Last year Ecuador became the first country in the world to declare constitutional rights to nature, thus codifying a new system of environmental protection.
Reflecting the beliefs and traditions of the indigenous peoples of Ecuador, the constitution declares that nature “has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.” This right, the constitution states, “is independent of the obligation on natural and juridical persons or the State to indemnify the people that depend on the natural systems.”
The new constitution redefines people’s relationship with nature by asserting that nature is not just an object to be appropriated and exploited by people, but is rather a rights-bearing entity that should be treated with parity under the law.
Just think about that for a moment. Do you actually think that something like this could happen in North America? And if not, why not?