Read this and watch the video:
Bolivia’s Law of Mother Earth:
Evo Morales was the first Indigenous Bolivian President.
Under his administration, December 2010 Bolivia passed one of the world’s first laws granting all nature equal rights to humans, certainly the most swooping and inclusive law. The Law of Mother Earth, now agreed by politicians and grassroots social groups, redefines the country’s rich mineral deposits as “blessings” and is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry.
The Law gives rights to Mother Earth and her life systems.
Bolivian Life Systems definition: “complex and dynamic communities of plants, animals, micro-organisms and other beings in their environment, in which human communities and the rest of nature interact as a functional unit, under the influence of climatic, physiographic and geologic factors, as well as the productive practices and cultural diversity of Bolivians of both genders, and the world views of Indigenous nations and peoples, intercultural communities and the Afro-Bolivians”
Consider the revolutionary Law of Mother Earth, both its content and the impact it will have on Bolivians both now and in the future. Consider all the different rights listed in the Law. What does this mean for the environment and all the creatures, both human and animal, that live in this country? This Bolivian law is a creative vision to put into law a system that preserves the biological foundations of life.
The Bolivian Law of Mother Earth includes the following (I added examples after some points):
The right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes.
The right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered (ex. no GMOs).
The right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration (ex. animal habitat and ecosystem health considerations).
The right to pure water.
The right to clean air.
The right to balance, to be at equilibrium.
The right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution (ex. no nuclear power or other toxic pollution).
The right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities (ex. no new Corporate Development)
The law also promotes “harmony” and “peace” and “the elimination of all nuclear, chemical, biological” weapons.
Video: Here is the link to the 12 min John Vidal report from La Paz where Bolivians are living with the effects of climate change every day. Their President Morales has called for an urgent 50% cut in emissions – action that is essential for the country’s survival:
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/video/2011/apr/10/bolivia-fighting-the-climate-wars (Links to an external site.)
Purpose: The connections between people, animals, and plants run deeper than we have discussed so far. Read/watch the links throughout the Module. Then also watch the 12 min news report and read the information below on the Bolivian Law of Mother Earth. Bolivian Law may seem like radical ways of thinking and living, but they are also a return to the way indigenous peoples viewed human relationships with animals and, yes, even plants.
Assignment Prompt: write about 300 words: Write this Reading Response on the value of animal and environmental rights, and perhaps even the value of extending rights as presented in the Law of Mother Earth. Climate Change has been called the greatest challenge of this generation. Would considering animal and even plant rights as presented here have value or be effective in addressing Climate Change in a more holistic way? Is there value in looking beyond human needs alone in our laws?
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