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Legal personality for nature and the protection of the Moon by the Navajo

More Than Human Rights and Animals in the Room are the latest organisations to join the global campaign to give rights and even political representation to ecosystems and plant and animal species. The list of countries, regions and legal systems that have some recognition of natural rights in their constitutions and national or local laws includes Ecuador, Bolivia, Uganda, the United States, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand, Mexico and Northern Ireland. Courts in India and Colombia have also recognised the rights of ecosystems and rivers.

New Mexico has proposed legislation to ban oil and gas drilling within a mile of schools and daycare centres to better protect children and other vulnerable populations. Legislative proposals also include a ban on using freshwater during the fracking process, improved supervision, and stricter sanctions if contaminant leaks from wells.

The Navajo indigenous people accused NASA and private space companies of failing to consult on plans to bury human remains on the Moon as part of the Lunar mission in January this year. “It is important to emphasise that the Moon is sacred for many indigenous cultures, including ours. We consider the Moon part of our spiritual heritage, an object of respect. The act of leaving human remains and other materials […] on the Moon means a desecration of this sacred space,” Navajo President Buu Nygren wrote in a letter to officials.

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