to the magnitude of this event, this inductive study investigates the causal mechanisms of the process leading up to this change. The paper proposes a chain of historic events all interlinked to the indigenous values of the Andes, Sumak Kawsay. Throughout the research, the findings created a hypothesis arguing that the Rights of Nature in the Ecuadorian constitution was a collective effort of indigenous movements and political agendas by influential scholars.
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