A fundamental right

The-environmental values suzuki

The environment is so fundamental to our continued existence that it must transcend politics and become a central value of all members of society.

∼ David Suzuki, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature

Did you know that roughly 100 nations have environmental rights enshrined in their constitutions along with human rights?  This means that their highest law guarantees environmental rights such as clean water, clean air, safe food, and uncontaminated soil. Ironically, the nations that do not yet have such protection embedded in their laws include industrialized countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, China, Japan and New Zealand.

The Blue Dot movement, backed by the David Suzuki Foundation, is endeavouring to win support across Canada for enshrining environmental rights in our constitution.  Their strategy is to work from lower levels of government up.  In December, Toronto was the 100th city to sign a Blue Dot declaration enshrining citizen rights to clean air, safe water and food, a stable climate and a say in decisions that affect their well-being.  The end goal is a federal environmental bill of rights or a constitutional amendment.

Why is it so important to embed environmental rights in the constitution?  A constitution reflects the fundamental values of a society and is not easily changed. Constitutional rights to a healthy environment and stable climate will promote strong environmental protection laws that cannot be easily overturned. Such rights will empower the courts to make decisions that reinforce those laws.

Interested in reading more?  My best source was The Constitutional Right to a Healthy Environment, by David R. Boyd, Environment Magazine, July-August 2012.


Visit our quote hosts’ websites to read their writer musings for today, and links to other submissions

 SilverThreading  and RonovanWrites


26 thoughts on “A fundamental right

    1. Yes, ironically the number of nations that recognize environmental rights far outnumbers those that don’t. I wonder what % of the world ‘s population that represents though. I don’t believe that kind of stat is available.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Janice, I always enjoy your quotes on environmental concerns. I have a thread of these issues running through my novel. This quote especially speaks to me. Just like our bodies need to be healthy, so does our earth. As is usual, money always trumps environmental concerns. One day it will be too late, and we will have left nothing to those who come after us. A sad commentary, indeed. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Especially if they have been following your blog and your recent posts on Magic, myth and imagination. That’s what sticks in my mind (hoping I ‘m on track).

        Liked by 1 person

  2. A significant post with important sharing from it Janice. We can never trust our politicians with the present and future where environment is concerned. It is we the people who have to keep the environment at the centre of our minds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes that will be the reality for many years to come unfortunately. Even with a right embedded in a constitution there will always have to be people speaking up to ensure that it is honoured.


    1. Thanks 🙂 it is sensible…the project of getting cities and provinces on board and finally the federal government could be long but having people agree to basic principles and making it law seems to be a solid underpinning for true change.


  3. The US is too greedy and power hungry to care about anything, including the environment, or it’s citizens, oh, wait, I mean the ‘herd.’ We don’t want war, or environmental disaster, but the people in power don’t care what we want. No one asks us. Flint Michigan just poisoned the entire city. Literally POISONED them with their water. They unhooked them from clean water and hooked them up to a poison river and people are sick and dying. I think they saved $100 a month, or something like that. They kept clean water FOR SOME, of course. Kids are sick, Legionaries Disease is there and I don’t know what those people are going to do. THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS WHO DID IT ARE STILL IN OFFICE. They should be in jail but, like all the other American Power criminals, nothing will happen to them. So you won’t be able to count on America. We can’t and we live here.


    1. The situation in Flint is disastrous. Even though there is corruption and money spent to prevent positive action, there are also people who are pushing for the environment–these are the people who need to be supported and voted for in your upcoming elections–if the Republicans takeover well there will be reason to cry, but don’t ever give up. I just don’t see any point in giving up. I truly hope that officials in charge of the Flint situation are made fully accountable!


  4. This quote is so so so important. And your post is so accurate. It’s a shame, and it’s borderline pathetic that industrialized, first world nations like the US lag so far behind when it comes to the environment.

    Liked by 1 person

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