AMETELVEEN GroenLinks adviser Stieneke Kruijer suggests inviting the Amstelveners to write a plea in De Poel’s interest. This should be done under the heading ‘What does De Poel really want? According to her, the entries will then become required reading for policymakers and politicians in Amstelveen. With his suggestion, Kruijer taps into the discussion that environmental activists, lawyers, and philosophers have had for some time about the legal right to so-called non-human things. This would give nature a voice to protect itself.
“As a board member of GroenLinks, I am intrigued by these kinds of innovative ideas by the possibilities and consequences for Amstelveen,” says Stieneke Kruijer in an opinion piece. “Suppose we turn the Amstel River into a legal person. Which then represents the rights of the river. Will it be a great common project for the community of Nes? And what about De Poel’s rights and the recreational plans for the north shore of the pond? What does De Poel think of these plans if it were a legal person?
His idea of inviting the Amstelveners to advocate in the interest of De Poel is based on a competition organized by the Professional School of Writers of Groningen to write a story from a non-human perspective on the impact of the disaster. containers in 2019 on the North Sea.
HUMAN PART OF THE WHOLE The discussion of the law of things has been going on for some time. According to the French science philosopher Bruno Latour, winner of the Spinoza Prize in November, we live in a time when we must no longer see ourselves as exceptional, but as part of a whole. Gone are the days when man could feel superior to the rest of nature and use it unscrupulously for economic purposes. The supposed stewardship of man in the Christian tradition, which places man above nature, is no longer tenable. Gone are the pedestals that we created ourselves. Because man and nature cannot be considered separate from each other, but are influenced by each other and therefore are in constant contact with each other. If things that are not human are so important, then we should also give a voice to these things in the political debate and in our constitutional state, ”quotes the philosopher of science in her opinion piece, Stieneke Kruijer.
A FASCINATING DEVELOPMENT Kruijer points out that people can take legal action if a piece of land or a pond is polluted and they suffer damage as a result. “But in our legal system, nature itself has no status and is declared inadmissible by the court. Suppose that changes, that we give non-human things themselves inalienable rights, that would be a fascinating legal development.
THE NORTH SEA In some parts of the world, nature already has a legal status to protect itself. Laura Burgers gave a talk on this subject at Spui25 on the occasion of the Spinoza Prize giving to Latour. On August 5, 2014, the Whanganui in New Zealand became the first river in the world to be incorporated. In Colombia, the Atrato River has been declared a legal person by the court. In the Netherlands, a collective of philosophers, artists, scientists and policy makers, united in the North Sea Embassy, is studying whether the North Sea can be given its own status.
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