Vox Populi

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Video: Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans

Water is essential to life. Yet in the eyes of the law, it remains largely unprotected — leaving many communities without access to safe drinking water, says legal scholar Kelsey Leonard. In this powerful talk, she shows why granting lakes and rivers legal “personhood” — giving them the same legal rights as humans — is the first step to protecting our bodies of water and fundamentally transforming how we value this vital resource.

Kelsey Leonard currently represents the Shinnecock Indian Nation as the Tribal Co-Lead on the Mid-Atlantic Regional Planning Body of the U.S. National Ocean Council. This planning body consisting of tribal, federal, and state entities is charged with guiding the protection, maintenance, and restoration of America’s oceans and coasts. As a Shinnecock citizen and environmental leader, Kelsey strives to be a strong advocate for the protection of Indigenous waters through enhanced interjurisdictional coordination and meaningful consultation. 

Running time: 13 minutes

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Kelsey Leonard

One comment on “Video: Why lakes and rivers should have the same rights as humans

  1. Patricia Nugent
    July 17, 2021

    If corporations are “people,” why can’t lakes and rivers be?

    Liked by 3 people

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