There is a certain legal trend emerging in the world. It is a trend of granting personhood, and thus certain legal rights, to rivers. Why is this happening? I believe the existing ways of thinking about rivers just don’t get rivers clean enough fast enough.
What will make us make the rivers clean?
First, in March of 2017, the Whanganui River of New Zealand was granted the same legal rights as a human being. The Whanganui River is roughly 180 miles long and is the third largest river in New Zealand. The local Māori tribe has fought for the recognition of their river as an ancestor for 140 years. Therefore, this is not just about a clean river. It is a cultural initiative as well.
What will make us make the rivers clean? Second, also in March of 2017 the Uttarakhand High Court declared the Ganges and Yamuna rivers to be living entities. Uttarakhand is a state in northern India where the Ganges River begins. How polluted is the Ganges River? I regret to inform you that for various reasons, the Ganges River is one of the most polluted rivers in the world.
What will make us make the rivers clean? Finally, last month, the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the Governor of the state of Colorado in the United States. The lawsuit “seeks a ruling that the Colorado River, and its ecosystem, possess certain rights, including the right to exist, flourish, evolve, regenerate, and restoration.”
What will make us make the rivers clean? Will these efforts cause the rivers to become clean? I don’t know. All I know is that humanity must cleanse the polluted rivers of the world. If humanity does not cleanse the polluted rivers of the world, it will face consequences it does not wish to experience.
What will make us make the rivers clean? My ultimate answer is “A sufficient number of people responding to Knowledge.” By “Knowledge” I mean “the deeper spiritual intelligence that God has placed within each person.” But I don’t know when that will happen. I don’t know if it will ever happen. I therefore propose an interim solution. I don’t ask much. All I want is for every nation in the world to enforce a law like this:
If a river passes through or borders upon a given jurisdiction (such as a city like Wanganui in New Zealand, a county like Grand County in Colorado, or a state like Uttar Pradesh in India), that river must leave the jurisdiction as clean as when it enters the jurisdiction.
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