Nature is more than just property
The mayor of the Blue Mountains — a popular tourist spot west of Sydney, Australia — is pushing for the Rights of Nature to make it onto the city council’s legislative agenda. The Rights of Nature is a growing worldwide movement that recognises nature — in all its life forms — has the right to exist, persist, and regenerate. Mayor Mark Greenhill proposed the notion at a council meeting on March 31, saying: "As one of only two cities within a World Heritage National Park, and the only one in Australia, we feel it is our responsibility to be a leader in sustainable government and management.”
Although the Rights of Nature is a relatively new paradigm of thinking for industrialised western societies, the approach has been closely aligned with concepts long practised by Aboriginal communities across Australia. Greenhill told the Blue Mountains Gazette, "In practice, embracing the Rights of Nature in law means rejecting the notion that nature is merely human property to be used and often abused, but instead that it has the right to exist, thrive and evolve — just as we do."
Upon hearing the mayor’s proposal, the council agreed the concept was worth further consideration so as to find ways to incorporate the thinking into future planning and development. "It really comes down to: are we doing enough to secure the future of our environment, which we depend on for our own health as well as our economy,” said Greenhill. A report will be prepared and presented to the council later in the year.