Endgame Strategies

Pachamama

Ecuador provides the world with a bold new legal framework for protecting the biosphere.
Pachamama Rights for nature

Last September Ecuador approved a constitutional amendment that protects the rights of Pachamama, Mother Earth. By affirming the rights of nature, “where life is reproduced and exists,” Ecuador is offering the world a way out of one of the blindest of the many blind alleys Western thinking has created.

As the first nation to officially recognize rights for anything other than humans, Ecuador is setting a monumental precedent in the struggle to protect the world’s ecosystems. The constitution compels the state to protect and restore Pachamama and endows every citizen with the right to demand that she be honored.

In passing this amendment, Ecuador is calling on the developed world to abandon its misguided assumption that it deserves a free pass from Pachamama (Gaia, Mother Nature or the biosphere if you prefer). Ecuador has also reminded us of this fundamental truth: the earth came before us and will very likely outlast us.

This tiny nation has achieved something that no Western nation has. It has shown us, in cogent terms fully compatible with Western legal platforms, how to reorganize our political institutions in a way that just may give civilization a fighting chance.

We’ve yet to see whether words are able to secure the Amazon from oil drills or the Galapagos from sightseers. The average lifespan of an Ecuadorian constitution is about a decade. But any setbacks will be temporary. If this particular legal maneuver doesn’t take root, another will be attempted. In the end, nature’s rights will be legally and permanently affirmed. The idea will take hold because it is true and it is necessary.

With time it will begin to sink in to our collective Western superego that our inherent superiority is a myth. This legal breath of fresh air has blown in from a place with few cities – a place that is home to both indigenous and mestizo peoples. A place that is bold enough to step outside the Western-made order and define its own priorities. Now that we’ve almost run out of world to wreck, it’s time to follow Ecuador’s lead.

In the 19th century, a Westerner visiting the Galapagos Islands unlocked the secrets of evolution and shattered humanity’s homocentric worldview (although many still cling to it). Charles Darwin revealed that the iron rule of natural selection is “adapt or die.” Now, nearly two centuries later, Ecuador has introduced a way for us to evolve: a viable, practical means by which to honor the rights of the earth. Let’s follow the people of Ecuador into this new evolution. Let’s learn from Pachamama.

31 comments on the article “Pachamama”

Displaying 21 - 30 of 31

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Mud Baby

In 2008, Equador's estimated birth rate 2008 was 21.54 births/1,000 population, and its death rate was 4.21/1,000. It is disingenuous for Equadorans to claim to care about mother earth while at the same time maintaining one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Their demographic situation is a recipe for environmental tragedy.

Mud Baby

In 2008, Equador's estimated birth rate 2008 was 21.54 births/1,000 population, and its death rate was 4.21/1,000. It is disingenuous for Equadorans to claim to care about mother earth while at the same time maintaining one of the highest population growth rates in the world. Their demographic situation is a recipe for environmental tragedy.

Anonymous

We NEED to establish laws to protect Pachamama. Way to go Ecuador! Somebody has to get the ball rolling. Hopefully it will spread to the rest of the world sooner than later so we can move on to establishing laws to protect Outer Space. The amount of garbage out there already is disturbing.

Anonymous

We NEED to establish laws to protect Pachamama. Way to go Ecuador! Somebody has to get the ball rolling. Hopefully it will spread to the rest of the world sooner than later so we can move on to establishing laws to protect Outer Space. The amount of garbage out there already is disturbing.

Anonymous

For more information on Ecuador's Constitution, see: http://www.asambleaconstituyente.gov.ec/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=78&Itemid=109 In spanish, it's the oficial site of the new constitution.

Anonymous

For more information on Ecuador's Constitution, see: http://www.asambleaconstituyente.gov.ec/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=78&Itemid=109 In spanish, it's the oficial site of the new constitution.

Honey Badger

I commend Ecuador for this and hope it lasts. However, I take exception to the notion that Ecuador stepped "Outside western thinking". The legal framework is a "western" invention par excellence - the idea of a written document which confers basic rights and regulates human interactions came to it's fullest development in the Western intellectual tradition. It was the Romans first, then the English who codified rights to such an extent. Moreover, by framing this idea in "anti-Western" terms, you are not doing yourself a favor. Try and persuade right-wing western fundamentalists, who claim "The West" holds morally superior ground to any other culture (mostly Islam), with this tone of voice. it won't work, because you're alienating them from the start. The unfortunate thing is, those right wing western ideologues are the ones who are pushing the buttons in the world economy. The Christian right in the US is pulling the strings, with Obama as one single, probably only exception to the collective idiocy of that country. But that;s how it is - and you can't get them to cooperate with this tone of voice.

Honey Badger

I commend Ecuador for this and hope it lasts. However, I take exception to the notion that Ecuador stepped "Outside western thinking". The legal framework is a "western" invention par excellence - the idea of a written document which confers basic rights and regulates human interactions came to it's fullest development in the Western intellectual tradition. It was the Romans first, then the English who codified rights to such an extent. Moreover, by framing this idea in "anti-Western" terms, you are not doing yourself a favor. Try and persuade right-wing western fundamentalists, who claim "The West" holds morally superior ground to any other culture (mostly Islam), with this tone of voice. it won't work, because you're alienating them from the start. The unfortunate thing is, those right wing western ideologues are the ones who are pushing the buttons in the world economy. The Christian right in the US is pulling the strings, with Obama as one single, probably only exception to the collective idiocy of that country. But that;s how it is - and you can't get them to cooperate with this tone of voice.

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