The case of the Colorado River

“On September 26, 2017, Jason Flores-Williams, an experienced civil rights attorney licensed in Colorado and Washington D.C, filed a Rights of Nature lawsuit on behalf of the Colorado River Ecosystem against the State of Colorado in US District Court [Case 1:17-cv-02316-NYW].  Working for the environmental group, Deep Green Resistance, and using the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) as legal adviser, Flores-Williams filed the first suit in the country for a river seeking recognition of its legal rights – to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored and naturally evolve. The description of this river ecosystem in the filing begins poetically and goes on to catalog the myriad ways in which the Colorado River Ecosystem is important to critters and plants, small and large, as well as to humans.  The lawsuit also says that activities permitted by or carried out by the State of Colorado may violate the rights of the natural communities creating the Colorado River Ecosystem, and that the Plaintiffs may file for injunctive relief on behalf of the Colorado River Ecosystem for violation of its rights.  

This legal filing is well worth the read!  It’s very refreshing to have nature defined not as property of Man, but as a living organism with rights.  

The Colorado Community Rights Network often explains that over the past century, the unelected U.S. Supreme Court, has given numerous legal rights to corporations without a vote of Congress.  Corporations have legal existence as pieces of paper.  If corporations (pieces of paper) can have some of the same legal rights as natural persons – the legal term for human beings – then the State of Colorado must recognize the legal rights of the ecosystem most responsible for facilitating human and non-human life in the arid Southwest.  

Stay tuned for more on this groundbreaking case.”

Rights of nature lawsuit seeks personhood for the Colorado River

Corporations Have Rights. Why Shouldn’t Rivers?


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