A lawsuit filed recently in federal court by an environmental group called Deep Green Resistance seeks to protect the Colorado River by recognizing it as a person with rights. The lawsuit names the Colorado River ecosystem as the plaintiff and cites no specific physical boundaries. Yea! for native plants and the natural landscape.
The defendant, the State of Colorado and Governor John Hickenlooper, are being held liable for violating the river’s “right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored and naturally evolve.” (The New York Times)
Since the Supreme Court has recently granted such companies as Hobby Lobby human rights, and corporations through Citizens United “full rights to spend money as they wish in candidate elections,” could it be that Mother Nature might soon be granted such rights as well?
There is likely little chance for this case to be successful. But if it were, just think what it could do for environmental law with respect to our forests, grasslands and native plants. Future lawsuits could be successful in blocking development and perhaps even the introduction of non-native plant species in what remains of indigenous lands .
The idea for this comment came from Grist Briefly.