Should a river be a legal person? Here’s the case for giving nature legal rights


The Great Barrier Reef is edging
大堡礁已经临近 towards intensive care
需要重症监护的状态。 Fish are dying en masse
墨累-达令流域的鱼 in the Murray Darling
大批死亡 and Australia is one of the worst
在森林砍伐方面,澳大利亚 in the world when it comes
也算得上全球范围 to deforestation.
情节极其恶劣的国家之一。 So what if nature itself
那么如果自然本身 had a way to fight back?
有能力反抗呢? 讨论:与爱丽丝·马修斯一起
支持/反对赋予自然法律权利 Let’s say it’s the year 2100.
假如现在是2100年。 Bad news if you like seafood or sailing
很遗憾,对爱海鲜或是出海爱好者来说, because fish have ingested
鱼类已经摄取了 too much plastic
太多的塑料 and the ocean is a garbage dump.
海洋已成了垃圾场。 It’s the tragedy of the commons.
这就是公地悲剧。 Because nobody owns the ocean
因为海洋不属于任何人 and everyone is welcome to it,
所以它属于所有人, people, companies and countries
个人、企业以及国家 can use and abuse its resources
都可以使用、甚至滥用其资源, as much as they like.
为所欲为。 The result is that eventually we run out
最终的结果是我们耗尽了 or trash that resource
或是破坏了所有的资源 and everyone loses.
大家都是输家。 But what if the ocean itself
但如果海洋自己 had a way to fight back.
有能力反击,情况会如何? Across the world,
全球范围内 courts are seeking to avoid
为了尽量避免出现上述情况 that scenario
法庭 by granting legal rights to nature.
开始赋予大自然法律权利。 It sounds far-fetched
这听起来虽然有些不现实 but the concept of giving a legal voice
但是让无法为自己发声的 to something that can’t speak for itself
具备法律权利 isn’t actually that radical.
并不是没有先例。 Corporations are a good example of that.
公司和企业就是很好的例子。 even though they’re not human
尽管它们不是人类 they have the same rights as people.
它们依旧享有与人同等的权利。 That’s why you can sue McDonald’s
这就是为什么你可以状告麦当劳 and it can sue you.
它也可以起诉你。 The Whanganui River in New Zealand
新西兰的旺格努伊河 is legally a person
从法律的角度来看就是一个人 and it can do the same.
所以它也有权利走诉讼程序。 In 2017 it was granted the same rights,
2017年它被赋予的 powers, duties and liabilities
权利、权力、责任和义务 as you and me.
和你我相同。 Its legal guardians include
它的合法监护人包括 a representative
来自瓦格努伊部落的 of the Whanganui tribe.
代表。 The ruling was so significant,
这一裁定意义非凡, not just because it was
不仅是因为这是 the first river in the world
世界上第一条 to be recognised as a person,
被视作一名个体的河, but because it was the end
也因为这一裁决终结了 of a 170-year-long battle
长达170年的拉锯战 for the recognition of
终于承认了 a sacred relationship
这条河流 between the Indigenous people
与当地土著人民之间 and the river.
神圣的关系。 There are variations of this
类似的案件 across the globe.
全球也有多例。 In 2008, Ecuador
2008年,厄瓜多尔 became the first country
成为世界上第一个 in the world to enshrine
将自然的法律权力 in the world to enshrine
将自然的法律权力
legal rights of nature
庄严载入宪法 legal rights of nature
庄严载入宪法 in its constitution.
的国家。 Bolivia passed a similar law in 2011.
玻利维亚2011年也通过了类似的立法 Rivers in Colombia and
哥伦比亚和孟加拉国的 Bangladesh have rights
河流也有自己权利, and even the US,
甚至是美国 a country that loves a lawsuit…
这个对诉讼情有独钟的国家 has granted Lake Erie in Ohio
也赋予了俄亥俄州的伊利湖 legal rights.
法律权利。 That lake was in such dire condition
当时那条河水质恶劣 it made drinking water toxic.
饮用水都变得有毒。 So now any time it’s polluted,
于是现在一旦河流遭到污染 a resident can sue on its behalf.
当地居民都可以代表河流提出诉讼。 It seems like a pretty good idea, right?
听起来很棒,对吧? But it does come with
但也随之出现了 some complications.
一些问题。 First, taking nature’s case to court
首先,提出涉及自然的诉讼 will come down to who can afford it.
费用要由谁承担。 In Ecuador, a non-for-profit sued
在厄瓜多尔,一个非营利性组织 a construction company
代表河流起诉了 on behalf of a river.
一间建筑公司。 And it won the case – success!
最终赢了官司! Except the company ignored the ruling
但这间公司无视裁决 and the NGO reportedly
而这间非政府组织据称 didn’t have the cash
没有钱继续 to keep fighting the case in court.
打官司。 Second, making a river legally a person
第二,河流一旦像人一样 and giving it the power to sue
享有法律权利起诉他人 also means the river
也就意味着 can be sued in return.
反之也可以被起诉。 For example,
比如, if the Fitzroy River in WA
如果西澳的菲兹洛伊河 was considered
成为 a legal person and it flooded,
有法律权利的个体,那么它一旦泛滥 people around that river
流域内的居民 could take it to court.
就可以把它告上法庭。 这是尚在讨论中的问题
情况让人担忧。 河流究竟要怎么
赔偿损失? They’re great questions
这些都是很难的问题 and the legal setup of this
而这方面的法律制度 is yet to be fully tested.
还需要进一步完善。 And third,
第三, this is not a one size
这么做并不是解决所有问题的 fits all kind of solution.
通用方案。 It may have worked in New Zealand
也许在新西兰或是 or Ohio but
俄亥俄行得通 that doesn’t mean that
但这并不表示 turning nature into people
把自然当作人来对待 is the only way to protect it.
才是唯一能保护它的方式。 And some of the very people
才是唯一能保护它的方式。 you’d expect
肯定会支持这一立法新趋势 to back this trendy new law in Australia
而事实上却恰恰认为 don’t think it’s really necessary.
没有这种必要。 我们在逐渐背离 土著人民的 信仰体系,而不是 接受他们。 Dr. Virginia Marshall is a lawyer and
弗吉尼亚·马歇尔博士是名律师 Wiradjiri Nyemba woman who’s
也是一名瓦拉哲里土著女性 thought a lot about the
她一直在思考 legal rights of nature.
大自然能拥有的法律权利。 比起拟人化赋予法律权利 比起拟人化赋予法律权利 我们需要 相信土著人民 相信土著人民的 法律系统。 That means rather than invent
也就是说与其构架 a new legal construct
新的法律制度 for our relationship with nature,
来维护我们与自然的关系 we could go back to an ancient one
不如采取旧时的做法 and reinstate land management systems
恢复土地管理制度 that have worked for
这套体系万年来 tens of thousands of years.
一直奏效。 If that can provide the same
如果可以向大自然 level of protection for nature,
提供相同级别的保护 without exotic legal fixes
同时又不需要改动法律 then why not just do that?
何乐而不为呢? So the case for turning Australian
把澳大利亚的 rivers, lakes or forests
河流、湖泊和森林变成 into legal people might sound appealing,
有法律权利的个体听起来胜算很大 the case against it is actually stronger.
但其实带来的弊端更大。 反对

12 thoughts on “Should a river be a legal person? Here’s the case for giving nature legal rights

  1. HUMAN'S RULE😍😍😍 NUCLEAR WASTE IS pouring into the sea off JAPAN FROM IT'S REACTORS. DAM IT SELL CHEAPER POWER TO THE PEOPLE AND YOU WILL HAVE FUNDS.

  2. It’s ok for corporations to have rights as humans tho🤦🏼‍♀️… ✌🏼❤️🌱🌎

  3. Ridiculous… Even though humans can do incredibly bad things, we are good… And as a species we should do something to save the planet because this is all we've got right now. But as far as the law goes? Innocent people get penalized for things they do not do wrong and then people that did wrong get off free… That's not my experience but I've seen it plenty of times in the news. So with regards to that, we should not put a man made law on nature.

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