In 2006, a local government council in Pennsylvania concerned about sewage sludge dumping enacted the Western legal system’s first formal “rights of nature” instrument. Today, numerous countries have laws recognizing specific rights or even legal personhood for nature. As legal expert Alice Bleby explains, this new perspective arises from a wide range of contexts and plays out in many different ways.
"Gathered at a cemetery on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, friends and relatives paid their final respects on Sunday to British journalist Dom Phillips, killed in the Brazilian Amazon while researching for a book about how to save the world’s largest rainforest."
"Gustavo Petro, Colombia’s first elected leftist president, will take office in August with ambitious proposals to halt the record-high rates of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. Petro has promised to limit agribusiness expansion into the forest, and create reserves where Indigenous communities and others are allowed to harvest rubber, acai and other non-timber forest products."
"Brazil's former president and front-runner in October elections, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, would seek "net zero deforestation" in the country if elected, a political plan published Tuesday said."
"The family of a missing journalist says they have been told by Brazilian authorities that two bodies have been found tied to a tree in the Amazon rainforest. The report came more than a week after the journalist and a Brazilian government official went missing."
"Search teams found a backpack, laptop and other personal items that belonged to Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and freelance British journalist Dom Phillips, who went missing in a remote area of Brazil’s Amazon a week ago, Federal Police said Sunday night."
The Society of Environmental Journalists joins journalism organizations and many other individuals and groups in calling for Brazilian authorities to redouble their search for British freelance journalist Dom Phillips (pictured) and Brazilian Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira, with whom Phillips was traveling on an assignment.
- "Dom Phillips' Alleged Murder Highlights Dangers of Environmental Journalism," NBC News, June 19, 2022.
- "Brazil Police Identify Five More People Linked to Killings of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira," The Guardian, June 19, 2022.
A recent study of global cropland expansion highlights several trends that are ripe with environmental news stories. One finding: New farm fields have taken over an area the size of Texas and California combined since the start of the century, an expansion primarily affecting biodiversity-rich natural ecosystems, with Africa leading the cropland boom. Freelancer Gabriel Popkin explores the latest data and the reporting possibilities.
Environmental writer Allison Cobb, in “Plastic: An Autobiography,” tells the story of the ubiquitous material through a series of interwoven narratives that range from her own experiences with it (including a discarded plastic car bumper), to the corporate origins of its spread and the way it’s now dangerously carpeting nature and damaging human communities. Contributor Nano Riley has a review in our new BookShelf.