Searching water on the internet and you get almost five billion hits. Yet I was lucky enough after a few minutes to stumble across this intriguing and fascinating law from Bolivia.
While not specifically relating to water, the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth, or Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra was passed in Bolivia in December 2010. This is a short bill, leading the way for a longer more specific law.
This law gives ‘Mother Earth’ legal rights, meaning that any infringement on her rights can be addressed in court.
Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra defines Mother Earth as “”…the dynamic living system formed by the indivisible community of all life systems and living beings whom are interrelated, interdependent, and complementary, which share a common destiny”
Furthermore, it defines ‘Life systems’ as “…complex and dynamic communities of plants, animals, micro-organisms and other beings in their environment, in which human communities and the rest of nature interact as a functional unit, under the influence of climatic, physiographic and geologic factors, as well as the productive practices and cultural diversity of Bolivians of both genders, and the cosmovisions of Indigenous nations and peoples, intercultural communities and the Afro-Bolivians.”
And these are the rights that mother earth and her life systems are legally entitled to:
- To life: It is the right to the maintenance of the integrity of life systems and natural processes which sustain them, as well as the capacities and conditions for their renewal
- To the Diversity of Life: It is the right to the preservation of the differentiation and variety of the beings that comprise Mother Earth, without being genetically altered, nor artificially modified in their structure, in such a manner that threatens their existence, functioning and future potential
- To water: It is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of water to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components
- To clean air: It is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of air to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components
- To equilibrium: It is the right to maintenance or restoration of the inter-relation, interdependence, ability to complement and functionality of the components of Mother Earth, in a balanced manner for the continuation of its cycles and the renewal of its vital processes
- To restoration: To Restoration: It is the right to the effective and opportune restoration of life systems affected by direct or indirect human activities
- To live free of contamination: It is the right for preservation of Mother Earth and any of its components with regards to toxic and radioactive waste generated by human activities
I thought this was pretty cool, and really look forward to seeing the direction this legislation takes in the future. For more, visit Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (Translation available in the top RH corner).