This question is explored from a range of directions in the Green Institute’s new paper, Rebalancing Rights: communities, corporations and nature, with contributions from some of Australia’s leading thinkers and practitioners in their fields, including Michelle Maloney, founder of the Australian Earth Laws Alliance, Peter Burdon, a globally renowned scholar and author on Wild Law, John Quiggin, one of Australia’s most respected economists, and Nicola Paris, founder of Counter Act and leading civil disobedience trainer and activist.
The Green Institute’s Executive Director Tim Hollo said the idea of Rights of Nature is building a head of steam globally, and it is a truly exciting conversation.
“With a federal election just around the corner, now is a good time for us to step back and consider what politics is for, “ said Hollo.
“Too often, it is used to protect those currently in power. We must turn it around and ensure that politics works for the common good. I hope this collection contributes to that goal,” he said.
What would change if we granted rights to the natural world? Would it be enough? Would new problems arise?
“As this collection explores, human rights and civil and political rights are already being suppressed by the overwhelming power of corporations,” said Hollo.
“It is likely the same would happen to Rights of Nature if they were introduced without challenging that dominance.
“Worse, rights for nature and humans would likely be set against each other, instead of being seen as intertwined and reinforcing in a complex world,” he said.
This collection sets out the fundamental ideas of Rights of Nature, with three contributions exploring the idea from different angles.
Two contributions detail how human rights and civil and political rights have been slowly whittled away by a politics working for the benefit of corporations.
Three contributions explore ways in which corporations have gained their political and social power, and how this can be constrained.
With ideas from changing systems of governance and boosting shareholder power through to legislatively changing the essential duties of corporations to work for the benefit of society and the natural world, the paper tackles the big questions head on.
Rebalancing Rights: communities, corporations and nature is available online at www.greeninstitute.org.au