It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke, but Pope Francis, Prince Charles, and judges around the world are now supporting the rights of nature. The belief that nature was something to be both feared and conquered provided legitimacy for the enactment of laws that authorized the domination and destruction of nature by the Western world. Today, the growing movement for the rights of nature is in its nascent stages but the outcome could help humanity onto a much more sustainable path. This post is a commentary, the views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay. The Pope, a prince, and a judge walk into a bar… Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. What it represents instead is not a meeting in a bar, but a meeting of the minds around an idea that represents a profound change in humankind’s relationship with nature. That change now being discussed by key religious, political, and judicial leaders comes with the recognition that we are facing overlapping, global environmental crises which require a fundamental shift in humankind’s relationship with the natural world. A central tenet of this is recognizing that the natural environment itself must be afforded […]

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