Milap Dixit

Department of Architecture

Other Equators: Measures for an International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature

In 2008, Ecuador became the first country to recognize the Rights of Nature, extending its jurisdiction to the scale of the planet and granting legal personhood to nonhuman entities such as mountains. More than a decade after its recognition, the Rights of Nature remains an elusive notion, easily absorbed into the logic of practices that reduce Nature to its exchange value. The Rights of Nature lacks an institution to specify and guarantee its functions, to measure and account for its violations, and to summon the “Nature” for whom it claims to speak. In 2018, Ecuador requested proposals for an International Tribunal with the authority to invoke universal jurisdiction for global cases related to the Rights of Nature. The Tribunal would be deployed territorially across a site of planetary significance: the Equator itself, which intersects the Avenue of Volcanoes, a group of twenty mountains recognized as legal persons under Ecuadorian law.

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