Rights of Pachamama: The emergence of an earth jurisprudence in the Americas
- 532 Downloads
Earth jurisprudence represents an alternative approach to the law based on the belief that nature has rights. In this view, a river has the right to flow, species have the right to continue to exist in the wild, and ecosystems have the right to adapt and evolve over time. Proponents of Earth jurisprudence argue that, by treating nature as exploitable resources, contemporary legal systems actively promote environmental harms. Recognising rights of nature, they argue, will transform core values and inspire social changes that promote economic development which respects nature’s limits. Since 2006, rights of nature have been recognised by some sub-federal public bodies in the United States and by the governments of Ecuador and Bolivia. This paper sets out to answer two questions. First, what explains the legal recognition of rights of nature in Ecuador and Bolivia? Second, what factors impede a wider adoption and implementation of Earth jurisprudence? Amongst the constraints, it will be argued, is that Ecuador and Bolivia continue to pursue an extractivist economic development model, with assertions of national sovereignty over natural resources tending to prevail over Earth jurisprudence and environmental conservation.
Keywordsbuen vivir ethnopopulism neoliberalism Pachamama rights of nature sovereignty
The author is grateful to three anonymous referees whose incisive and supportive criticisms and suggestions for additional source material greatly improved an earlier draft of this paper.
- Agostino, Ana and Franziska Dübgen (2012) ‘Buen vivir and beyond: Searching for a new paradigm of action’, paper presented at the Degrowth Conference, workshop ‘Real Utopias: From Solidarity to the Buen Vivir’, available at http://www.venezia2012.it/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/WS_55_AGOSTINO-DUEBGEN.pdf (accessed 1 July, 2015).
- Alexander, Samuel (2014) ‘Wild law from below: Examining the anarchist challenge to earth jurisprudence’, in Michelle Maloney and Peter Burdon, eds, Wild law – In practice, 31–44, Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Amin, Samir (1977) Imperialism and Unequal Development, New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
- Atkinson, Adrian (1991) Principles of political ecology, Chichester: John Wiley and Sons.Google Scholar
- Bassi, Michelle P. (2009) ‘La Naturaleza O Pacha Mama de Ecuador: What Doctrine Should Grant Trees Standing?’ Oregon Review of International Law 11: 461–77.Google Scholar
- Baude, Patrick L. (1973) ‘Sierra Club v. Morton: Standing trees in a thicket of justiciability’, Indiana Law Journal 48(2): 197–215.Google Scholar
- BBC (2013) ‘Bolivian President Evo Morales expels USAID’, BBC, 1 May, available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-22371275 (accessed 3 July, 2015).
- Bello, Alvaro (2004) Etnicidad y ciudadanía en América Latina: La acción colectiva de los pueblos indígenas, Santiago: CEPAL.Google Scholar
- Berry, Thomas (1999) The great work: Our way into the future, New York: Bell Tower.Google Scholar
- Berry, Thomas (2006) Evening thoughts: Reflecting on Earth as sacred community, edited by Mary Evelyn Tucker, San Francisco: Sierra Club.Google Scholar
- Berry, Thomas (2011) ‘Rights of the earth: We need a new legal framework which recognises the rights of all living beings’, in Peter Burdon, ed., Exploring Wild Law: The Philosophy of Earth Jurisprudence, 227–29, Kent Town, Australia: Wakefield.Google Scholar
- Bolivia Law of the Rights of Mother Earth (2010) English translation, World Future Fund, available at http://www.worldfuturefund.org/Projects/Indicators/motherearthbolivia.html (accessed 7 July, 2015). Spanish version available at http://www.planificacion.gob.bo/sites/folders/marco-legal/Ley%20N%C2%B0%20071%20DERECHOS%20DE%20LA%20MADRE%20TIERRA.pdf (accessed 7 July, 2015).
- Burbach, Roger, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes (2013) Latin America’s turbulent transitions: the future of twenty-first century socialism, London: Zed.Google Scholar
- Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) (2006) ‘Tamaqua Borough corporate waste and local control ordinance’, available at http://www.celdf.org/article.php?id=439 (accessed 27 June, 2015).
- Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) (2008) ‘CELDF assists Ecuador Constitutional Assembly’, available at http://celdf.org/-1-4 (accessed 5 July, 2015).
- Constitution of the Plurinational State of Bolivia (2009) translated by L. Francisco Valle V, printed in San Bernadino, California, Spanish version available at http://pdba.georgetown.edu/constitutions/bolivia/bolivia09.html (accessed 5 July, 2015).
- Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador (2008) English translation from Political Database of the Americas, Georgetown University, available at http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/english08.html (accessed 5 July, 2015), Spanish version available at http://pdba.georgetown.edu/Constitutions/Ecuador/ecuador08.html (accessed 5 July, 2015).
