Bolivia intends to pass la Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (the Law of Mother Earth), which grants nature the same rights and protections as humans, under the country’s first indigenous president Evo Morales.
These rights includes: the right to life and to exist; the right to continue vital cycles and processes free from human alteration; the right to pure water and clean air; the right to balance; the right not to be polluted; the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered; and, the right “to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities.”
The Law of Mother Earth is rooted from tenets of indigenous beliefs. “Our grandparents taught us that we belong to a big family of plants and animals. We believe that everything in the planet forms part of a big family,” said Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca.
To implement this legislation, Bolivia will establish a Ministry of Mother Earth.
Canadian activist Maude Barlow believes that this will create a ripple effect, “It’s going to start first with these southern countries trying to protect their land and their people from exploitation, but I think it will be grabbed onto by communities in our countries, for example, fighting the tarsands in Alberta.”