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National Review
National Review
24 Feb 2024
Wesley J. Smith


NextImg:The Corner: Granting ‘Rights’ to ‘Nature’ Being Negotiated in the U.N.

People who would oppose granting “rights” to “nature” still don’t take the threat seriously. But the movement is making real headway. Little noticed in the media, granting rights to nature is now actively being negotiated at the United Nations.

Thankfully, the Brits have said no — for now. From the Guardian story:

The UK government can never accept that nature or Mother Earth has rights, a British government official from the environment department has told the UN.

The dismissal of a concept that has already been recognised in UN declarations and is a fundamental belief of many Indigenous communities was described by critics as shameful, contradictory and undemocratic.

Britain’s rejection of rights for nature came during a debate in preliminary negotiations for the UN environment assembly in Nairobi on Wednesday, when government representatives were asked to consider a draft resolution by Bolivia on “living well in balance and harmony with Mother Earth and Mother Earth centric actions.” This included a passage on the rights of nature.

That’s well and good. But soon — barring some dramatic development — Labour will be in charge. I wonder whether a leftist Labour PM or environmental minister will be similarly resistant.

The U.S. delegation also is opposed. But again, for how long? The concept would fit snugly into a “Green New Deal” package, and indeed, Florida’s Democratic Party already supports nature rights in its platform.

Take a very careful look at the fury the U.K.’s refusal sparked from an Irish-nature rights campaigner. Read his words very carefully. These radicals mean what they say — literally:

Peter Doran, a lecturer in environmental law at Queen’s University Belfast and a leading campaigner for the rights of nature to be included in Ireland’s constitution, said the “fundamentalist” British response in Nairobi was “threadbare in both logic and substance”. He said it reflected the position of European colonial powers who had “foisted the twin pillars of genocide and ecocide on Indigenous peoples around the world, using the force of arms to transform the earth into dead matter, valued only as feedstock for industry and commerce.”

So, rejecting rights for nature is now “colonialist.” Don’t be surprised if it morphs into white supremacism.

By the way, “ecocide” proposals would make major uses of the natural world “the 5th crime against peace,” equivalent to genocide and ethnic cleansing.

The conjoined “nature rights” and “ecocide” movements are part of the increasing effort among radical leftists to destroy Western civilization, the central principle of which is human exceptionalism. If that revolution prevails — and I think it could within a decade or so unless we wake up — our economies are doomed. Why? Nature-rights laws empower radical greens to go to court to stop any use of the natural world with which they disapprove. “Ecocide” would make large mining and energy-extraction development a heinous crime. Imagine the litigation possibilities!

Beyond the practical point, granting nature “the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution” — the usual definition of the concept — would reduce our self-perception to that of being just another animal in the forest, of no greater importance than a mouse. Such a misanthropic perspective would have dire consequences.

The nature-rights movement is profoundly subversive to human liberty and thriving. It is high time people recognized the existential threat it poses.

Meanwhile, China is licking its lips. The CCP tyrants don’t give a whit about human rights, and they certainly aren’t going to worry about “enslaving” flora, fauna, and geological features.