Thursday, January 15, 2009

Constitutional Reform: 7th Generation and Ecuador Part 2.

In an earlier post, I commented primarily on the 7th Generation Amendment proposed for the US Constitution. In this post, I want to spend more time on the new Constitution of Ecuador. There are similarities, but the differences I believe are substantial and lead me to the conclusion that the 7th Generation Amendment is more in tune with the current US Constitution and more likely to find adherents in these United States.

Click Read more! for my rationale.

Let me begin this by again quoting a section from the new constitution of Ecuador.
Nature or Pachamama [the Andean earth goddess], where life is reproduced and exists, has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles, structure, functions and its processes in evolution. Every person, people, community or nationality, will be able to demand the recognition of rights for nature before the public bodies.
There are three key aspects of that statement.
  • it extends rights to all of nature and not just to people.
  • among those rights is the right for any part of life to continue to evolve according to natural processes.
  • it gives non-citizens of Ecuador the right to provide representation for nature before any public body in Ecuador. This extension would, for example, allow lawyers for the Rainforest Alliance to bring suit in Ecuadorian courts for harm done to the rainforest's flora or fauna or any species of it.
This formulation would leave out two things that are specifically included in the 7th Generation Amendment, air and water. These may be dynamic systems but are not living in any sense of that word, especially not in the sense that they have DNA and the mechanism for evolution.

For all of their apparent similarities, these turn out to be very, very different. The essence of the 7th Generation Amendment is the fact that it places two very particular entities into the commons and then mandates that we protect the commons for posterity. It also provides that Congress can add to, but not subtract from, these common heritages.

Importantly for consideration at this time, the 7th Generation Amendment makes us consider the future without the necessity of having an to deal with the creationism vs. evolution controversy. For this very reason alone, the Ecuadorean formulation could never be enacted in these United States.

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