Protection at the local level

Mindsets are evolving to understand our place in nature as embraced by the indigenous people of the land we occupy. The catastrophic consequences of nature existing as “property” under the law have propelled communities around the world to take action to assert the rights of the natural world. And the outcry of youth in recent months illustrates the imperative that each of us takes action now.

The Community Rights movement has established the rights of nature from Lake Erie to Nottingham NH’s groundwater to Colombia’s Atrato River to New Zealand’s Whanganui River. Uganda, Bolivia and Ecuador have national laws establishing the rights of nature.

Recently, dozens of people were arrested in protest of the environmental degradation caused by emissions from the Bow power plant, demanding that it be shut down. Residents of Bow and the towns downstream and downwind from the coal-burning plant have the power to assert the rights of the natural world that sustains them. Those communities could work with the New Hampshire Community Rights Network (NHCRN) to assert the people’s right to clean water, air, and soil and local self-government. By passing rights-based ordinances that recognize, secure, and protect community rights, as a dozen New Hampshire towns have done, they could prohibit state-sanctioned harms inflicted upon families and natural environments. Communities facing the Granite Bridge Pipeline and storage facility also have cause for considering rights-based ordinances that challenge the legal system which treats nature as property to be exploited at the expense of the survivability of humans and nature.

We need to protect ourselves and future generations at the local level. Attempts to preserve the environment with state regulations that suppress local solutions have only slowed environmental degradation to the point of unsustainability.

To solve the problems we face, people need to be able to use their local lawmaking process to determine local standards that build upon state standards and reflect the unique views, values and needs of our human and natural communities. Contact NHCRN at info@nhcommunityrights.org and http://www.nhcommunityrights.org/.