Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

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This Declaration was adopted by the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth, in Bolivia. The Bolivian government has submitted it to the United Nations for consideration.

Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth

Preamble

We, the peoples and nations of Earth:

considering that we are all part of Mother Earth, an indivisible, living community of interrelated and interdependent beings with a common destiny;

gratefully acknowledging that Mother Earth is the source of life, nourishment and learning and provides everything we need to live well;

recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth, putting life as we know it today at risk through phenomena such as climate change;

convinced that in an interdependent living community it is not possible to recognize the rights of only human beings without causing an imbalance within Mother Earth;

affirming that to guarantee human rights it is necessary to recognize and defend the rights of Mother Earth and all beings in her and that there are existing cultures, practices and laws that do so;

conscious of the urgency of taking decisive, collective action to transform structures and systems that cause climate change and other threats to Mother Earth;

proclaim this Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, and call on the General Assembly of the United Nation to adopt it, as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations of the world, and to the end that every individual and institution takes responsibility for promoting through teaching, education, and consciousness raising, respect for the rights recognized in this Declaration and ensure through prompt and progressive measures and mechanisms, national and international, their universal and effective recognition and observance among all peoples and States in the world.

Article 1. Mother Earth

(1) Mother Earth is a living being.

(2) Mother Earth is a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.

(3) Each being is defined by its relationships as an integral part of Mother Earth.

(4) The inherent rights of Mother Earth are inalienable in that they arise from the same source as existence.

(5) Mother Earth and all beings are entitled to all the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration without distinction of any kind, such as may be made between organic and inorganic beings, species, origin, use to human beings, or any other status.

(6) Just as human beings have human rights, all other beings also have rights which are specific to their species or kind and appropriate for their role and function within the communities within which they exist.

(7) The rights of each being are limited by the rights of other beings and any conflict between their rights must be resolved in a way that maintains the integrity, balance and health of Mother Earth.

Article 2. Inherent Rights of Mother Earth

(1) Mother Earth and all beings of which she is composed have the following inherent rights:

(a) the right to life and to exist;

(b) the right to be respected;

(c) the right to regenerate its bio-capacity and to continue its vital cycles and processes free from human disruptions;

(d) the right to maintain its identity and integrity as a distinct, self-regulating and interrelated being;

(e) the right to water as a source of life;

(f) the right to clean air;

(g) the right to integral health;

(h) the right to be free from contamination, pollution and toxic or radioactive waste;

(i) the right to not have its genetic structure modified or disrupted in a manner that threatens it integrity or vital and healthy functioning;

(j) the right to full and prompt restoration the violation of the rights recognized in this Declaration caused by human activities;

(2) Each being has the right to a place and to play its role in Mother Earth for her harmonious functioning.

(3) Every being has the right to wellbeing and to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings.

Article 3. Obligations of human beings to Mother Earth

(1) Every human being is responsible for respecting and living in harmony with Mother Earth.

(2) Human beings, all States, and all public and private institutions must:

(a) act in accordance with the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

(b) recognize and promote the full implementation and enforcement of the rights and obligations recognized in this Declaration;

(c) promote and participate in learning, analysis, interpretation and communication about how to live in harmony with Mother Earth in accordance with this Declaration;

(d) ensure that the pursuit of human wellbeing contributes to the wellbeing of Mother Earth, now and in the future;

(e) establish and apply effective norms and laws for the defence, protection and conservation of the rights of Mother Earth;

(f) respect, protect, conserve and where necessary, restore the integrity, of the vital ecological cycles, processes and balances of Mother Earth;

(g) guarantee that the damages caused by human violations of the inherent rights recognized in this Declaration are rectified and that those responsible are held accountable for restoring the integrity and health of Mother Earth;

(h) empower human beings and institutions to defend the rights of Mother Earth and of all beings;

(i) establish precautionary and restrictive measures to prevent human activities from causing species extinction, the destruction of ecosystems or the disruption of ecological cycles;

(j) guarantee peace and eliminate nuclear, chemical and biological weapons;

(k) promote and support practices of respect for Mother Earth and all beings, in accordance with their own cultures, traditions and customs;

(l) promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.

Article 4. Definitions

(1) The term “being” includes ecosystems, natural communities, species and all other natural entities which exist as part of Mother Earth.

(2) Nothing in this Declaration restricts the recognition of other inherent rights of all beings or specified beings.

23 Responses

  1. Reema Pant February 15, 2012 at 2:45 am |

    It is indeed need of the hour to accept our follies and accept earth as a living entity our mother who has provided evrything for survival and sustenance. We need to accept the facts that we have no right to grab resources more than that required for our needs and accpt outher forms of life as righful owners of the resources as well.It does not mean we should revert to the stone age but why go for development without need. Surely we are comfortable by noew and do not need any more level of luxury or consumerism. why not decelerate the pace of development and give space for resurrection rather reconstruction of what is dying a slow death due to ever growing demands of one of the million species that are nurtured by generous mother Earth. Yes we are guilkty and should not be ashamed of accepting our misdeeds and come forward to rectify them atleast for the sake of our mother the EARTH.

