A Question of Nature

When corporate executives are absurdly hypocritical, yet so obtuse that they don’t even realize it, is it still hypocrisy… or are they just dimwitted?

Consider the histrionics emanating from corporate bunkers over rising public approval for the idea that nature be given legal rights that are enforceable in courts. The Rights of Nature movement argues that if, say, a mining conglomerate decapitates a mountain, that injured citizen of our natural world ought to have its day in court. “Outrageous,” shriek the honchos of Corporate America – the courts are for people, not for pieces of property!

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Hello, hypocrisy. After all, a corporation is not a person – it has no brain, no pulse, no soul, no life. It’s not even a real piece of property, just an inert document printed by a state. Yet, the owners of that piece of paper claim that it magically bestows “personhood” on their syndicate, giving it the legal and political rights of real people. Yet, these “paper people” now cry that Earth’s actual living creatures can’t have any legal rights because they are just property. Excuse me, but a single drop of water has more life in it than all the corporations in the world.

Also, let’s note that the long evolution of law even had to be enlightened to recognize that such “property” as slaves were human beings with fundamental rights. The body of legal (and moral) rights has grown, and it enhances our own humanity to recognize that we and nature are one. Crass corporate exploitation, on the other hand, diminishes all living things, threatening life itself.

Those who reflexively mock the idea of legal standing for marshes, grasslands, forest networks, and other wildlife – might consider taking a moment by a quiet stream in the woods to ponder the question: Does nature need us, or do we need her?

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