Today’s Globe reports that Chinese citizens are dying due to toxic contaminants in their food and medicines and that Chinese authorities are unwilling to make companies pay for their infractions. Guo Ping, whose young daughter Liu Sichen was killed by contaminated antibiotics, complained that the authorities “don’t think that ordinary people are important.” No investigation was made as to the cause of her death.
The Globe says cancer has become the number one killer in China due to pollution, contaminated foods and the non-regulation of industry. It could happen here too, if we are not vigilant in protecting the rights of the individual and the rights of the Earth. Now there’s an idea…
Defining the Earth as a being with legal rights is a concept worth considering. If the Earth were a legal entity the way a corporation is, it could sue. It would have a legal right to protection. It might even stand a chance against the humans who grow astronomically each day, both in numbers and in their consumption of natural resources. If the Earth had a right to some of the profits made off its back, those profits could be used to undo some of the damage caused by human activity.
There has to be a way of making human life on earth sustainable without sacrificing the advantages of modernity. Individuals need to think in the long term and rally others to exert their democratic rights within their own countries as well as supporting international organizations who would have the power to prosecute and mete out penalties against environmental offenders. Think of it as a war crimes tribunal, in the war against Earth’s profit-minded persecutors.
Here is a link to the original article, while it lasts: Chinese Cost-Cutting
For an analysis of the laws which protect corporate rights and profits, I highly recommend the documentary series, The Corporation. Isn't it odd that something as important and fragile as our planet has less rights than a corporation?
Labels: Ethics, non-fiction