“A World Parliament of Rivers”

Brara, Rita, and María Valeria Berros | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Brara, Rita, and María Valeria Berros. “A World Parliament of Rivers.” Springs: The Rachel Carson Center Review, no. 1 (July 2022).

How do we rescue rivers from the ravages of the Anthropocene epoch? Legal systems in the Global South are merging law with local customs to forge new and significant legal interventions. In particular, the possibility of attributing legal personhood to nature affords a contemporary legal stratagem that unites the cultural personification of rivers with modern law. It grants rivers a voice in juridical and political life—the right to speak and be heard, and the right to sue.

This way, a river can don twenty-first-century legal attire, stand in court, and file claims in its own name. Legal systems in the Global North have begun to listen to pronouncements on the rights of rivers, imparting global relevance to such strategies. But what can we learn from the application of these novel legal devices on the ground? How should we think with and beyond these legal measures as we grapple with the growing debris of the Anthropocene? What course do we chart next? (From the article)

This article was originally published in Springs: The Rachel Carson Center Review. The journal is an online publication featuring peer-reviewed articles, creative nonfiction, and artistic contributions that showcase the work of the Rachel Carson Center and its community across the world.

2022 Rita Brara and María Valeria Berros

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