Himalayan glaciers granted status of ‘living entities’

japan times

AFP-JIJI

An Indian court has recognized Himalayan glaciers, lakes and forests as “legal persons” in an effort to curb environmental destruction, weeks after it granted similar status to the country’s two most sacred rivers.

In a decision that aims to widen environmental protections in the mountainous region, the court granted the legal standing to the glaciers Gangotri and Yamunotri,m which feed India’s venerated Ganges and Yamuna rivers, which won the status in a landmark judgment in March.

“The rights of these entities shall be equivalent to the rights of human beings and any injury or harm caused to these bodies shall be treated as injury or harm caused to human beings,” the highest court in Himalayan state of Uttarakhand said in its ruling on Friday.

It said Yamunotri glacier, which is the source for the Yamuna river was shrinking at an alarming rate.

Gangotri, which feeds the Ganges and is one of the largest glaciers in the Himalayas, is also “receding fast,” the court said.

“In over 25 years, it has retreated more than 850 meters (2,800 feet),” a two-judge bench of justices Rajeev Sharma and Alok Singh said.

The court also extended the status of “living entity” to swaths of the Himalayan environment, including waterfalls, meadows, lakes and forests.

On March 20, the same court ordered that both Ganges and Yamuna rivers should be given “living entity” status to conserve them, in a decision cautiously welcomed by activists who expressed hope that it would signify more than just a symbolic gesture.

Both rivers are considered holy by millions of Hindus, who ritualistically bathe, drink and scatter the ashes of their dead in the water.

The rivers, which cross most of the country before flowing into the sea, have witnessed massive pollution near human habitations mainly due to dumping of untreated sewage and industrial waste.

The court argued the unusual step was necessary because the hallowed rivers upon which Hindu rites are conducted were “losing their very existence.”

New Zealand earlier last month recognized its third-largest river, Whanganui River, ancestral and spiritual waters for its Maori people, as a living entity.

Successive governments in India have attempted with limited success to clean up the Ganges, which snakes 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles) across northern India from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.

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This entry was posted in Environmental laws - Luật môi trường, Môi trường - Environment and tagged , , , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage dotchuoinon.com on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development (cvdvn.net). I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

2 thoughts on “Himalayan glaciers granted status of ‘living entities’

  1. Đây là môt khai niêm “pháp nhân” (legal person, legal entity) rất mới mẻ và sáng tạo,có lẽ nằm trong tư tưởng Ấn giáo khi moi thứ đều là chính là hơi ithở của Brahman, Phât giáo “tất cả là môt” (nhất thiết pháp giai Không).

    Trong tư tưởng Tây Phương, chỉ con người mới có “hơi thở của God” trong mình. Các loài khác thấp hơn.

    “Pháp nhân” trong tư tưởng Tây phương (và do đó cả thế giới) là tổ chức của “môt nhóm người”, như là công ty, tổ chức từ thiên, thành phố, quốc gia, etc.

    Khái niêm “pháp nhân” mới của Ấn này, rất thú vi để xem ai trên thế giới đi theo.

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    • Đoc lai thì thấy có điều không nhất quán trong bài này. Đề bài dùng từ “living entities”, trong bài thì nói “legal person”. Đây là hai khái niêm hoàn toàn khác nhau. Mọi loài động vât đều có thể là living entities, nhà Phật goi là chúng sinh hữu tình (hữu tình là có cảm xúc, tình cảm) Thưc vât cũng có thể là living entities, nhà Phât goi là chúng sinh vô tình (không có cảm xúc). (Nhưng chưa chắc là thưc vât không có cảm xúc, phải không các ban?)

      Nếu động và thưc vât là living entities (thưc thể sống, chúng sinh), thì rất dễ hiểu sông, rừng, băng tuyết… là living entities vì chúng chứa rất nhiều living entities trong chúng; và tự chúng cũng có thể sống chết như living entities. Và living entities thì được bảo vệ đặc biệt xưa nay, hơn là bàn ghế.

      Nhưng từ “living entities” đổi thành “pháp nhân” (legal person, legal entity) là một bước nhảy cực lớn. Pháp nhân có thể kiện người khác chẳng hạn, nhưng forest, rivver… có thể đi kiện được không?

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