Natalie Greene – Ecuador

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On June 29th, 2017 Srila Paramadvaiti Swami visited Natalie Greene, a distinguished Ecuadorian activist in defense of the Rights of Nature. He awarded her United Nations of the Spirit recognition for her successful work in achieving that environmental protection be part of the Ecuadorian constitution.

Natalia Greene, Professor of environmental and climate change, representative of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature in Ecuador, secretary of the International Court for the Rights of Nature, participant of the Ecuadorian Committee for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA ), also in Terramate, an organization dedicated to protecting Amazonian territory from the extraction of oil and indigenous rights.

In Ecuador in 2008, after ten years of political chaos and a constituent assembly that attempted to establish ambitious reforms in search of alternatives such as keeping oil underground, proposal arose to declare the Rights of Nature in the country’s constitution, precedents that met to support the proposal were the one hundred communities in the United States that had already declared the rights of nature, but there was no country that would recognize it. To everyone’s surprise, the proposal was not only introduced into the Ecuadorian debate, but it was officially accepted, now nature had a right to exist. However logical, this concept had never before been recognized. Ecuador became the first country on the planet to recognize nature as a subject with rights based on their constitution.

Ecuador is still the only nation that recognizes the rights of nature as a subject unlike all other countries in the world that still consider it an object.

In the city of Cochabamba in 2010, Bolivia called for a conference between the people and Mother Earth, which resulted in the acceptance of legislation, the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth which was widely accepted around the world. However, for Bolivia the case is somewhat different. Bolivia recognizes this statement as part of its laws.It indirectly recognizes the Rights of Nature, but has nothing concrete that changes its constitution. In other words, there is a law that recognizes the rights of Mother Earth, but, there has been nothing so timely included in a constitution that declares: “Nature is Subject of Rights,” as the Government of Ecuador accomplished.