Ecuador approves new constitution
granting inalienable rights to natureEcuador approved a new constitution this weekend that, among other things, grants inalienable rights to nature, the first such inclusion in a nation's constitution, according to Ecuadorian officials. "Nature ... where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain, and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions, and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community, or nationality will be able to demand the recognition of rights for nature before the public bodies," the document says. The specific mention of evolution isn't accidental; besides being an activity nature arguably likes to do anyway, evolution as we know it has close ties to Ecuador's territory of the Galapagos Islands, where Charles Darwin formed his famous theory. Ecuador's constitution grants nature the right to "integral restoration" and says that the state "will promote respect toward all the elements that form an ecosystem" and that the state "will apply precaution and restriction measures in all the activities that can lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of the ecosystems, or the permanent alteration of the natural cycles."