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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/7/09

Universal Environmental Rights

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Message Diane Perlman

All have the right to clean water and the benefits of clean, healthy oceans, lakes, rivers and streams and the life they contain. No one has the right to dump garbage, toxins, plastics or anything harmful into our waters, or to engage in practices that destroy or alter natural environments essential to balance the Earth's ecosystem.

Article 5

All are dependent on the plant world's viability and diversity for food, medicinal plants, oxygen and materials to sustain health and life. All have the right to affordable, nutritious food from plants, grown in clean, rich soil, free of toxins, chemicals, and acid rain. No one has the right to destroy forests or engage in practices that harm the biosphere. All have the right to live free from preventable diseases and human-driven extinction. No one has the right to alter natural habitats by contamination, and unnatural practices that exploit nature and cause disease.

Article 6

Respecting animal rights contributes to human welfare. Pets, service animals, farm animals and all living under human control are dependent on humans for life, comfort and health. Animals in remote habitats are also affected by human behavior. Treating animals humanely, in conditions designed according to their natural habitats, fed their natural diet eaten over millennia, can prevent diseases and epidemics caused by unnatural practices. No one has the right to confine animals in ways that restrict their natural movement, or to allow hunger, physical or emotional pain or suffering or to alter their conditions for life.

Article 7

All have the right to live in a world free of toxic radioactive materials and waste, deadly for tens of thousands to millions of years, posing dangers from emissions into the air, leakage into groundwater, accidents, and radiation sickness. All have a right to safe power that does not provoke proliferation, pose security risks, or create false national pride and the felt need to develop dangerous forms of energy that drain money away from human needs. All have the inalienable right to safe, clean, nontoxic, renewable forms of energy that cost less and create more jobs.

Article 8

All living things have the right to live in a world free of exposure to toxic chemicals, including herbicides and pesticides, dumped garbage and acid rain that rarely existed in pre-industrial history and that alter the balance of ecosystems. Chemicals interact to cause ongoing genetic and environmental damage, disrupting hormones, impairing immunity, causing cancer, neurotoxicity, infertility, birth defects, deformities, genetic mutations, death, and extinctions. No one has the right to endanger humans, animals, plants, their habitats and ecosystems with poisonous materials. All living things have the right to safe agricultural practices.

Article 9

All have the right to live in a world free of excessive disposable plastics that produce many tons of waste, pollute waters, strangle sea life and create enormous patches of dangerous floating debris in our oceans. No one has the right to promote destructive habits for profit with the illusion of convenience. We have a right to institutions and laws that foster transitions to natural, non-disposable, reusable, and biodegradable products.

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Visiting Scholar Institute of Conflict Analysis and Resolution George Mason University

Diane Perlman is a clinical and political psychologist, devoted to applying knowledge from psychology, conflict studies and social sciences to designing strategies and policies to reverse nuclear proliferation, to drastically reduce (more...)

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