Rights of nature is an idea that has come of age. In recent years, a diverse range of countries and jurisdictions have adopted these norms, which involve granting legal rights to nature or natural objects, such as rivers, forests, or ecosystems. This book critically examines the idea of natural objects as right-holders and analyzes legal cases, policies, and philosophical issues relating to this development.

Drawing on contributions from a range of experts in the field, Rights of Nature: A Re-examination investigates the potential for this innovative idea to revolutionize the concepts of rights, standing, and recognition as traditionally understood in many legal systems. Taking as its starting point Stone’s influential 1972 article "Should Trees Have Standing?," the book examines the progress rights of nature have made since that time, by identifying central themes, unifying principles, and key distinctions in how rights of nature discourse has been operationalized in the disciplines of law, philosophy, and the social sciences. These themes and principles are illustrated through a wide variety of examples, including ecosystem services, indigenous thinking, and ecological restoration, demonstrating how the relationship between humanity and the natural world may be transforming.

Taking a philosophical, political, and legal perspective, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of environmental law and policy, environmental ethics, and philosophy.

chapter 3|15 pages

Pachamama as a Legal Person?

Rights of Nature and Indigenous Thought in Ecuador

chapter 6|16 pages

Environmentally Conditioned Human Rights

A Good Idea?

chapter 7|20 pages

Human Rights and Rights of Nature

Prospects for a Linkage Argument

chapter 8|19 pages

Rights-Based Restoration

chapter 11|19 pages

Close Reading Stone

Investigating the Seminal Article