Since December 2010 they have in Bolivia the unique “Law on the Rights of Mother Earth”. It gives to our planet – as a living system – rights in the same rank as the Human Rights. The indigenous population of this mountainous country has always known how sensitive the Earth is, whom we are all dependent on. That’s why they call her reverently Mother Earth: Pachamama. The current government is the first that recognizes and values the culture, belief and rights of the indigenous people.
The law states that all Bolivians are part of Mother Earth, and a little further:
The exercise of individual rights of is limited by the exercise of collective rights in the life systems of Mother Earth. Any conflict between the rights must be solved in a way that these do not affect irreversibly the functionality of the living systems.
El ejercicio de los derechos individuales está limitado por el ejercicio de los derechos colectivos en los sistemas de vida de la Madre Tierra, cualquier conflicto entre derechos debe resolverse de manera que no se afecte irreversiblemente la funcionalidad de los sistemas de vida.
The rights of the life systems (Mother Earth) therefore have priority. With such a law in Germany for example, open-cast mining would be unlawful because it damages the “functionality of the living systems” forever.
The law enumerates seven specific rights to which Mother Earth and her constituent life systems, including human communities, are entitled:
To life: This is the right to the maintenance of the integrity of life systems and natural processes which sustain them, as well as the capacities and conditions for their renewal
To the Diversity of Life: This is the right to the preservation of the differentiation and variety of the beings that comprise Mother Earth, without being genetically altered, nor artificially modified in their structure, in such a manner that threatens their existence, functioning and future potential
To water: This is the right to preserve the functionality of water cycles, their existence in the quantity and quality, necessary to sustain life systems, and the protection against contamination for the reproduction of the life of Mother Earth and all its components
To clean air: This is the right of the preservation of the quality and composition of air to sustain life systems and their protection with regards to contamination, for renewal of the life of Mother Earth and all its components
To equilibrium: This is the right to maintenance or restoration of the inter-relation, interdependence, ability to complement and functionality of the components of Mother Earth, in a balanced manner for the continuation of its cycles and the renewal of its vital processes
To restoration: This is the right to the effective and opportune restoration of life systems affected by direct or indirect human activities
To live free of contamination: This is the right for preservation of Mother Earth and any of its components with regards to toxic and radioactive waste generated by human activities.
Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra, Versión original. The text of this law in Spanish.
More at Wikipedia