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Panama is the latest country to recognize the legal rights of nature, giving environmentalists a new tool to fight ecological harm.

President ​​Laurentino Cortizo signed a legislation that defines nature as “a unique, indivisible and self-regulating community of living beings, elements and ecosystems interrelated to each other that sustains, contains and reproduces all beings.”

The legislation includes six paragraphs of rights extended to nature, including the “right to exist, persist and regenerate its life cycles,” the “right to conserve its biodiversity,” and the “right to be restored after being affected directly or indirectly by any human activity.”

The legislation also imposes new obligations on Panama’s government, including a requirement that its plans, policies and programs respect the rights of nature. It instructs the government to develop manufacturing processes and energy policies that safeguard ecosystems, and it requires the government to promote the rights of nature as part of its foreign policy.

The nation joins a host of other countries in embracing a legal movement that gives land, trees, rivers, coral reefs and mountains unique legal rights, similar to humans, corporations and governments.

Source: Inside Climate News