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With every new headline relaying the detrimental effects of climate change, it can be easy to overlook the positive climate news that filters through our feed each week. There is good being done on the environment’s behalf, with nature increasingly being afforded legal rights of its own. A number of ecosystems around the world have been declared living entities by local or federal courts, many of them also granted personhood, and laws are being codified to manage, conserve, and protect the natural environment. From Australia to the Americas, these seven countries have set the world stage with landmark cases concerning the rights of nature. In Ecuador, nature is known as Pachamama, a loose translation of Mother Earth from the Inca fertility goddess of the same name. In 2008, the nation famous for being a launch point for the Galapagos Islands, one of the original 12 UNESCO World Heritage sites, made history by becoming the first country in the world to ratify a constitution amended to include nature’s rights. Article 71 of the redrafted constitution states that Pachamama not only has the right to exist but also to have its “maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structures, functions, and […]

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