  2. Jenny December 29, 2011 at 12:38 am |

    I love and support this!!! <3 I urge you all to share this and create awareness. This needs to go viral!!!!

    "Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten." ~Indian Proverb

    J.D Ridge
    Environmental Science
    McMaster University.

  3. marilii October 20, 2011 at 8:15 pm |

    Even though politically I lean conservative, I strongly believe that the Earth is Alive and we should not be raping it to suit our own selves. We need this Earth more than we will EVER need any kind of political system and it’s time for people to act responsibly towards her and all of the other sentient beings inhabiting her.

    Opposable thumbs do not make us greater than other species. It just allows us to use our bodies in ways that other beings can’t. Dolphins, for instance, have been proven to have even more intelligence than humans… but their bodies don’t allow them to “do” all of the things our human bodies allow us to do. In spite of their intelligence they are unable to build planes, create computers, etc because of the type of earthly bodies they inhabit. We humans are not smarter than other living beings; we are just luckier to be in more advanced bodies. Our actions towards each other, other species and Mother Earth herself prove that humans are pretty stupid, when all is said and done.

  4. Susan Hayes June 6, 2011 at 1:24 pm |

    If you’d like to do your own research, google “EARTH CHARTER” (originated in 1987)……America’s Religious Right shot it down in the good ole USA. Then there was Prez. REAGAN-who sent the environmental movement back 75 years! How many citizens know that when Reagan took office, one of the first things he did was rip out the solar panels which Pres. Carter had installed on the White House! When you are done fuming @ that, investigate current voting records of the DEMOCRATS vs the REPUBLICANS on ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. At this very moment the HOUSE REPUBLICANS have/and are cutting funding for the EPA, while supporting & protecting BIG OIL CORPORATION SUBSIDES and the BUSH TAX CUTS.

    CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT SOMETHING WHICH IS OFF IN THE DISTANCE, IT IS HERE,BABY-IT’S HERE! Huge corporations such as KOCH INDUSTRIES spend millions of their billions on “climate change denying propaganda”, so that they can take more and more from the earth, to put more and more cash into their bank accounts. As “Christians” don’t Charlie and Dave Koch know that they can’t take all that dough with them when they “go home to meet their father”? Obviously, they have no concern/compassion for their own children, grandchildren and great-grand children- NICE GUYS, HUH! The Religious Right, The Tea-bagger Nazis and Corporate Christians are destroying this Planet.

    The self-proclaimed “superior species” in America needs to wise up, do their own investigating and turn off FOX NEWS……America is not the only pea in the pod! So stop acting as such and EVOLVE, because time has run out!

  5. Cat Graham June 3, 2011 at 8:43 am |

    Well done Bolivia! I hereby adopt and support this declaration and support the UN in doing so as well!

  6. Leo McDevitt May 30, 2011 at 11:42 am |

    As a Pagan, I think the Universal Declaration suits Christianity perfectly. It simply extends their Golden Rule – Do Unto Others… To the Planet and all that live on it.

    Respect for Mother Earth is not optional if we wish to survive. I am happy to see Christians arrive at the correct mindset for our survival by any means they choose.

  7. Sangye May 29, 2011 at 1:45 pm |

    I love this Declaration and had never seen it before. Is there a way to sign it?

  8. Fatima Rodrigo May 28, 2011 at 10:56 am |

    While we campaign for the Rights of Planet Earth, let us also keep in mind that as long as the national and multinational corporations have no regulatory framework to comply with, the Planet Earth will continue to be pillaged.
    As long as the present market based Economic system continue to be the model, there will be unsustainable consumption and production.

  9. Md. Zakir Hossain May 26, 2011 at 2:04 pm |

    So far Human can see, there is no other planet as The Mother Earth within the area of +6 billion light years!! Human should not be fool anymore and should not have the right to accelerate its death period.

  10. Tania Guerrera May 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm |

    I will re-post and promote this to everyone and anyone as we all should regardless of beliefs. Wake up people this is about survival and purpose.

  11. B C Killmon May 25, 2011 at 7:47 am |

    If man cares not for mother earth! Mother earth will not care for
    man! The effects of climate change here recently makes that very
    evident!

  12. Georga Grivois March 21, 2011 at 12:52 pm |

    As Sentient inhabitants of Mother Earth it is our responsibility to care for the planet and it’s other lifeforms. I believe that only by living in harmony with nature will we be truly happy and reach enlightenment!

  13. Ric March 6, 2011 at 9:21 pm |

    IF we are ‘recognizing that the capitalist system and all forms of depredation, exploitation, abuse and contamination have caused great destruction, degradation and disruption of Mother Earth’

    THEN surely our first, Earth protective obligation is to commit to designing, constituting and exemplifying a viable alternative system.

    Unfortunately this obvious obligation is not listed. All we get instead at the very end of the list of obligations is the utterly limp

    ‘promote economic systems that are in harmony with Mother Earth and in accordance with the rights recognized in this Declaration.’

    Whose responsibility is it to conceive and exemplify and reality test alternative economic systems? The obligation to do no more than ‘promote’ makes it non-obligatory to actually ‘be the change’. Given the scale of destruction, this is a hopelessly weak and gutless response, utterly lacking in integrity.

