In Ecuador the government has approved a new constitution giving “nature” the same rights as human beings. Meanwhile in Switzerland, a constitutional amendment has led to a mandate not to disturb the “lifestyle” of plants. Has the world turned upside down? Well maybe so, as more and more countries are redefining their laws to confer upon the natural world those rights that have traditionally been given only to people. In Spain, for example, the nation will be granting human rights to all 350 apes in its territory, while the countries of Australia, Italy, and South Africa are also looking at similar provisions for plants and animals in their laws. One can only wonder how the courts will handle these modern-day versions of Monkey trials.

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