Forum ’71 believes Hampstead Heath should not be exploited for financial gain by its’ freeholders, the City of London Corporation. Rights of personhood for nature, at present non-existent in UK statute law, could herald a return to our harmonious relationship with the environment. By protecting Hampstead Heath in this way, extractive and social cleansing practices such as the newly imposed regime of compulsory entry charges to bathe in the ponds – freely accessible for at least 200 years – could be deemed illegal.
The UK Government could take inspiration from Welsh law-makers who have instituted the Well-Being of Future Generations Act – a vitally important piece of legislation to combat poverty, health inequalities and climate change.
Here are some resources explaining the concept of ‘Rights of Personhood’, and which highlight countries where legal standing for nature has already been granted – a 21st century phenomenon.
National Geographic Magazine
The Whanganui River in New Zealand is a legal person. A nearby forest is too. Soon, the government will grant a mountain legal personhood as well. Here’s how it happened, and what it may mean.
Huck Magazine article by Poppy Koronka
The activists fighting to give nature human rights
Stone and Trees, 35 Years Later: Where Do They Stand?
A review of Christopher D. Stone’s classic 1970’s law and environment book ‘Should Trees Have Standing?’.
Other related resources: