New Zealand gave legal personhood status to the Whanganui River last month. India followed suit by deeming glaciers, along with rivers, waterfalls, forests, lakes, and meadows “living entities.” That means these environmental features have the same legal rights as people. According to a ruling from India’s highest court, “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.” National Review writer Wesley J. Smith rightly deduces that if everything has personhood rights, that means that human beings cannot be considered to be unique or have special value.
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