Can Rights of Nature Save Us from the Anthropocene Catastrophe? Some Critical Reflections from the Field Articles uri icon

publication date

  • May 2022

start page

  • 187

end page

  • 206


  • 2


  • 9

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2052-9015

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2052-9023


  • The world can no longer deny that the planet is on the verge of an Anthropocene catastrophe. As scientists from different fields and from around the globe are discussing the causes, impacts, challenges, and solutions to the arrival of this human-induced new geological time, the field of law cannot remain behind. Rights of Nature (RoN), granting legal personhood to nature and its elements such as rivers, is an emerging transnational legal framework fast gaining international traction among Euro-American legal scholars as a new tool to combat environmental destruction. Grounded in reflections derived from long-term collaborative ethnographic work among indigenous communities, this article aims to critically and empirically unpack several interrelated concerns and blind spots at this moment of the RoN snowballing effect around the globe related to claims that this new legal proposal is rooted in indigenous lifestyles and views about nature/the environment.


  • rights of nature; anthropocene; indigenous peoples; river rights; natural resources