The Philosophical and Legal Implications of Granting Ecosystems Legal Personhood
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Nature, to human beings, has been something to extract resources from. However, this purely economic approach to environmental policy has caused the best interests of nature to take a back seat to human gratification. Some legal systems (such as India, New Zealand, and Ohio) have flirted with an approach that has failed to be seriously considered by many other countries. This approach grants ecosystems (forests, rivers, lakes, etc…) legal personhood. This method transforms what was previously solely property into both property and individual legal entities, meaning that these pieces of the environment now have the rights and powers of a legal person. They can sue on their own behalf, have their own damages be recognized in a court of law, and have remedies run to the benefit of them alone. This project deals heavily with environmental ethics and environmental policy. I will be analyzing various popular arguments for and against ecosystems’ moral worth and legal rights, applying them to the concept of ecosystems as legal persons, and will also describe how an ecosystem with legal personality would behave in the legal system.
Nash, Eric William (2020). The Philosophical and Legal Implications of Granting Ecosystems Legal Personhood. Undergraduate Research Scholars Program. Available electronically from