  14. Christine Rodgers January 28, 2011 at 3:59 pm |

    I was raised Christian but have broadened my outlook over my lifetime. I cannot imagine what is not Christian about the rights of the planet! Christianity is based on the teachings of Jesus. Didn’t he say something about the lilies of the field, how blessed they were without toiling and reaping. I always took that to mean that 1. even plants are loved by God (maybe more than us) and 2. we should try to take our place on the planet like they do and not try to control everything. They “trust” God to provide for them which he does through the ecological systems of the planet. Of course that was my own interpretation, even as a child.

    And I don’t think Jesus ever said, “Go out there and use up or trash every good and necessary resource that my Father put here to make the whole system work to feed and provide for all living beings.

    Jesus was mostly concerned about how we treat each other. He said a poor man was more likely to get to Heaven than a rich man. He implied we should be more like a child and should live like he did, simply. Oh yeah, we are supposed to take care of those who have less luck than we do, slaves, the poor, the sick, the lonely, the mentally ill and the down trodden. Basically we are supposed to take care of each other and causing global warming or selling someone’s water isn’t exactly doing that. I’m pretty sure Jesus wouldn’t approve of cruelty to any living being but that is a guess. He did say that how we treat the person with the least status is how we treat him so to me that means definitely all the third world peoples. Jesus did NOT say, since they aren’t as good as us, we can destroy their means of livelihood, take their resources and let them live with our pollution until their children die.

    Again, Jesus NEVER said, if you work hard and are a good Christian I will let you have everything in this life, more than any other person until there is nothing left for anyone else.” HE SAID you might be rewarded in ANOTHER life, after this one, maybe. (Although I think getting to live here is reward enough.) I know that Jesus did not say outright what I get out of his teachings. I’m thinking that if you are greedy, thoughtless, controlling, cruel, try to posses the most, take what belongs to others, think you are better than others, think you deserve more than others, waste or destroy God’s gifts, kill humans and possibly other living beings with little concern, disregard the unbelievable perfection of the planet we are allowed to share with other creatures, you aren’t getting any rewards in any other life and you missed the point.

  15. Leon Nadine January 24, 2011 at 9:53 am |

    maybe Thomas doesn’t know the difference between living being and sentient living being (like uman beings are). perhaps he still sees earth like an inanimate object, a big lifeless stone. it’s a question of awareness. earth is an ecosistem who respires (trees are her lungs)sostains many vital organisms and many living being like trees, animals, umans who appartain her. so then earth encorporates all the life, acquiring about it all the particolarity.I believe we can rationaly say that our Earth is living being. to be christian means love and difend the oppressed.

  16. Ignacio Magalon December 15, 2010 at 11:00 am |

    Christians everywhere are called on to defend the creation and truth-seeking, as it can only bring us closer to the light of reason, which in a christian theology proceeds from the Word, and continues the mission of the Holy Spirit, who is sent by the Word to teach us about God.

    Christians who would violate mother earth are lost in materialism.

  17. Sean Munnik November 11, 2010 at 2:50 am |

    What’s not Christian about it? To me it seems very Christian. Anyway, I think this is a step in the right direction.

  18. Warren Draper September 27, 2010 at 9:53 am |

    “From a Christian worldview, it is irrational.”

    Since when was the Christian worldview based on rationality and reason?

    Christianity and its bastard child, the myth or ‘progress’, are largely responsible for the mess we’re now in.

  19. Thomas John August 9, 2010 at 1:55 pm |

    Have you seriously read this thing? I mean really read it? From a Christian worldview, it is irrational.

  20. Sr. Brigid Cannon, OP August 6, 2010 at 10:00 am |

    Thank you for your insights, reflections and challenges. This will become a part of my prayer and life. I will also commit to bringing this news to the patients, families and employees I serve as a certified chaplain here at Mercy Special Care Hospital where we have a Peace Pole and offer prayer and celebrations for Earth Day and Peace prayers.

    May Our loving Creator bless you abundantly!

  21. Max Inchaurregui July 7, 2010 at 9:11 pm |

    It is imperative that we change the way we think. We are one and the same. We exist in a vast network of energy, not created or destroyed, only transferred and recycled. This balance must be kept. Furthermore, the exploration of the human itself, both individually and collectively, its spirit, and its essence, depends heavily upon the understanding of and harmony with nature. Understanding our natural world, percieving, and experiencing our fundamental connection with it is the path of progress, the path to a knowledge and wisdom without bounds, a wisdom and enlightenment that can and will free us and make us eternal.

  22. Debra Burke May 1, 2010 at 10:55 am |

    This submission puts us in the right mindset in my opinion. We’re all in this together and we need to take care of humans and every other living creature and plant that we co-exist with. Many have gotten too far away from our connection with nature/Mother Earth and need to question how we’ve been operating and be willing to change at this very moment if what we’ve been doing has been damaging. I believe in ceasing behavior that we know to be destructive and allowing the natural self-correction of the earth to take place.
    Debra Burke

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