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Rights of Nature Toolkit
How to Protect Rivers in England and Wales

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In 2022, King's students Amanda Ignatia and Freya Skyrme worked with the King's Human Rights and Environment Legal Clinic to produce 'A Rights of Nature Toolkit: How to Protect Rivers in England and Wales'. The toolkit, produced as part of a King’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship, was inspired by a proposal from Zoe Lujic of Earth Thrive and Carlos Zorrilla to develop a RoN toolkit with a legal outlook. Given the limited existing guidance, this tool could benefit communities worldwide affected by mining. The project was initated after the clinic's work with Earthrive on another project to address the impact of mining in Serbia. 

The project consulted environmental groups, other legal clinics, and activists and decided to focus on rivers in the UK, in the hope that this guide could be expanded to other areas in the future.

The resource is intended for anyone with some legal training or background wishing to protect and assert the rights of rivers – including legal clinics, students, communities, and activists. It is designed to be a practical guide to asserting these rights using the law of England and Wales with the intention of promoting the Rights of Nature movement in this jurisdiction. In addition to England and Wales, the document draws on external examples and can also provide guidance on advocating for environmental rights in other countries in Europe.

See the toolkit here.


What are Rights of Nature?

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Rights of Nature (RoN) refers to a legal framework which prioritises the intrinsic rights of nature and the undeniable inter-connection between the human and natural world.  RoN rejects a "human-centric" (or anthropocentric) approach in which law treats nature as property and conceptualises the world in terms of property rights. Instead, the RoN movement aims to promote and assert natural rights and move towards a system where nature is valued and protected for its own sake and not for the value it provides to humans. In other legal systems such as those of indigenous persons, the RoN approach is used to protect natural entities such as rivers and forests and around the globe, new laws and constitutions which recognise RoN are gradually being introduced. Alongside this shift, RoN lawyers and activists are also re-imagining existing laws through a RoN lens. 


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