Home | About | Donate

Human Rights from the Ground Up

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/08/22/human-rights-ground

"Inviting people to think about what our cities and towns would look like if they were truly organized in ways that prioritized human rights over material wealth opens up paths to new ways of thinking about alternatives to capitalism." (from the article)

When you go to a tourist town, say Banff, or Lahaina or Waikiki, or Hyannis on Cape Cod, you see part of what people want when they are not working. They want to be able to walk to the local store, or restaurant, or attraction.

It’s why I moved into an apartment some eighteen years ago, which was within spitting distance of all the amenities - several big grocery stores, library, parks and hills, medical and dental facilities, etc…

We gave up our car some thirteen years ago, and use public transportation. Now, in the summer, there is an inexpensive bus to Banff, and no need to pay Park fees. This trend could and probably will accelerate, and the more people that jump aboard, the sooner this will happen.

Most people are still trapped in the paradigm they were raised in of course.

Maybe lots of people are tired of this old paradigm ?

I like this article - its focus on the individual. Without strong and relatively independent individuals, what society is truly free ?

I couldn’t wait for the society I was born into to change - so I just took matters into my own hands.

PS: Just saw this - talk about timing !!

Ditch cars to meet climate change targets, say MPs

1 Like

Hi many summits:
I agree with you. It seems pretty simple to focus on a direction, but I think it takes a step back and ask…do these ideas focus on being workable for —OF, the People, BY the People, and For the People. I think if things were looked at within the format of the OF, By, and For—that good decisions would be made much more easily. : )

You know, we might have to add to that Of, By, & For - The People ++ The Environment.

If we are part of the natural world, then Rights for The Environment would naturally extend to us.

Of, By & For The People & The Environment - maybe a new Anthropcene way of looking at things ?

Social & Environmental Justice, enshrined perhaps first at the United Nations, who could add it to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ?

Unlike many, I am a supporter of the UN, even though it is in many ways seen as toothless.

It is not - it is however symbolic - even a touch idealistic ~

It’s lack of military muscle gives it a unique platform - one I appreciate.

Surely ‘social justice’ has no meaning if there is no habitable environment for human beings. The Environment is the branch we are all sitting on - isn’t it ?

PS: Have you ever read Christopher Stone’s legal argument from 1972 -


PS: A one paragraph summary - from the linked legal argument:

" I am quite seriously proposing that we give legal rights to forests, oceans, rivers and other so-called “natural objects” in the environment - indeed, to the natural environment as a whole."

1 Like

Hi manysummits:
That is a wonderful idea—and the plan makes perfect sense! I will now have to find and read Christoper Stone! : )
He makes perfect sense, especially with trees, as many people have fallen in love with trees and their beauty and their protection, and the foods they offer. They do seem like magical beings. I always wondered when I was a little girl if roots were the trees brains, and they lived upside down keeping an eye on both people and the planet at the same time : ) Natural objects, forests, oceans, rivers, and deserts too----- that’s wonderful, because without them, we would actually be living on Mars------a Mars who was probably very Earth like----- once upon a time----and a person does wonder------without NATURE , Earth would be Mars!

The link I provided has in pdf form the complete legal argument, first presented in 1972. He has since written more, and will be easy to find. But I’ve never seen the power of that first essay topped.

Since you mention NATURE - there is an interesting book written by Andrea Wulf recently. It is not about rights for the environment, but rather the beginnings of our modern concept of NATURE, which the author thinks can be attributed to one very strange and complex man, Alexander von Humboldt.

I don’t want to burden you or anyone else with too much reading, but maybe you would find this one right up your alley ?

The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World

It does appear from all relevant research that Mars was once habitable, very early in its and the Solar System’s history. Being a geologist and an outdoorsman, one look at the stunning images returned by our robot emissaries on Mars over the last decade or two immediately show us a place both familiar and alien, at one and the same time.

Hi manysummits and thank you!
I will be moving in 2 days and the internet situation will be a bit weird for a while as the one I have is not where I am moving. My cousin is picking me up and off we go to a new state, with better air than California. Besides, I love the state motto:" She flies with her own wings," and that is a pretty great motto! : )

Best of luck on your move to Oregon star ~

1 Like

Hi many summits,
I knew I could say the motto and people would know! I love that motto. Thanks for sharing it! : )