Streams and lakes have rights, a US county decided. Now they’re suing FloridaA novel lawsuit is taking advantage of a local ‘rights of natur...

Streams and lakes have rights, a US county decided. Now they’re suing FloridaA novel lawsuit is taking advantage of a local ‘rights of natur...Streams and lakes have rights, a US county decided. Now they’re suing Florida
A novel lawsuit is taking advantage of a local ‘rights of nature’ measure passed in November in effort to protect wetlands

The Florida lawsuit is part of a growing trend around the world of laws protecting rights of nature.
The Florida lawsuit is part of a growing trend around the world of laws protecting rights of nature. Photograph: Jupiterimages/Getty Images
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Isabella Kaminski
Sat 1 May 2021 05.30 EDT

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A network of streams, lakes and marshes in Florida is suing a developer and the state to try to stop a housing development from destroying them.

The novel lawsuit was filed on Monday in Orange county on behalf of the waterways under a “rights of nature” law passed in November. It is the largest US municipality to adopt such a law to date.


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The listed plaintiffs are Wilde Cypress Branch, Boggy Branch, Crosby Island Marsh, Lake Hart and Lake Mary Jane.

Laws protecting the rights of nature are growing throughout the world, from Ecuador to Uganda, and have been upheld in courts in India, Colombia and Bangladesh. But this is the first time anyone has tried to enforce them in the US.