Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature
In September 2008 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.
Southern Water wipe outs river for a small fee
The Bartley Water is a river that passes through the New Forest. It runs from Bartley to Eling where it becomes tidal and flows out into Southampton Water. The river is despite the damage an important recreational and wildlife haven, especially at the Eling end of the river. It is also home to many protected species of fish and a diverse community of invertebrates and river life.
Sadly however the pumping station failure, wiped out whole communities of river life over a two kilometre stretch of river, including pollution tolerant species such as leeches and midges. The sewage stripped the oxygen from Bartley Water and increased the ammonia level in the watercourse to almost four times the lethal limit for fish. In many cases the species cannot be restocked and will have to be repopulated naturally.
Members of the public alerted the Environment Agency and Southern Water to the incident on 30 August 2008 after witnessing fish in distress in the Bartley Water. Southern Water sent an engineer to the site and the pumps were finally restarted at around 11.30am the following day.
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