What is Earth Law and Why Does it Matter?

| 9/4/2017 1:53:00 AM

Tags: rights of nature, environmental policy, environmental law, advocacy, environmental toxicity, Darlene May Lee,

Archipelago Volcanic Mountain At Sea

When I first learned about Earth Law Center (ELC), I visited my dad shortly thereafter and had a bit of trouble explaining to my dad what exactly ELC did. Nature having rights didn’t make much sense to him, a retired NASA engineer — he likes facts and figures best. So, I gave him a hypothetical example.

As a kid, I remember having to hold my breath every time we drove by Onondaga Lake because all the chemicals dumped into the lake made it stink. It got so bad that fishing was banned in 1972. Local activists have since persuaded County and State governments to ban chemical and waste discharge -with the Lake being made a Superfund site in 1994. Clean up has progressed so well that 56 species of fish now live in the Lake (compared to 8 species in the 1970’s).

Me: So if Onondaga Lake had legal rights, none of the chemical and waste dumps could have happened.

Dad: Why?

Me: Dumping chemicals in the Lake would have been like dumping waste into your house.

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