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North Country News
Mon December 31, 2012
Effort Begins to Give Nature Constitutional Rights in Vermont
A grassroots campaign has started in Vermont to add a “Rights of Nature” article to the state Constitution.
The Vermont Rights of Nature Campaign has drafted a proposed constitutional amendment that would change Chapter One of the state Constitution to recognize the rights of natural areas and wild populations of Vermont. The petition for a Town Meeting vote states that the amendment would find that “....the natural environment of Vermont, including its forests, natural areas, surface and ground waters, and fish and wildlife populations, has certain natural, inherent and unalienable rights....”
Steve Marx is a coordinator of the campaign.
Steve Marx admits that Vermont’s Constitution will be very difficult to change.
There is a Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature. Equador has a Rights of Nature provision in its Constitution. Bolivia has developed a Mother Earth Law.
Vermont Law School Professor Patrick Parenteau says the Rights of Nature is a noble idea and some states do have clauses or provisions that declare the environment a common resource that must be protected.
Organizers hope to place the proposed Rights of Nature article on Town Meeting Day ballots in Strafford, Norwich, Sharron, Tunbridge and Thetford.