The right for nature to simply exist is clear – the movement to enshrine this into law is growing

The right for nature to simply exist is clear - the movement to enshrine this in law is growing

The idea that nature — forests , rivers, mountains — could have rights, in the same way that human rights, or corporate rights exist has been building momentum.

The dying days of 2022 saw a historic global agreement reached to try to protect the plants and animals of this world from further demise. 

#Indigenous peoples are 5% of the population but manage 80% of the world’s #biodiversity. Legal rights for #nature e.g. rivers, mountains has been building momentum #Boycott4Wildlife

So far, 321 #legal rights initiatives for #nature have been launched with many more to follow. It is time for global rights to nature to be written into global law #ecocidelaw #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife

In the last 50 years, the variety of life on Earth has diminished faster than at any time before. Environmental organisation, WWF estimates a 69 percent decline in wildlife populations around the world between 1970 and 2018. The United Nations suggests that one million species face extinction. 

Fast facts

At the United Nations conference on biodiversity held in Kunming, China and Montreal, Canada, nations agreed to protect 30 percent of land and sea from degradation by 2030, and further to restore 30 percent of degraded areas, amongst other plans.

The agreement was a significant step forward for environment protection, and enshrined into international law the idea that we should “live well in harmony with Mother Earth”.

Pollution, deforestation, palm oil

“For far too long humanity has paved over, fragmented, over-extracted and destroyed the natural world on which we all depend. Now is our chance to shore up and strengthen the web of life, so it can carry the full weight of generations to come.”

~ Inger Andersen Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme

The agreement, with its emphasis on Indigenous knowledge and treatment of Earth as a living thing echoes the rights of nature movement, which has been gathering steam since it was conceived in the 1970s. 

Through various legal avenues, this pushes the idea that nature — whether whole forests or single trees — could have rights, in the same way that human rights, or corporate rights exist. 

The roots of a mangrove in Papua New Guinea by Stephanie Bidouze Getty Images

“Rights of nature represent a minimalist alternative and seek to mitigate environmental damage from firmly within the coordinates of the current  system.”

Peter Burdon, University of Adelaide

While it seems fanciful, numerous places around the world are actively investigating, or have already implemented at least portions of the concept. The latest is Ireland, where a citizens’ assembly is tackling the question of how the country can maintain its wildlife. 

“In a city the boundary between what’s artificial and what’s nature becomes blurry, posing the question of which ‘nature’ in the ‘rights of nature’ should be protected.” ~ Alex Putzer, Sant’Anna School of Advanced studies


The details of ‘rights of nature’ are of course nuanced and cloaked in legal complexity, and at its core are big philosophical questions about humans’ relationship with our planet. But with humanity’s woeful track record of living sustainably with other species, it’s a movement that ultimately hopes to reset our path to one of  “harmony with Mother Earth”.  

Wilmar responsible for palm oil deforestation despite supposedly using "sustainable" palm oil.

“Western legal systems are only just beginning to bring a biological understanding of the world to the law.”

Craig Kauffman, University of Oregon


Read more Reasons to Hope on Palm Oil Detectives

Contribute in five ways

1. Join the #Boycott4Wildlife on social media and subscribe to stay in the loop: Share posts from this website to your own network on Twitter, Mastadon, Instagram, Facebook and Youtube using the hashtags #Boycottpalmoil #Boycott4Wildlife.

Join 11,928 other followers

2. Contribute stories: Academics, conservationists, scientists, indigenous rights advocates and animal rights advocates working to expose the corruption of the palm oil industry or to save animals can contribute stories to the website.

3. Supermarket sleuthing: Next time you’re in the supermarket, take photos of products containing palm oil. Share these to social media along with the hashtags to call out the greenwashing and ecocide of the brands who use palm oil. You can also take photos of palm oil free products and congratulate brands when they go palm oil free.

4. Take to the streets: Get in touch with Palm Oil Detectives to find out more.

5. Donate: Make a one-off or monthly donation to Palm Oil Detectives as a way of saying thank you and to help pay for ongoing running costs of the website and social media campaigns. Donate here

Published by Palm Oil Detectives

Hi, I’m Palm Oil Detective’s Editor in Chief. Palm Oil Detectives is partly a consumer website about palm oil in products and partly an online community for writers, scientists, conservationists, artists and musicians to showcase their work and express their love for endangered species. I have a strong voice for creatures great and small threatened by deforestation. With our collective power we can shift the greed of the retail and industrial agriculture sectors and through strong campaigning we can stop them cutting down forests. Be bold! Be courageous! Join the #Boycott4Wildlife and stand up for the animals with your supermarket choices

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: