Here’s How Community Rights Could Help Save the Great Lakes

“We the people are following laws written by corporations for their benefit. It’s greed,” says O’Dell.

“They’re using our communities as resource colonies,” she added.

https://www.alternet.org/local-peace-economy/can-community-rights-save-great-lakes

Local Peace Economy

Here’s How Community Rights Could Help Save the Great Lakes

Organizers in Toledo work to save their drinking water.

Imagine for a moment, putting the rights of nature into public policy: Your town charter, your state constitution, or even federal law.

Imagine, for a moment, giving the Great Lakes—the world’s largest source of fresh water—the right to exist and evolve naturally, to be free from pollutants that could contaminate and harm the lives that rely on it.

Imagine that we, as Americans, have the right to lawfully stop anything that violated the rights of the Great Lakes. That means the right to stop anything that would cause harm to the ecosystem.

That ecosystem provides tens of millions of people with the fresh water they use to drink, bathe, cook, and farm.

The idea is called community rights, and it’s popping up around the world and across the country, and it is meant to stop anything causing an adverse effect on the ecosystem.

Ecuador has it enshrined in their constitution. Here in the U.S., when the community can see the harm being caused by, for example, fracking, the community can say, “this is harmful, and the polluting company doesn’t have the right to do that.” Pittsburgh did just that.

A company might have a permit to allow them to emit, dump, or otherwise pollute, but with community rights, the community has the right to protect themselves from legalized harm.

And it’s not just fracking waste that it can stop. Dumping from farms, oil drilling, and factories too—basically anything causing an adverse effect on the ecosystem and life, the community can say, “this is harmful, and they don’t have the right to do that.”

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