Many Indigenous and coastal communities have respected and protected Nature for millennia, because they understood that Nature’s wellbeing also means their own. Our modern industrial societies, however, have lost this tie and become so disconnected from Nature that we have come to see it as an array of quarries, mines and fields to support our insatiable appetites. By legally recognizing Nature’s inherent right to exist and thrive and giving her a voice, the Rights of Nature movement tries to transform our relationship with Earth and help protect our imperiled ecosystems, with some proven successes already (over 150 laws worldwide so far, ranging from Ecuador, New Zealand, India and Mexico.)
In this interview with Rachel Bustamante and Diwigwi Valiente, we uncover:
Rachel Bustamante is Conservation Science & Policy Analyst at Earth Law Center, which is building a force of advocates for Nature’s rights at local and international levels. They partner with local organizations to create new laws that recognize Rights of Nature to exist, thrive and evolve, including specific ecosystems, like rivers or the ocean. Rachel’s research and advocacy focuses on the intersections of biodiversity conservation, Ocean policy and global environmental governance and justice.
Diwigdi Valiente is an Indigenous climate activist from the Guna people in Panama, social entrepreneur and the Director of Tourism Planning and Development at the Panamanian Ministry of Tourism. He specializes in the blue economy, regenerative tourism and the rights of indigenous people. In 2020, he was selected as one of the 10 young leaders of the future in Panama.