- Cullinan, Cormac (2002) Wild law: Governing people for earth, Claremont, South Africa: SiberInk.Google Scholar
- Cullinan, Cormac (2011) ‘A history of wild law’, in Peter Burdon, ed., Exploring wild law: The philosophy of earth jurisprudence, 12–23, Kent Town, Australia: Wakefield.Google Scholar
- Drake, Paul W. (2005) ‘The hegemony of U.S. economic doctrines in Latin America’, in Valpy Fitzgerald and Rosemary Thorp, eds, Economic Doctrines in Latin America: Origins, Embedding and Evolution, 72–96, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Eckstein, Susan Eva and Timothy P. Wickham-Crowley (2003) ‘Struggles for justice in Latin America’, in Susan Eva Eckstein and Timothy P. Wickham Crowley, eds, What Justice? Whose Justice: Fighting for fairness in Latin America, 1–32, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Farthing, Linda (2009) ‘Bolivia’s Dilemma: Development confronts the legacy of extraction’, NACLA Report on the Americas September/October: 25–40.Google Scholar
- Frank, Andre Gunder (1969) Latin America: Underdevelopment or Revolution – Essays on the Development of Underdevelopment and the Immediate Enemy, New York: Monthly Review Press.Google Scholar
- Gaia Foundation (2015) ‘Earth jurisprudence – Earth law’, Gaia Foundation, available at http://www.gaiafoundation.org/earth-centred-law (accessed 20 July, 2015).
- Gaillard, Emmanuel (2007) ‘The denunciation of the ICSID Convention’, New York Law Journal 237(122), 26 June, available at http://www.shearman.com/files/Publication/a4ce24f1-83de-445d-a50a-b82baf2f89fc/Presentation/PublicationAttachment/ce3cbe9a-ca49-4eaa-b3f5-d0a26ba0680c/IA_NYLJ%20Denunciation%20ICSID%20Convention_040308_17.pdf (accessed 16 July, 2015).
- Galeano, Eduardo (1973) Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent, London: Serpent’s Tail.Google Scholar
- Gill, Sam D. (1987) Mother Earth: An American story, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature (2013) ‘Ecuador government dissolves Fundación Pachamama’, Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, 6 December, available at http://therightsofnature.org/latin-america/support-fundacion-pachamama/ (12 July, 2015).
- Goodin, Robert E. (1992) Green political theory, Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
- Graham, Nicole (2011) ‘Owning the earth’, in Peter Burdon, ed., Exploring wild law: The philosophy of earth jurisprudence, 259–69, Kent Town, Australia: Wakefield.Google Scholar
- Green Left Weekly (2006) ‘Bolivia: From neoliberalism to a homeland for all’ [excerpts from speech by Evo Morales], available at https://www.greenleft.org.au/node/34404 (accessed 12 July, 2015).
- Harvey, David (1996) Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference, Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Hippolyte, Antonius R. (2012) ‘Negative environmental sovereignty in the third world: A TWAIL analysis of ICSID’s disregard for environmental justice in the south’, Social Sciences Research Network, available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2124645 (accessed 15 July, 2015).
- Hogan, Marguerite (2007) ‘Standing for nonhuman animals: Developing a guardianship model from the dissents in Sierra Club v. Morton’, California Law Review 95(2): 513–34.Google Scholar
- Inter-American Court of Human Rights (2012) Case of the Kichwa indigenous people of Sarayaku v. Ecuador, available at http://www.escr-net.org/sites/default/files/Court%20Decision%20_English_.pdf (accessed 16 July, 2015).
- Karl, Terry Lynn (2003) ‘The vicious cycle of inequality in Latin America’, in Susan Eva Eckstein and Timothy P. Wickham-Crowley, eds, What Justice? Whose Justice: Fighting for Fairness in Latin America, 133–57, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Kay, Cristóbal, ed. (1989) Latin American theories of development and underdevelopment, London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Keck, Margaret E. and Kathryn Sikkink (1998) Activists Beyond Borders: Advocacy Networks in International Politics, Ithaca: Cornell University Press.Google Scholar
- Kennard, Matt (2015) The racket: A rogue reporter versus the masters of the universe, London: Zed.Google Scholar
- Koons, Judith E. (2008) ‘Earth jurisprudence: The moral value of nature’, Pace Environmental Law Review 25: 1–77.Google Scholar
- Koons, Judith E. (2009) ‘What is earth jurisprudence? Key principles to transform law for the health of the planet’, Penn State Environmental Law Review 18: 47–69.Google Scholar
- Koons, Judith E. (2012) ‘At the tipping point: Defining an Earth jurisprudence for social and ecological justice’, Loyola Law Review 58: 349–90.Google Scholar
- Leopold, Aldo (1949) A sand county almanac – and sketches here and there, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Lucero, José Antonio (2009) ‘Decades lost and won: Indigenous movements and multicultural neoliberalism in the Andes’, in John Burdick, Philip Oxhorn and Kenneth M Roberts, eds, Beyond neoliberalism in Latin America: Societies and Politics at the Crossroads, 63–81, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Madrid, Raúl L., Wendy Hunter and Kurt Weyland (2010) ‘The policies and performance of the contestatory and moderate left’, in Kurt Weyland, Raúl Madrid and Wendy Hunter, eds, Leftist governments in Latin America: Successes and shortcomings, 140–80, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Maloney, Michelle (2014) ‘Ecological limits, planetary boundaries and earth jurisprudence’, in Michelle Maloney and Peter Burdon, eds, Wild law – In practice, 193–212, Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Mamani-Bernabé, Vicenta (2015) ‘Spirituality and the Pachamama in the Andean Aymara worldview’, in Ricardo Rozzi, F. Stuart Chapin III, J. Baird Callicott, S. T. A. Pickett, Mary E. Power, Juan J. Armesto and Roy H. May, eds, Earth stewardship: Linking ecology and ethics in theory and practice, 65–76, Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
- Mittelstadt, Michael C. (1995) ‘Non mos, non ius: Tacitus on the moral dimensions of political freedom’, International Social Sciences Review 70(1/2): 34–42.Google Scholar
- Nash, June (1989) ‘Cultural resistance and class consciousness in Bolivian tin-mining communities’, in Susan Eckstein, ed., Power and Popular Protest: Latin American Social Movements, 182–202, Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- Nash, Roderick Frazier (1989) The rights of nature: A history of environmental ethics, Madison: University of Wisconsin.Google Scholar
- Newell, Peter (2008) ‘Contesting Trade Politics in the Americas: The Politics of Environmental Justice’, in David V. Carruthers, ed., Environmental Justice in Latin America: Problems, Promise and Practice, 49–73, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Painter, Michael (1995) ‘Upland-lowland production linkages and land degradation in Bolivia’, in Michael Painter and William H Durham, eds, The social causes of environmental destruction in Latin America, 133–68, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.Google Scholar
- Perreault, Tom (2008) ‘Popular protest and unpopular policies: State restructuring, resource conflict, and social justice in Bolivia’, in David V. Carruthers, ed., Environmental Justice in Latin America: Problems, Promise and Practice, 239–62, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Code of Ordinances (2013) ‘Code of Ordinances City of Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Codified through Ordinance No. 12-2013’, 19 April, available at http://library.municode.com/index.aspx?clientID=13525&stateID=38&statename=Pennsylvania (accessed 19 July, 2015).
- Rice, Roberta (2012) The new politics of protest: Indigenous mobilization in Latin America’s neoliberal era, Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
- Robinson, William I. (2008) Latin America and Global Capitalism: A Critical Globalization Perspective, Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
- Rose, Carol M. (1994) ‘Given-ness and Gift: Property and the Quest for Environmental Ethics’, Environmental Law 24(1): 1–31.Google Scholar
- Schilling-Vacoflor, Almut (2011) ‘Bolivia’s new constitution: Towards participatory democracy and political pluralism’, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies 90: 3–22.Google Scholar
- Sivak, Martin (2008) Evo Morales: the extraordinary rise of the first indigenous president of Bolivia, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
- Stone, Christopher D. (1972) Should trees have standing? Towards legal rights for natural objects’, Southern California Law Review 45: 450–501.Google Scholar
- Stone, Christopher D. (2010) Should trees have standing? Law, morality and the environment, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- USLegal.com (2015) Legal Definitions Home > Standing, available at http://definitions.uslegal.com/l/locus-standi/ (accessed 1 July, 2015).
- Van Cott, Donna Lee (2007) ‘Latin America’s Indigenous Peoples’, Journal of Democracy 18(4): 127–41.Google Scholar
- Verhaeghe, Paul (2014) What about me? The struggle for identity in a market-based society, London: Scribe.Google Scholar
- Washington Post (2015) ‘What Eduardo Galeano had to say about the United States’, Washington Post (13 April), available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/04/13/what-eduardo-galeano-had-to-say-about-the-united-states/ (accessed 4 July, 2015).
- Watts, Jonathon (2013) ‘Oil drilling to start in pristine Amazon as eco fund fails’, Guardian (17 May): 13.Google Scholar
- Weaver, Jace, ed. (1996) Defending Mother Earth: Native American perspectives on environmental justice, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books.Google Scholar
- Whittemore, Mary Elizabeth (2011) ‘The problem of enforcing nature’s rights under Ecuador’s constitution: Why the 2008 environmental amendments have no bite’, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal 20(3): 659–91.Google Scholar
- Williams, Mark Eric (2011) Understanding US-Latin American Relations: Theory and History, London: Routledge.Google Scholar