Granting rights of nature to the ocean and its inhabitants entails recognizing their entitlement to maintain the integrity and functionality of natural systems and processes, safeguard biodiversity, and ensure a pollution-free environment.
This approach transforms the ocean and its aquatic life into entities with inherent rights, deserving of protection and well-being in their own right
According to the Earth Law Framework for Marine Protected Areas, Ocean should have the following rights:
• To life: The right to maintain the integrity of living systems and natural processes that sustain the ocean and Earth as a whole, and capacities and conditions for regeneration.
• To health and well-being: The right to live free from torture or cruel treatment by human beings and to exist in its natural state and habitat. The right to be free from contamination, pollution (including noise and plastic) and toxic or radioactive waste.
• To the diversity of life: The ocean has the right to biodiversity and to evolve. It is the right to the differentiation and variety of beings that make up the ocean, without them being genetically altered or structurally modified in an artificial way.
• To water: The right to preserve the functionality of the water cycle, protection from , maintain ocean temperature and chemical composition (carbon dioxide proportions) to maintain ocean integrity or vital and healthy functioning.
• To clean air: The right to preserve the quality and composition of air, and the functionality of the carbon cycle
• To equilibrium: The right to maintenance or restoration of the interrelationship, interdependence, complementarity and functionality of the components of the ecosystem
• To restoration: The right to timely and full restoration of impacts by direct or indirect human activities.
• To representation: The right to recognition everywhere before the law and before any decisions or activities, which may impact the ocean and its rights.
Both the Rights of Nature and the Rights of the Ocean challenge traditional legal frameworks that treat nature as property and call for a paradigm shift towards a more holistic and sustainable approach to environmental protection. By acknowledging the rights of the ocean, we can contribute to the preservation of this vital resource and promote a harmonious relationship between human activities and the natural world.
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