Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Rights of Mother Nature

                  Breaking news: Van Jones, former Obama administration "green jobs czar," is helping to push for a new, global architecture of environmental law that would give Mother Nature the same rights status as humans.
                  Thank God! Now she’ll be able to get out there and vote. (Is she a Democrat or a Republican? Maybe she’s Independent.) Of course if she’s a lesbian she’ll only be able to get married in a handful of states, but she will be able to worship wherever she chooses. (My guess is she’s a big ole Druid...) And of course, like all the rest of us, she has a “right” to healthcare and a minimum wage.
                  Okay, joking aside... really? When real human rights are in such short supply in so many places around the world?
                  For example, Jones’ new home also shares some of its goals with a few of the more, shall we say, radical elements at the United Nations, particularly Ecuador and Bolivia, both of which have close ties to Hugo Chavez.
                  And speaking of rights, the UN is also the body whose Human Rights Council is likely to include Syria. “Massacring dozens of its own citizens one day – elected to the United Nations’ top human rights group the next? That’s the trajectory Syria is on, meaning that the once-dependably stable but now-bloodied domain of President Bashar al-Assad could join the United States and 45 other countries on the UN Human Rights Council.” (Christian Science Monitor, April 26) “Other countries” like Uganda which, as Wikipedia elegantly puts it, “continues to experience difficulty in advancing respect for human rights in matters concerning torture, child labor and liberties”; and Zambia whose human rights record has suffered, according to the State Department, because of “problems” like “unlawful killing, torture, beatings...and trafficking in persons.” Oh, and of course there are China (a regular human rights supernova) and Cuba, so free and easy that people have died trying to get the hell off the island. On the – say it with me – Human Rights Council!
                  Jones is on the board of something called the Pachamama Alliance, based in San Francisco, natch, which intends to establish enforceable global laws for the Rights of Nature. Global. Worldwide. I don’t know if these people have read a newspaper lately, or watched the news, but it’s hard enough to find three countries that can agree on anything at all. Yet the expectation is that the citizens of all the nations on the globe will agree on this! (Well, maybe not all the citizens of the world: according to the Pachamama website the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is working to build a movement of millions of educated and inspired individuals...” Presumably they know that not-so-educated, less inspired individuals everywhere will see all this for the huge crock o’ shit it is.)
                  Yet I’m sure millions of educated, inspired individuals will take it all very seriously indeed, inspired as it – and so much recent legislation -- seems to be by emotion and a desire to appear caring and sensitive.
                  Of course, anyone who thinks all these Rights of Nature will come cheap have another thing coming. There will be rules and regulations and sanctions and taxes and tariffs and a general, gradual return to the Stone Age; accompanied by what Pachamama and its supporters, I promise you, will undoubtedly hail (with environmentally friendly fireworks, no doubt) as the decline of capitalism.
                   There are children in this world who have had to watch as their mothers were raped and murdered before their eyes. There are women in this world whose genitals are routinely mutilated and who are beaten, abused and even killed if they “dishonor” their husbands and families. There are countries in the world where they will kill you just for looking gay.
                   Like those whose sense of entitlement leads them to believe that whatever they want they have a “right” to, anyone who talks seriously about Mother Nature and her “rights” trivializes the very meaning of the word.

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