Rights of Nature for Antarctica - unique challenges and promise

  • Posted on: 19 October 2023
  • By: Susan

Professor Alejandra Mancilla talked to a group hosted by Friends of the Cam on the need for rights for Antarctica to be declared. The talk was reported in the Cambridge Independent, and the slides are available at the end of this summary. She is a member of a campaigning collective who are arguing for Antarctic Rights, launched on World Antactic Day, December 1st, 2023. Making a distinction between those countries who have already declared nature rights (such as Ecuador, and for specified areas, New Zealand), and Antarctica, Prof Mancilla presented the difficulty of identifying guardians in a continent with no permanent residents. Rights of nature are definied as intrinsic rights, rather than securing the utility of what we define as a 'natural resource'; however, we should recognise the importance of respecting the integrity of Antactica's environment, given that the melting of the ice sheet and subsequent sea level rise will likely see East Anglia under water. Thus are the rights of the Cam and Antarctica linked.