Rights of Nature Campaign

Rights of Nature Campaign

History will remember December 1, 2021, as the day that nature won. On that date, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador, the highest court in the nation, chose to uphold the landmark Rights of Nature provisions in Ecuador’s constitution, safeguarding the Los Cedros forest from the threat of mining. Mining within the protective forest was prohibited outright, and the environmental and water permits of the companies involved were nullified; strict provisions for ecological and community management in the forest were mandated as well as guidelines and requirements to respect and implement the right to environmental consultation that all Ecuadorians have. The ruling was unprecedented: no other court anywhere in the world had ever gone so far to recognize the rights of non-human organisms. The effects of this decision will be felt both in Ecuador and around the world for years to come.

The decision to protect Los Cedros was the culmination of a years-long legal battle between the defenders of this endangered ecosystem and mining companies, including segments of the Ecuadorian government promoting mining development. The ruling set a precedent for the application of Ecuador’s Rights of Nature provisions, with effects rippling outward to other forests around the nation, as well as the world. The significance of the case rests with the unique legal argument that won in court: rather than assuming nature to be an object to be regulated and controlled, Ecuador’s constitution grants rights to life forms other than humanity, including entire ecosystems – additionally, the sentence clearly stated that Rights of Nature are not limited to protected forest. The successful use of those rights to defend an ecosystem like Los Cedros sets a powerful precedent for the future, often called “Earth jurisprudence”.

Los Cedros needs your help

As well as extensive legal fees, we are expecting significant opposition from the mining sector who will be certain to fight any positive ruling. Funds will also support Ecuadorian grassroots campaigners to network this emblematic case across the country.

New donations up to $10,000 will be matched dollar for dollar by Paul Gilding (former CEO of Greenpeace Australia and Greenpeace International) and John Seed (founder of the Rainforest Information Centre).

Donate here