Environmental Group Asks Court to Recognize Colorado River as a Person

Environmental Group Asks Court to Recognize Colorado River as a Person

A direct action environmentalist group called Deep Green resistance is advocating for the Colorado river to be officially recognised as a person.

The organisation is asking, by motion of a lawsuit last week, for the US District Court for the District of Colorado to grant personhood status to the 1,450-mile-long water flow. If such status was awarded, the State of Colorado would therefore be considered as violating the river/person’s rights.

According to the Jurist, the complaint reads in part: “Through this action, the Plaintiffs are asking this Court to recognize and declare that the Colorado River is capable of possessing rights similar to a “person,” and that as part of that declaration, that the Colorado River has certain rights to exist, flourish, regenerate, and naturally evolve. In the absence of such a finding, Plaintiffs contend that existing environmental laws will continue to fail to protect the Colorado River, and thus, continue to fail to protect the human and natural communities that are dependent on the River.”

According to a press release from the Community Environmental Defense Fund (CELDF): “CELDF is serving as a legal adviser for the first-in-the-nation lawsuit in which a river is seeking recognition of its legal rights… Further, the lawsuit seeks a declaration from the federal court that the State of Colorado – the defendant in the case – may be held liable for violating the rights of the River.”

Mari Margil, Director of CELDF’s International Center for the Rights of Nature, explained: “This action is the first of its kind in the United States, and comes as courts around the world are beginning to hold that nature and ecosystems possess legally enforceable rights. Recently, courts in India and Colombia held that rivers, glaciers, and other ecosystems possess rights of their own. Building on ongoing lawmaking efforts, we believe that this lawsuit will be the first of many which begins to change the status of nature under our legal systems.”