River with Standing

In a framework agreement signed between the Crown and the Whanganui River, New Zealand’s third largest river will be recognized as a person when it comes to the law, much the way a company is. “In one of New Zealand’s longest running court cases, the iwi won for the river the status of an integrated, living whole, Te Awa Tupua, with rights and interest,” Sandra Postel of National Geographic’s Freshwater Initiative in Water writes. “In 1972 legal scholar Christopher Stone argued in his famous essay, ‘Should Trees Have Standing?’, that rivers and trees and other “objects” of nature do have rights, and these should be protected by granting legal standing to guardians of these voiceless entities of nature, much as the rights of children are protected by legal guardians designated for this purpose.”

Tags: legal voice  National Geographic  river  Whanganui River