Gobar Times
Open Forum

Basic Instincts

Wondering what we’re on with?
Well, we’re simply letting you know that Bolivia

wants the UN to recognise the Earth as a
living entity and give it ‘rights’. You might find
this a tad bit bizarre, but hang on!

Call it radical environmentalism if you must. But the people and government of Bolivia have taken it upon themselves to ‘redefine’ the country's rich mineral deposits as ‘blessings’ and are drawing up a draft UN treaty which would give Mother Earth the same rights as humans, including the right to life, pure water and clean air. The South American country wants the UN to recognise the Earth as a living entity that humans have sought to ‘dominate and exploit’.

The new law is expected to lead to radical new conservation and social measures to reduce pollution and control industry. Too radical for your liking, huh? Well radical times call for radical measures, remember?

Bolivians are known to be living with the effects of climate change every day — in a way that no one else in the world does. They are struggling to cope with rising temperatures, melting glaciers and more extreme weather events including frequent floods, droughts, frosts and
mudslides. Temperatures in Bolivia have been rising steadily for 60 years. Research by glaciologists has suggested that they are set to rise a further 3.5-4C over the next 100 years. This would turn much of Bolivia into a desert. It is for this reason that their president has called for an urgent 50 percent cut in emissions.

The first article of the Law of Mother Earth says that every human activity has to "achieve dynamic balance with the cycles and processes inherent in Mother Earth" and defines her as "a unique, indivisible, self-regulating community of interrelated beings that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings."
The legislation will create 11 distinguished rights for the environment including:

  •  the right to maintain the integrity of life and natural processes
  • the right to not have cellular structure modified or genetically altered
  • the right to continue vital cycles
  • the right to pure water
  • the right to clean air
  • the right to balance, to be at equilibrium
  • the right to be free of toxic and radioactive pollution
  • the right to not be affected by mega-infrastructure and development projects that affect the balance of ecosystems and the local inhabitant communities

The spiritual and economic side of the law
Bolivians are known for their indigenous belief that Andean goddess of Mother Earth is central to all life. This is known as Pachamama and the law is said to be greatly inspired by it.
However, another important aspect that cannot be ignored is the fact that disruptive industries like mining contribute to a large portion of Bolivia's GDP and the largely-abstract legislation has yet to define how such practices will be regulated.

Ecuador was the first country in the world to recognise the legal rights of Mother Nature in its constitution and Bolivia is the first to translate these rights into a law!