This compelling, thought-provoking book will be important for all those looking to protect the environment.
At first glance, the problems of deforestation, factory farming, coral-reef decimation, and the extinction of animals seem complex and unrelated. Though there are factors that make each situation unique, there is an overarching theme that connects them and lends itself to a visionary solution, which is the premise for David R. Boyd’s impressive book, The Rights of Nature.
Drawing on the writings of scientists, philosophers, and theologians, Boyd, an environmental lawyer/activist, demonstrates how mankind’s anthropocentrism, the belief that humans are superior to the rest of the natural world, has led to the degradation of life forms on the planet. He puts forth the concept of living interdependently with other species while accepting that they have rights on par with humans.
To this end, Boyd and many other pioneering activists appeal to courtrooms, legislatures, and communities around the world to change the way humans think of themselves in relation to nature. He optimistically says, “The legal revolution … has the potential to achieve three outcomes: reducing the harm suffered by sentient animals; stopping human-caused species extinction; and protecting the planet’s life support systems.”
The book addresses the rights of animals, species, nature, and constitutional and legal foundations. While each section contains volumes of landmark environmental law information, Boyd also includes numerous fascinating anecdotes to support his premise. These range from poignant descriptions of close-knit family units of killer whales, to studies of octopuses who use tools, and accounts of dedicated activists who are changing the way governments address the need to protect the environment.
In audiobook form, the abundant inclusion of important statistics and dates becomes something of a frustration. It will be necessary to stop and hit the rewind button a few times to fully grasp the import of some of this information. The narrator’s voice, at first strangely robotic, eventually warms up and is easy to follow.
The Rights of Nature is compelling and thought-provoking, and will be an important resource for anyone interested in environmental law or with a desire to save the planet.
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