Rights for Rivers

New Zealand has just granted legal personhood to a river.
In a world-first a New Zealand river has been granted the same legal rights as a human being....

On Wednesday, hundreds of tribal representatives wept with joy when their bid to have their kin awarded legal status as a living entity was passed into law.

“The reason we have taken this approach is because we consider the river an ancestor and always have,” said Gerrard Albert, the lead negotiator for the Whanganui iwi [tribe].

“We have fought to find an approximation in law so that all others can understand that from our perspective treating the river as a living entity is the correct way to approach it, as in indivisible whole, instead of the traditional model for the last 100 years of treating it from a perspective of ownership and management.”

The new status of the river means if someone abused or harmed it the law now sees no differentiation between harming the tribe or harming the river because they are one and the same.
Unborn children in New Zealand do not enjoy legal personhood, but rivers do. Got it.

UPDATE: A piece from my cousin, who is a pro-life doctor, on why unborn children might plausibly be extended legal personhood.


Anonymous said...

Cult precedes culture. Two links discussing Cult Preceeds Culture.



T.S. Eliot liked to argue that “no culture has appeared or developed except together with a religion.”
Nor can a culture survive or develop for long without one.

"Cult" as in Mohmadism or Christianity is the base that a culture is built on, that is why it proceed it.

What kind of "cult" do we have when a river is considered a person but a preborn child is not?


Grim said...

Well, in this case, it's the Maori. They're mostly Christians, but of course they have a pre-Christian backstory that doubtless continues to set many cultural assumptions. My guess is that this comes from the old pagan pre-Christian culture, in much the way that Northern European versions of Christianity all feature Yule celebrations that look a lot like the heathen Yule in many key respects.