One of the most radical alterations in the self definition of humankind has just occurred in Ecuador and the world snoozes. But the radical environmental movement sees what is happening and is cheering. From a Global Exchange press release:
Today, the people of Ecuador voted to recognize the inalienable rights belonging to ecosystems in their new constitution. A set of groundbreaking articles that transform the status of nature from mere property to a rights-bearing entity are now incorporated into the national charter. Ecuador, one of the world’s most biodiverse places, has set a precedent for other nations who have struggled against multinational corporations’ exploitation, which has turned ecosystems and whole communities into sacrifice zones. The world watches as Ecuador takes its first step into what many people believe is the legal unknown.
Well, here’s the problem: Even if you want to thwart the evil international corporations, the constitution doesn’t just do that. It makes NATURE a RIGHTS BEARER that is co-equal with people. That means the provision will apply as harshly against the subsistence farmer as the corporation, who being part of the power structure, will often escape the snare.
But that is not what this is really all about. Indeed, the idea that Ecuador’s new constitution is merely about protecting the environment is sheer baloney. It is a radical redefinition of the nature and meaning of humankind from the pedestal of exceptionalism to merely as one of the millions of species on the planet–as disposable as any other. In the end, if nature is a rights bearing entity, we will be required to sacrifice human welfare and prosperity to ensure that we don’t oppress the trees, snails, and other flora and fauna of the denizens of natural world.
The problem is; other than SHS and the Catholic writer Thomas A. Szyszkiewicz–who first brought this matter to my attention (here’s a piece by Szyszkiewicz on Ecuador in the American Spectator)–the world is snoring. And so human exceptionalism teeters. This bodes very ill for the human race–particularly the weakest among us–unless we wake up and push back. Soon.
I will have a more extended analysis out in a week or two. And I will keep pounding this drum! Stay tuned.