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The Rights of Nature: A Legal Revolution That Could Save the World

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  129 ratings  ·  19 reviews
An important and timely recipe for hope for humans and all forms of life

Palila v Hawaii. New Zealand’s Te Urewera Act. Sierra Club v Disney. These legal phrases hardly sound like the makings of a revolution, but beyond the headlines portending environmental catastrophes, a movement of immense import has been building — in courtrooms, legislatures, and communities across th
Paperback, 280 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by ECW Press
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Clare O'Beara
I heartily recommend this intriguing book about laws and consequences. If at one time enslaved peoples, women and non-landowners did not have legal status as persons with rights, but now they do, what is the logical progression? The author shows how cases have been brought to try to grant rights, legal person status and other issues on behalf of primates, orcas and other creatures, even to the Great Barrier Reef. We get a chapter on the various intelligences of these animals and birds, with fasc ...more
Tonstant Weader
Aug 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Reading David R. Boyd’s The Rights of Nature in these United States is a bit disassociative. He is writing in an alternative universe where Scott Pruitt is still suing the E.P.A., not running it and we still had a legitimate government that respected the rule of law. However, if we ignore the United States and the crony capitalist kakistocracy in D.C., there is optimism for the environment in changing legal theories and the advancing idea that nature itself has rights.

The Rights of Nature begins
Mrs. Europaea
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's unfortunate that it has come to this but I wholly agree with The Rights of Nature. It shouldn't have taken so long for our species to realize that Nature is an entity that needs to be protected. From our wild life to our wild lands, Boyd does an excellent job displaying the unnecessary challenges we face to create and implement important policies to protect our environment to ensure the longevity of our species, and more importantly, our planet.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall, a solid effort to compile the world movement to give rights to the non-human world, including ecosystems - "the rights to existence, to integrity, and to regeneration."

David Boyd is a good writer. This book would be a nice compendium for an introductory course in environmental policy as most textbooks on the topic rely on traditional environmental policy oriented towards Environment-as-Resource-for-Humans-in-the-Immediate-Future (ERHIF). That's FIRE backwards with a silent H.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
The ideas presented in this book are important, but I didn't care for the execution. It felt like a jumble of information, the story jumps from one time and place and court case to another with each subsequent chapter. In the end the book provides readers with numerous examples but no deeper knowledge of the overarching issues. And what was the most surprising thing I learned while reading this? Courtroom judges write horrible poetry.
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In his closing remarks to a justly celebrated talk given in South Africa in 2011, Graham Hancock said: “We don’t have to go on repeating the same negative behaviour on an international scale that we are practicing today. We can change.” If ever there was any doubt about the reality of that possibility, this book will dispel it.

David Boyd guides us almost Virgil-like through the concentric circles of a topic that is vast, complex and potentially as dry as courtroom dust. But, like Virgil, he has
Joseph A.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book should be required reading in schools. It should be required reading everywhere. This planet our Earth, is all we have. If we continue to abuse it, rape it, torture it and treat it like we have a right to misuse it, it will one day destroy us all. We as Humanity need to recognize that this Earth is our Life provider and without it and the biosphere circle which we need to become part of again, we will not survive and more importantly; Life spread among all living organisms is our moral ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
My tree-hugging, vegetarian, activist heart fell in love with this book. The first half covers animal intelligence an how animal rights have evolved around the world to give them the freedom to live without being tortured in their natural habitats, or if domesticated to be cared for adequately. The second half discusses the evolution of laws regarding protecting, preserving and restoring, land, air and water. There was a large focus on the influence of indigenous peoples' Mother Earth/Gaia/Mana ...more
Carrie Jensen
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
The premise of this book and the logical arguments of why nature deserves legal rights are excellent. I particularly agree with the idea that if corporations are given legal rights, there is no reason natural resources shouldn't be given the same standing - both aren't actual people.

My only issue with the book is that it seems to revere indigenous cultures relationship with nature and portray them as ideal. While some indigenous cultures do have a deeper appreciation for their place in nature,
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a really interesting read and a fairly optimistic one, as far as books on the state of the environment go. Boyd walks you through many different examples of cases exploring the rights of individual animals, whole species, landforms like rivers, and entire ecosystems. It's fairly easy reading even for those who don't know a lot about our legal system (such as myself), although I did find it dragged by the time I got to the last third or so. Highly recommended to introduce this amazing co ...more
Michelle Bizzell
A very interesting way of thinking about how humans and the natural world interact.
Carla Villar
Mar 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Why are corporations legal persons when trees or orcas are not? Is a change coming? This book offers hope that the answer may be yes.
Samantha Polizzi
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a knowledgable book on the current state of the environmental legislature around the world.
Dec 20, 2019 rated it liked it
The ideas are interesting and important, but i didnt find it brought much new into light.
Brock Wilson
Jun 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting ideas. Well written in some places. Very poorly written in others.
Rachel Pressdee
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Purchased for research on Earth Jurisprudence. Loved every word. Thank you David Boyd
Jul 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Really great compilation of conservation. Successes and laws around the entire world. Highly recommend for anyone who works or is interested in this field of work.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book is about everything from whether nature should have rights to how people have used the law to protect nature. It's a really absorbing and accessible read (it's written for regular folk, not lawyers). Anyone with an interest in the environment or the protection of plants and animals would likely enjoy this. It's an easy read with lots of good content.
Kelsey Barklund
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Very factual about the history of land and animal rights.
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David R. Boyd is an environmental lawyer, professor, and advocate for recognition of the right to live in a healthy environment. Boyd is the award-winning author of seven books and more than 100 articles and currently co-chairs Vancouver’s Greenest City initiative with Mayor Gregor Robertson. He lives on Pender Island, B.C. For more information, visit

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