To climate justice for nature, not man

To climate justice for nature, not man

An important international meeting on climate change (COP26) is expected to take place in Paris next November, but steps taken by the international community may not be up to standard. Climate challenges described by scientists. The challenge becomes even more difficult when countries meet at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still relevant. The fight against climate change may not be a priority for some countries.


Yenny Vega Cardanas, Sokhna Sene, Daniel Radish
Members of the International Observatory for the Rights of Nature

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – again – raises the alarm on climate change. For the first time in 30 years, an IPCC report uses the term “unambiguous” to refer to human responsibility for climate change.

Today it is not possible to reasonably doubt the severity of the climate crisis caused by human activities.

Climate change is already causing severe weather and climate events in all parts of the world. At this rate, there is no doubt that we will all experience more weather events and increasing intensity.

These generalized changes are especially important when they directly or indirectly affect the water cycle. The St. Lawrence River, for example, is significantly affected by the risk of climate change. According to experts, the temperature of deep-sea water in the Gulf has increased significantly in recent years, particularly affecting the population of Beluga. The increase in temperature reduces the flow of water and leads to an increase in the concentration of pollutants in St. Lawrence. Pollution is also the basis for the decline of aquatic species such as northern shrimp, Atlantic salmon and snow crabs.

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However, climate awareness on the part of the population, governments and decision makers is slow to translate into drastic measures to mitigate the devastating effects of global warming. When we point the finger at man, a paradigm shift may come to the rescue, because climate change is only the consequence of the infinite destruction of nature.

The guarantee of the rights of nature is presented as a tool for achieving an alternative model in environmental transformation. Adopted in 1992 Rio Declaration on the Environment and Development It declares that human beings are at the center of concerns for sustainable development and that they have the right to live a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. This ideology, which places human beings at the center of concern, is at odds with the rights of nature, which represent an integrated and holistic view of all living things and of all habitats.

We must learn to live in harmony with nature. Inspired by the legal traditions of the indigenous peoples, this trend is part of an ecocentrist stream that believes that man is no longer the “master” of nature but a species in others.

It refers to the inherent values ​​of nature and the entities that will no longer be the subject of law. It is therefore undisputed that a profound paradigm shift from ethnocentrism to ecocentrism is needed to slow down the current rate of climate change.

A representation must be added to recognize nature as the subject of law. It was suggested that this representation should ensure patronage supported by the scientific community and that they are knowledgeable about traditional and ancestral practices. These parents will be able to represent nature at the discussion table in the context of projects that significantly affect the fundamental rights of nature. Therefore, the destruction of natural habitats will be internalized in the economy, which must take into account the value of healthy habitats and their right to restore and preserve. Moreover, since it is the United Nations Decade for Restoration, we will be obliged to act!

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The mission of the International Observatory of Nature (OIDN) is in this direction. Considering the deteriorating condition of the St. Lawrence River, Quebec’s largest body of water, over the years, OIDN has made recognition of the river’s legal identity one of its major projects in collaboration with organizations such as Eau Secours. Water Lotion and Strategies Saint-Laurent.

OIDN has drafted a bill recognizing the St. Lawrence River as a legal entity and legal subject. The passage of such a bill would help ensure better protection and contribution to the rehabilitation of this river. This project is a structured project for better governance of our behavior towards the river. Our bill, published from the spring of 2021, is available in our joint action A legal personality for the St. Lawrence River and the rivers of the world.

On September 26, OIDN held a public meeting to hear from citizens on the subject, in line with World Rivers and Rivers Day, to create a civic alliance around the St. Lawrence River. The consultation continues and, among other things, invites any person interested in identifying the River’s best management, the right to be recognized on the St. Lawrence River, and the relevance of extending this status. Other courts, water like rivers and lakes.

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