Bolivia and the Law of Mother Earth

Note if this entry seems familiar you may have read it on my former blog on another blog platform. I unfortunately irretrievably deleted this blog by mistake and am attempting to upload entires that I had backed up.

“Mother Earth is the living dynamic system made up of the indivisible community of all living systems and living beings, interrelated, interdependent and complementary, which share a common destiny. Mother Earth is considered sacred; it feeds and is a home that contains, sustains and reproduces all living things, ecosystems, biodiversity, societies and the individuals that compose them.” –

Bolivia’s Framework Law for Mother Earth and Holistic Development to Live Well, October 2012

So often we can get bogged down in all the awfulness of our world, man’s inhumanity to man and the other creatures with whom he shares this planet, his destructive and wonton exploitation of the environment and it’s creatures in the name of greed and power. For those of us who care about this world and its inhabitants it can at times appear as though there’s no justice, no compassion, no hope, just the continual round of corporate greed, corrupt governments and no one who gives a dam.

So its time for some good news.

October 15th 2012 was an historic moment which sadly passed most of us by as the mainstream media did not consider the following momentous legislation as news worthy.

The great news is that Bolivia has enacted a new law enshrining the legal rights of nature which defines the earth as living system with rights. Moreover the new law in general requires the cessation of practices that damage the environment.

The “Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development for Living Well,” promulgated by President Evo Morales on October 15 2012, establishes eleven rights of Mother Earth, including the right to life, biodiversity, pure water, clean air, and freedom from genetic modification and contamination.

This revolutionary rethinking concerning our relationship with the earth was drafted by Bolivia’s main social movements in 2010.

Here is the 2010 Proposal For A Law of Mother Earth

Plurinational State of Bolivia in English

Also in 2010 President Morales signed an abbreviated version of the document, called the Law of the Rights of Mother Earth.

A consensus translation of the Law of Mother Earth has appeared on a number of websites and blogs:

In 2012 a much wider reaching text named the Framework Law for Mother Earth and Integrated Development to Live Well is now law.

Read more for a good over all summary of this revolutionary enactment:

You might ask yourself can the earth have rights? Well if corporations can have rights as granted to them by courts in the USA than indeed the earth can have rights and moreover she deserves them more than the greedy exploitative corporations that wreak environmental havoc and trample over human and animal rights.

Below is the enactment in Spanish:

Hopefully in time there will be an English translation. In the meantime The above drafts and other information provide a good background as to the nature of this historic legislation.

This is indeed a novel approach to tackling the problems that face our environment. I sincerely hope it will it provide a new tool for those who fight to save our world from destruction and unimpeded exploitation.

Is such a “radical” idea even possible.

Here some of the aspects of the law of mother earth that I personally consider to be important

“Article 2. (First Principles). The First Principles which govern the current law, and with which compliance is an obligation, are:

5. No Commercialization. That life systems cannot be commercialized, nor the processes that sustain them, nor form part of the private inheritance of anyone.

Article 8. (Obligations of the Multi-national State) The Multi-national State, at all its levels and all its territories, and across all its institutions and authorities, has the following obligations:

3. Develop policies to defend Mother Earth, in the environment of multi-national and international over-exploitation of components, against the commercialization of living systems or the processes that sustain them, and of the structural causes of Global Climate Change and its effects.

6. Promote peace and the elimination of all nuclear, chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction.

Article 9. (Duties of the Persons) It is the duty of public or private natural and juridical persons:

2. To promote harmony on Mother Earth and in all its relationships with the rest of the human communities and natural living systems.”

Please read the entire Legislative Assembly of the Multi-National State of Bolivia DECREE Law of Rights of Mother Earth linked above.

Will other governments follow Bolivia’s example?

Sadly I rather doubt it what with  the UK government regretting their re-election promises to be the greenest party ever and the USA making attempts at exploiting Alaska for oil, fracking, laying pipe-lines, and one of Americas’ worse environment crimes blowing the tops off mountains, a similar enactment is unlikely:

“Every day, across Appalachia, the coal industry literally blows the tops off the mountains: clear-cutting forests, wiping out natural habitats and poisoning rivers and drinking water. Not only are these mountains lost forever, but the heritage and the health of families across the region are being sacrificed. For a mere 7 percent of the nation’s coal, the tradeoff does not add up.”

Read more: Mountaintop Removal: An American Tragedy | Rainforest Action Network

The above is just a few examples of the seemingly never ending agenda of environmental destruction.

The positivity of the law of mother Earth cannot be denied, one of the most welcome of which is the ideology of  “living well” one aspect of which is presented as an abandonment of the capitalist system, which regards the planet as a commodity, in favour of sustainability and a harmonious relationship with Mother Earth.

Though I have to ask: Does the The “Law of Mother Earth and Integral Development for Living Well,” include the rights of animals to be left to live according to their natures or will the exploitation of animals in Bolivia continue such as the rearing of and consumption of animals for food?

I rather suspect that this act will take a while to implement but it is a start at least, a valiant attempt to call a halt to the wonton destruction of the earth and its inhabitants.

Read more:

All said and done it is a positive step forward indeed. As radical and urgent reforms are needed involving an end to the insatiable and unbridled corporate greed that is destroying the lives of us all and threatens future generations and our very existence.

It is a pity that other countries do not follow Bolivia’s example. Here in the UK like so many rich western countries all there is now is greed and exploitation of people and the environment, making the UK not a nice place to live any more.


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