Erika Mathews and her daughter Willow are fighting for their right to nature, the fundamental human right for which we should all be fighting in the face of the climate and other ecological crises. They are plaintiffs in a lawsuit currently on appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, challenging the federal government’s actions and inactions that have led to the climate crisis. Having Kids intends to submit an amicus, or friend of the court, brief in the case.
The case is straightforward: The Declaration of Independence, parts of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court have made clear that there is a fundamental human right to be let alone, or free from others. The Declaration, in particular, talks about freedom as based on Nature. Being in nature, or wilderness more specifically, is the height of that experience, and given that climate change is the greatest threat to nature, climate change is the greatest threat to that right. How can you be free of others without nature? If climate change is a bad thing, what’s the state of affairs we are changing from, and don’t we have a right to that healthy and natural world? Nature is the buffer between us and others – the thing that individuates us.
And the right to nature is not just part of our legal system. It’s fundamental to the concept of liberty, a necessary condition for any legitimate form of social contract. The right to nature, conceived specifically as a wilderness or regenerative ecological standard, is the highest environmental baseline possible. It’s the gold standard against which any environmental protection efforts must be judged. We are facing the climate crisis and other ecological catastrophes because we’ve failed to protect this right.
The Trump administration is taking the position that we have no such right, and that they have the authority to exploit and wipe out nature. Is it time for a second American Revolution? How many died to protect freedom in the past? Those opposed to a right to nature are a threat to our freedom, and to our kids’ freedom. Without nature the social contract is over, the deal is off, and we will be subject to the influence of others against our will. Those behind the climate crisis are like foreign invaders threatening us, and the case before the Ninth Circuit will help decide how we deal with them. Having Kids is deeply committed to the case, in part because better family planning is the best way to restore nature, and protect our rights.
TAKE ACTION: YOU HAVE A FUNDAMENTAL HUMAN RIGHT TO NATURE. The heads of these companies, along with the Trump administration, are violating it. Find and peacefully engage them to change their ways, tell us how you did it, and we will publicize your story. One very effective way for them to change their ways is through funding Fair Start family planning. Having Kids is starting to make the just and morally undeniable demand for those resources. Together we can protect our rights, and ensure freedom for ourselves and our kids.