I am seriously not making this up.
There is an organisation called the Rights of Nature Tribunal, in which a ‘Prosecutor for the Earth’ will bring cases against governments and businesses where there have been breaches of the ‘Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth’. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so freaking scary.
I know it sounds like something out of medieval witchcraft or Lord of the Rings, but the ABC, naturally, is taking this all extremely seriously (so no giggling at the back):
THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT’S handling of the dangers facing the Great Barrier Reef will be brought before an international tribunal in Lima, Peru on Saturday. It is one of 12 cases being heard at the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature.
Michelle Maloney, national convenor Australian Earth Laws Alliance and chair of the Environmental Defenders’ Office, Queensland helped prepare the case. She said the aim was to generate a strong statement of concern from the “ethical leaders” of the Tribunal over the governments’ perceived neglect of the Reef in the face of climate change, increasing development and agricultural run-off.
“We will be presenting the escalating threats from industrial development that the Queensland and Australian governments are allowing to happen and that threatens the existence of the Great Barrier Reef in contravention of UNESCO’s World Heritage Convention. AELA is bringing the case to bring to the attention of the global community what’s happening to the Great Barrier Reef,” she said.
The International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature formed earlier this year from an alliance of nearly 100 environment and law groups. It aims to promote what it describes as “wild law”, the idea that ecosystems have an intrinsic right to exist and are not simply a resource for humans. (source)
But wait a minute, if the planet has rights, then it must accept responsibilities, correct? Otherwise, that isn’t justice at all, it’s just victimisation, so the Earth needs to accept those responsibilities before trying to enforce its own rights, yes?
I therefore give notice that I intend to sue the Earth for all the catastrophic earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, landslides and other natural disasters that have occurred in the last thousand years and which have killed millions of innocent human beings.
Just because the Earth thinks that we haven’t done as much as we should have done to save the tree frog or whatever, that’s no reason to belch millions of tons of lava onto the surface of the planet and wipe out entire civilisations. I think the Earth needs to suffer some serious punishment for its irresponsible and dangerous actions…
OK, sarcasm off. Fortunately this laughable tribunal has no powers (yet), so governments and industry can simply give it the two-fingered salute, which I very much hope they will.