There’s a hunter’s nightmare in which a group of them flush some rabbits out of the brush. But rather than scampering away, the furry bunnies turn toward their stalkers. “Run,” shouts one of the hunters. “Run for your life – the rabbits have guns!”

Arming animals would make the sport of hunting a bit more sporting, wouldn’t it? Well, what if we did give all wildlife a fighting chance against the destructive firepower of profiteers who so carelessly ravage their habitats and kill them off? Of course, we can’t arm nature with guns, but we could recognize that other species and ecosystems are living creatures with intrinsic legal rights to exist and flourish, thus giving nature its day in court to defend its well-being.

Like us humans, the lakes, forests, wildlife, etc. could have legal status to sue and be represented by lawyers to protect themselves from mindless exploitation, injury, and death. This Rights-of-Nature concept is already being applied in such countries as Ecuador and New Zealand – and more than three dozen US cities and towns have passed ordinances acknowledging that various natural resources in their areas have inherent rights to take polluters and other despoilers to court.

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Ironically, the corporate powers – who have perverted law, logic, and nature to have their lifeless, profiteering entities declared “persons” – are aghast that Mother Nature can have rights that can counter the corporate claim that their right to profit is absolute.

At its core, the Rights-of-Nature movement is asserting the obvious: Earth’s biosphere is not a free candy store for our taking. We are one with the natural world and must find ways to cooperate fully with it for our own survival. To learn more and connect to action, go to the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund: www.celdf.org.

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