For the first time, a river in the Canadian province of Quebec has been granted the designation of a “legal person” by the city council.
This initiative is part of a global movement – particularly active in New Zealand, the United States, and Ecuador – to recognize the rights of Nature.
The Magpie River, (Muteshekau-shipu in the Innu language) which flows for a stretch of 136 miles in the Cote Nord region, was in February, granted the special designation by the Innu Council of Ekuanitshit. The river has been at the heart of the region’s Innu community, which backed the move highlighting that it has given them an additional tool to protect the water body.
The council has bestowed the river with nine rights which include the right to flow, the right to continue its natural evolution, the right to maintain its biodiversity, to fulfill its essential functions amongst others, right to regenerate amongst others. The river's protection has received regional consensus, but the plan to declare the river a protected area has been thwarted for years by state-owned Hydro-Québec, due to the waterway's hydroelectric potential, it already has one hydroelectric dam on it. The indigenous peoples had been concerned that the river would be further exploited for its resources. Al Jazeera reported that the river authority said it had no plans to further develop the waterway.
The worldwide organization “Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature” tweeted that this was another win for the expanding movement, dedicated to respecting and defending the rights of nature.[ earth ] [ environmentalism ] [ rivers ]