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When nature is given its own rights

A wildfire in Bolivia, 2019 | JUAN KARITA/AP/KEYSTONE

Various South American nations, based on the philosophy of indigenous peoples, have accorded nature its own rights. But how useful is that? In the Amazon region, the fires have galvanised public opinion and have shown how significant it would be if there were more effective protection for the most important ecosystem on Earth. A new approach to this is to recognize the rights of nature, which have in fact already been codified by various countries in the region.

Why it matters. The forest fires in the Amazon region are slowly retreating, but the loss is gigantic. In August, Nasa satellite imagery showed that there were still over 86,000 blazes in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. In Brazil alone, reports indicate that the loss of rainforests has increased nearly three-fold, from 723 km² in last year to 2092 km².

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