UC Law Environmental Journal


Kaitlin Sheber


In recent years, a growing number of States have granted legal status to natural entities. First, this paper looks at case studies to determine how this trend has emerged in individual Nations, be it through extensive litigation as seen in New Zealand, a court decision as seen in India, or through the restructuring of a legal system as seen in Ecuador. Next follows a discussion of legal tools that have been used and their accomplishments, especially through lawsuits in Ecuador, as well as legal work that could be accomplished in New Zealand. After, this essay looks at how the idea of nature with rights may gain traction internationally through sharing of ideas, grassroots movements, indigenous movements, and international movements. Finally, this essay concludes by considering how nature with legal rights can make a positive difference. First, it can make a positive environmental difference by allowing more lawsuits into court for natural entities and redressing harms directly to those natural entities. Second, indigenous communities experience a positive impact when their viewpoints and values are codified into law.