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Should rivers have the same rights as people?


Platinum Member
Sep 30, 2011
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The Magpie River winds majestically through the forests of Quebec for nearly 200 miles. Its thundering ribbon of blue is cherished by kayakers, white-water rafters and the indigenous my people of Ekuanitshit. Earlier this year, in a first for Canada, the river was granted legal personhood by local authorities, and given nine rights, including the right to flow, the right to be safe from pollution – and the right to sue.

Uapukun Mestokosho, a member of the Innu community who campaigned for the recognition of the Magpie’s rights said spending time on the river was “a form of healing” for indigenous people who could revive their traditional land-based practices that had been abandoned during the violence of the colonial era. “People are suffering a lot, with intergenerational traumas linked to the past,” Mestokosho told CBC. As well as this benefit for people, she said that her ancestors had always protected the Magpie, known as the Muteshekau-shipu, in the past, and a recognition of its rights would help protect it for future generations.

The Magpie is one of a growing number of rivers to be recognised as a living entity across the world. The burgeoning rights-of-nature movement is pushing local, national and international authorities to recognise natural features – from lakes to mountains – in law, giving them either legal personhood or an independent right to flourish.

So, river personhood is global. I'm personally fond of rivers and it's sweet but I don't think this is going to work as well as people think it should. OTOH, I'm an American and I am imagining that taking place here rather than other places with other systems.


Unobtanium Member
Jan 3, 2009
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Drinking wine, eating cheese, catching rays
Ayn Rand recognized environmentalism as a cult decades ago....They've come bounding out of the closet.

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