Protection of rights of nature and the post-development perspective

AutorMariana Ribeiro Santiago, Renata Cristina Oliveira Alencar Silva
CargoPost-doctorate at Justus Liebig Universität Giessen (Germany). Doctorate and master's degree in Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. Professor of the Postgraduate Program in Law at the University of Marília. Chief Editor of Argumentum Journal of Law. Member of the United Nations Initiative's Harmony with Nature Project. ...
1 | Revista Brasileira de Direito Animal, e -issn: 2317-4552, Sal-
vador, volume 1 6 , n. 0 1 , p.1 - 16, JAN ABR 2021
Mariana Ribeiro Santiago
Post-doctorate at Justus Liebig Universität
Giessen (Germany). Doctorate and mas ter's
degree in Law at the Pontifical Catholic Uni-
versity of São Paulo. Professor of the Postgrad-
uate Program in Law at the University of Ma-
rília. Chief Editor of Argumentum Journal of
Law. Member of the United Nations Initia-
tive's Harmony with Nature Project. Lawyer.
Renata Cristina Oliveira Alencar Silva
Doctorate candidate in Law at the University
of Marília. Master's degree in Business Law by
the State University of Londrina. Professor at
the Law School of Faculdades Lo.
ABSTRACT: The present study aimed to analyze the relationship between the protection
of the rights of nature, especially animals, and economic development. For its elabora-
tion, bibliographical searches were made by printed and electronic means, as well as
analysis of judicial decisions and comparative law. After studying the collected material,
it was possible to verify that the Kantian concept of dignity has been modified, opening
space for an ecological dimension of human dignity. Also, it dem onstrated that man has
to be in his real position within the Earth ecosystem, which is on the same level as other
non-human beings. Finally, it was concluded that economic devel opment, for it to be
truly sustainable, must be associated with respect for the rights of Nature, including the
rights of animals, guaranteeing the preservation of the planet and all the beings that live
on it.
KEYWORDS: Human dignity. Ecological dimension. Ecological economics. Rights of
RESUMO: O presente estudo teve por objetivo analisar a relação entre a proteção dos
direitos da natureza, em especial dos animais, e o desenvolvimento econômico. Para sua
elaboração, foram feitas pesquisas bibliográficas por meios impressos e eletrônicos, bem
como análise de decisões judiciais e do direito comparado. Após o estudo do material
coletado, foi possível verificar que o conceito kantiano de dignidade sofreu modificações,
abrindo espaço para uma dimensão ecológica da dignidade humana. Além d isso,
demonstrou a necessidade do homem assumir sua real posição dentro do ecossistema
Terra, que é no mesmo patamar dos demais seres vivos não humanos. Por fim, concluiu-
se que o desenvolviment o econômico, para que seja realmente sustentável, deve estar
associado ao respeito pelos direitos da natureza, neles compreendidos os direitos dos
animais, garantindo-se a preservação do planeta e de todos os seres que o habi tam.
PALAVRAS-CHAVE: Dignidade humana. Dimensão ecológica. Economia ecológica.
Rights of Nature.
1 Introduction
Mariana Ribeiro Santiago e Renata Cristina Oliveira Alencar Silva
2 | Revista Brasileira de Direito Animal, e -issn: 2317-4552, Sal-
vador, volume 1 6 , n. 0 1 , p.1 - 16, JAN ABR 2021
The protection of the rights of Nature has gained prominence in the last decade,
after the constitutionalization of the theme es tablished in Latin American countries whose
influence reached other States around the planet. Due to it, the anthropocentric vision of
protecting the environment has been effusively reexamined, providing fruitful results in fa-
vor of holistic theories on the subject, such as ecocentrism, biocentrism, Earth ethics etc.
This study aims to demonstrate that respect for the rights of Nature is compatible
with the theory of sustainable development or is characterized in a post-development per-
spective. The choice of the theme is justified based on the understanding that all living be-
ings have the same value within the ecosystem they inhabit and that the extinction of one
of them can cause harmful repercussions for the entire system, including and especially in
the economic field.
The method adopted was the legal dialectic, to counter the ideas of sustainable de-
velopment and post-development, to verify the framing of the rights of Nature in the theo-
retical scope. In this research, bibliographic procedures were adopted, with the survey of
theoretical references published by printed and electronic media; as well as documentary,
based on the analysis of judicial decisions.
This paper is divided into three parts. The first part deals with the r ights of Nature
and the shift of paradigm towards holistic conceptions. The second part analyzes the ideas
of the ecological dimension of human dignity, sustainable development, and the rights of
non-human animals, and their compatibility with the theory of the rights of Nature. The
third part verifyies whether misuse of natural resources causes damage to the world econ-
omy, delimiting the relationship between environmental preservation and the economy.
1 Holistic perspectives and rights of nature: New Paradigms
The recognition of the rights of nature is not a recent movement. Founded in the
paradigm shift of anthropocentric thinking, this doctrine places the human being as part of
the ecosystem and not as a protagonist or owner of natural resources.
This movement, which has inhabited the aspirations of philosophers and environ-
mentalists since the 1970s , strengthed with the Constitutions of Ecuador in 20081 and Bo-
livia in 20092. Both recognize not only the existence of Mother Nature, also called Pacha
Mama3, but the importance of its preservation to guarantee the survival of the Planet Earth
ecosystem and, consequently, of the human race.
According to Pilau Sobrinho and Borile (2020, p. 26), the proposal to make nature a
subject of rights greatly elevated environmental protection, given that the wishes of many
environmental protection groups, universities, and traditional communities were met
through the constitutional positivity of the rights of Nature, initiated by the Constitution of
Ecuador and the Law of Mother Earth in Bolivia.
Therefore, the constitutionalization of Nature's rights, which goes beyond tradi-
tional environmental law, elevated them to the category of fundamental right, replacing the
anthropocentric model4. Besides, this important change in thinking has influenced the con-
struction of new laws and public policies by various nations around the world, as recognized
by the United Nations5.
As Marco Aparicio Wilhelmi (2013, p. 280) teaches, Ecuador and Bolivia are the pio-
neering countries in the constitutional reaction to the global context of the ecological crisis,
arguing that there can be no social justice without environmental or ecological justice6.
The important conclusion to be drawn from these constitutional texts is the recog-
nition that human beings are part of Mother Nature, and that they are vital to its existence,

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