Rights of Nature laws
To the editor:
Rights of nature is a global, national and now Florida statewide movement. These initiatives act to amend local municipal and county charters by inserting a Bill of Rights for Nature. This means to give specific ecosystems constitutionally framed rights provisions recognized as the highest level of environmental protections in western law. Today, in Orange County, Florida, through the charter review commission (CRC) process, The Wekiva and Econlockhatchee Rivers Bill of Rights (WEBOR) was approved by the commissioners. WEBOR will now be placed on the ballot in November 2020 and citizens of Orange County will further exercise their constitutional rights to self-governance and home rule by deciding if giving nature rights protections is best for their community. Implementation of these bills of rights for nature in all 412 and 20 charter organized cities and counties respectively is achievable.
Our regulatory system has failed to protect our ecosystems, health, safety and welfare. Our surface, ground and drinking waters are unhealthy and in places, toxic. We must change this paradigm of regarding nature simply as property, a limitless resource, to be exploited for our human needs. Realization that we are not above nature but rather a part of nature is essential. Rights of Nature laws will break the century-long degradation of our waters by allowing the citizens, cities and counties to finally and effectively challenge the sources and responsible parties polluting and poisoning our waters. Rights of Nature law is the tool that has been missing to break the fixed regulatory system.
I ask that everyone take the time to watch this historic moment of the Orange County CRC meeting by viewing sections 2 & 7 in the Link here. Let’s make the most of these laws to provide future generations a fighting chance to protect our communities.