1st Edition

Rights of Nature in Europe Encounters and Visions

    396 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book addresses the recognition of the Rights of Nature (RoN) in Europe, examining their conceptualisation and implementation. RoN refers to a diverse set of legal developments that seek to redefine Nature's status within the law, gradually emerging as a novel template for environmental protection. Countries like Ecuador and New Zealand, each with distinct histories and ways of dwelling in the world, have pioneered a new era in environmental governance by legally acknowledging rights or personhood for nature, ecosystems, and more-than-human populations.

    In recent years, Europe has witnessed growing interest in RoN, with academic, legislative, and political initiatives gaining momentum. A significant development is the September 2022 passage of a law in the Spanish Parliament, granting legal personhood and rights to the Mar Menor, a saltwater lagoon severely affected by environmental degradation.

    Given the diversity in interpretations and articulations of ‘Rights of Nature’, this edited volume argues that their arrival in Europe fosters different kinds of interactions across distinct areas of law, knowledge, practices, and societal domains. The book employs a multidisciplinary approach, exploring these interactions in law and policy, anthropology, Indigenous worldviews and jurisprudence, philosophy, spiritual traditions, critical theory, animal communication, psychology, and social work.

    This book is tailored for scholars in law, political science, environmental studies, anthropology and cultural studies; as well as legal practitioners, NGOs, activists and policy-makers interested in ecology and environmental protection.

    Chapter 1. Arrival of rights of Nature in Europe
    Jenny García Ruales, Katarina Hovden, Helen Kopnina, Colin D. Robertson and Hendrik Schoukens

     Part I Landing and grounding

     Chapter 2. A Well-braided (Knowledge) Braid: Lessons learned from the Kawsak Sacha and the Forest Beings to Europe
    Jenny García Ruales, Yaku Viteri Gualinga

     Chapter 3. ‘Caring for Nature’: Exploring the concepts of stewardship in European philosophies, spiritual traditions, and laws
    Jérémie Gilbert, Camilla Brattland, Sophie de Maat, Matthias Kramm, Alessandro Pelizzon

     Chapter 4. Ecodemocracy in the Wild: If existing democracies were to operationalize ecocentrism and animal ethics in policy-making, what would rewilding look like?
    Helen Kopnina, Simon Leadbeater, Paul Cryer, Anja Heister, Tamara Lewis)

     Chapter 5. An Ecological Citizenship’s Triumph: From The Popular Legislative Initiative To The Rights Granted For The Mar Menor
    Teresa Vicente Giménez, Eduardo Salazar Ortuño 

    Part II. Attuning to European legal landscapes

    Chapter 6. From Extractivism to The Rights of Nature
    Rana Göksu and Katarina Hovden

     Chapter 7. Rights of Nature in EU Law: a Linguistic Approach
    Colin D. Robertson

     Chapter 8. Do Wolves Own Property in the EU? On John Locke, the EU Habitats Directive and Animal Property Rights
    Hendrik Schoukens

     Chapter 9. Animal Rights under the European Convention on Human Rights
    Elien Verniers

     Chapter 10. Finding a path to Europe for the Rights of Nature
    Elena Ewering, Andreas Gutmann and Tore Vetter

     Part III. Encounters with the rights of Nature

    Chapter 11. Wild Animals Speak: Implications for Nature Rights
    Kimberley J. Graham 

    Chapter 12. Strangers in paradise: the challenge of invasive alien species to (the implementation of) Earth jurisprudence in Europe
    Hendrik Schoukens and Eva Bernet Kempers

    Chapter 13. Ecological restoration and the rights of nature in the EU: natural twins or a Pandora’s box?
    Hendrik Schoukens and An Cliquet

    Chapter 14. Rights of Nature from a historical-economic perspective and the opportunity for a fundamental reorientation of the societal relationship to nature
    Alessio Thomasberger and Lena Hennes

    Part IV. Visions for the rights of Nature

    Chapter 15. Towards an EU Fundamental Charter for the Rights of Nature: Integrating Nature, People, Economy
    Silvia Bagni, Mumta Ito and Massimiliano Montini,

    Chapter 16. Ecocide law as a transformative legal leverage point
    Pella Thiel and Valérie Cabanes

    Chapter 17. Rights of Nature as an Ecopsychological Praxis
    Henrik Hallgren and Hans Landeström

    Chapter 18. Eco-social work and the healing and transformative powers of Nature: towards an eco-centric practice
    Anette Lytzen and Cathy Richardson Kineweskwêw


    Jenny García Ruales is an Amazonian anthropologist, currently pursuing her PhD at the Philipps University of Marburg and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Germany.

    Katarina Hovden is a PhD candidate in Law at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark

    Helen Kopnina is Professor and Researcher in Biodiversity and Business at Northumbria University, UK.

    Colin D. Robertson is a Scottish lawyer and member of the Law Society of Scotland, UK.

    Hendrik Schoukens is Professor of Environmental Law at Ghent University and lawyer at the bar of Brussels, Belgium.