Environmentalists Pushing to Give Mother Nature a “Right to Life”

National   |   Wesley J. Smith   |   Aug 16, 2013   |   12:21PM   |   Washington, DC

I can’t think of a faster way to destroy the economy than to give human-style “rights” to “nature.” But the “nature rights” movement is growing–and too few people are paying attention. Such “it can’t happen here” attitudes are dangerous because they allow one side to fight a war as the other side sleeps.

And look at this: Energy and Environmental Publishing–which brands itself as”the leading source for comprehensive, daily coverage of environmental and energy policy and markets,” gives a big boost in its Greenwire to a radical environmental lawyer named Linda Sheehan, whose newest cause is pushing nature rights. From, “Battle-Tested Lobbyist Wants to Win Legal Rights for Nature:”

Some say environmentalist Linda Sheehan went through a midlife crisis. But she calls it an “awakening.” Sheehan — by all accounts one of California’s most effective environmental lobbyists — had grown frustrated in 2010 after about 20 years of advocacy. The California Coastkeeper Alliance, where she was executive director, was meeting its goals, but waterways were still polluted.

I felt that we were doing everything we needed to do and still seemed to be short of what we needed to achieve,” Sheehan said in a recent interview. “We were getting advances, but we weren’t winning the war.” So Sheehan turned her attention to reforming environmental laws. Now executive director of the Earth Law Center, a plucky Bay Area nonprofit with just three employees, including Sheehan’s college-age daughter, Sheehan is calling for a paradigm shift in how laws — and, thus, the courts — view nature.

Sheehan talks as if her goal is to stop “pollution.” But nature rights isn’t about that. As I have frequently written, it is about granting nature a quasi right to life by giving it (her) equal consideration in the face of every human activity that interferes with her purported “right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution.”

What’s more, rights of nature laws give everyone and anyone the legal standing to sue to protect nature’s rights. Talk about a sure way to thwart any large scale use of land or resources! At the very least, consider the extortion possibilities: “Either donate to our Green non profit or we’ll sue.”

Don’t get me wrong: I am certainly not saying that E and E shouldn’t cover the nature rights issue. But at the very least, it should challenge Sheehan’s presumptions and consider the consequences to the energy industry–and society–if Sheehan’s side prevails. There is not one iota of skepticism or challenge in the profile. None.

I mean, good grief, if Sheehan gets her way there won’t be an E and E Publishing because “nature” will sue energy companies to keep them from extracting natural gas and oil. The birds will bring a class action suit against wind farms for the millions of avian deaths the windmills cause. Heck, rivers might sue dams for interfering with their free flow to the sea.

You think not? The goal is that espoused years ago by Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas. From the article:

Douglas dissented. He argued that rivers and streams have their own basis for standing when they are exploited, and those who enjoy them should be able to bring lawsuits to protect them. “The river, for example, is the living symbol of all the life it sustains or nourishes — including man, who are dependent on it or who enjoy it for its sight, its sound, or its life,” Douglas wrote. “The river as plaintiff speaks for the ecological unit of life that is part of it. Those people who have a meaningful relation to that body of water — whether it be a fisherman, a canoeist, a zoologist, or a logger — must be able to speak for the values which the river represents and which are threatened with destruction.”



I’ve seen this bending over backwards to be fair approach in the animal rights issue too among some naive animal industry types. AR activists are bent on destroying their way of life, but the targets think that if they just show their enemies that they are ”good people,” all will be well.

Folks, please believe me: They don’t care. Animal rights activists want to end all animal domestication, and rights of nature radicals want to prevent human beings from thriving off of earth’s bounty. It is as simple–and harsh–as that.

LifeNews.com Note: Wesley J. Smith, J.D., is a special consultant to the Center for Bioethics and Culture and a bioethics attorney who blogs at Human Exeptionalism.