A thousand miles in the Amazon, to change the way the world works

A thousand miles in the Amazon, to change the way the world works

Katie Surma writes:

The plan was to meet in Altamira, Brazil, and travel 1,000 miles across the northern Amazon as a kind of people’s court. The judges would take testimony over 10 days, much like a United Nations fact-finding delegation, and deliver their findings at the 10th Pan-Amazon Social Forum in the provincial city of Belém.

They had come under the banner of the International Rights of Nature Tribunal, promoting a legal movement based on the premise that nature—forests and rivers and wild animals and ecosystems—has inherent legal rights to exist and regenerate, just as humans possess human rights by virtue of their existence.

And so these lawyers and justice advocates assembled one hot night in July at a wooden country home down a long red dirt road 30 minutes outside Altamira to hear an audacious case: The Amazon, “a living entity under threat.”

They would meet with Indigenous people and traditional communities whose intimate relationships with the Amazon allowed them to speak on the forest’s behalf. They would ask questions no one else was really asking, and listen the way no one else was really listening, hoping to change the way the world works. [Continue reading…]

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