Sunday, September 07, 2008

New Ecuador constitution recognizes evolution

On September 28, the people of Ecuador will vote on a new constitution and that constitution is expected to gain easy approval. The new constitution includes a five article section granting rights to nature as a whole. The section refers to nature as Pachamama, a local pagan goddess, the equivalent to Mother Earth or Mother Nature in Anglo-American idiom. Nature has the right to "integral restoration" and people of any nationality can petition the courts in the name of nature. The government Ecuador is obligated to protect nature and prevent extinction or harmful alteration of ecosystems and natural cycles.

According to Reuters, 56 percent of Ecuadorans approve of the proposed document.

Chapter: Rights for Nature

Art. 1. Nature or Pachamama, where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognitions of rights for nature before the public organisms. The application and interpretation of these rights will follow the related principles established in the Constitution.

Art. 2. Nature has the right to an integral restoration. This integral restoration is independent of the obligation on natural and juridical persons or the State to indemnify the people and the collectives that depend on the natural systems.

In the cases of severe or permanent environmental impact, including the ones caused by the exploitation on non renewable natural resources, the State will establish the most efficient mechanisms for the restoration, and will adopt the adequate measures to eliminate or mitigate the harmful environmental consequences.

Art. 3. The State will motivate natural and juridical persons as well as collectives to protect nature; it will promote respect towards all the elements that form an ecosystem.

Art. 4. The State will apply precaution and restriction measures in all the activities that can lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of the ecosystems or the permanent alteration of the natural cycles.

The introduction of organisms and organic and inorganic material that can alter in a definitive way the national genetic patrimony is prohibited.

Art. 5. The persons, people, communities and nationalities will have the right to benefit from the environment and form natural wealth that will allow wellbeing.

The environmental services are cannot be appropriated; its production, provision, use and exploitation, will be regulated by the State.

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