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Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

UN Sec. General Supports “Nature Rights”



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This is very bad. The Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has enthusiastically supported “nature rights” in his Earth Day speech. From the UN Press release:

In his speech, Mr. Ban also noted the growing momentum among world leaders to support sustainable development, citing in particular the efforts of Bolivia, which adopted a legal framework that specifically protects Mother Earth, with the rights of nature included in the national Constitution, and which led the effort to create the Day

Nature rights is anti-human, both implicitly and explicitly. As I have written elsewhere:

It [nature rights] is a self-demotion of humankind to merely one among the billions of life forms on earth–no more worthy of protection than any other aspect of the natural world. Viruses are part of nature. So, too, are bacteria, insects, trees, weeds, and snails. These and the rest of Ecuador’s flora and fauna all now have the constitutional and legally enforceable right to exist, persist, and regenerate their vital cycles.

The potential harm to human welfare seems virtually unlimited. Take, for example, a farmer who wishes to drain a swamp to create more tillable land to better support his family. Now, the swamp has equal rights with the farmer, as do the mosquitoes, snakes, pond scum, rats, spiders, trees, and fish that reside therein. And since draining the swamp would unquestionably destroy “nature” and prevent it from “existing” and “persisting,” one can conceive of the farmer–or miners, loggers, fishermen, and other users and developers of natural resources–being not only prevented from earning his livelihood, but perhaps even charged with oppressing nature.

Not only would “nature rights” further depress our economies and keep destitute countries mired in their misery, but here’s another point to ponder: If everything has “rights”–and let’s face it, ”Nature” encompasses just about everything–then in the end, nothing will–including us. 

I am not surprised that the head of the UN has embraced the subversive idea. I am surprised that so many don’t seem to care. 

 



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