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Political Platform

In what direction will Snæfellsjökull as President take us?

 

We follow the lead of the Icelandic Youth Environmentalist Association (Ungra umhverfissinna): "It is essential for climate change and other environmental issues to be at the top of people's minds when voting in the upcoming parliamentary elections. Our future depends on restoring the balance in Earth's natural systems and cycles."

An Ecocentric Presidency

 

“... all life forms have equal worth independent of their value to human interests and that they should be recognised and protected as rights-holders alongside humans.”* In Snæfellsjökull fyrir forseta, we extend ‘life forms’ to include not only biotic entities, but abiotic as well so as not to hierarchise what Western science deems to fulfil the requirements for life as the sole requisite for equality and rights.

Charter of Rights for Iceland's Ecosystems

The Presidency will support efforts to develop the framework for a Charter of Rights for Iceland's Ecosystems.

Rights of Nature

The presidential campaign for Snæfellsjökull introduces the concept of the Rights of Nature into societal consciousness and government policy consideration in Iceland. In the past fifteen years, legal precedents for the Rights of Nature were established by governments and communities around the world. 

  • In 2008, Ecuador became the first country worldwide to adopt Rights of Nature into its constitution.

  • In 2010, Bolivia introduced its legislature Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra (Law of the Rights of Mother Earth), which declared earth and its life-systems as titleholders of inherent rights.

  • In 2012, a Maori community won their case to have the Whanganui River awarded the status of a living entity, which would equate its rights with those of humans under New Zealand law. In 2017, this was pass into law. 

  • In 2022, Mar Menor became the first non-human entity to receive the status of legal personhood in Europe.

 

These legal precedents underscore the rights of more-than-human bodies, coupled with a respect for ecosystems as having their own inherent value beyond what resources they offer humans. These policy adoptions also propose a necessary re-evaluation of natural resource management, calling especially into question the role of anthropocentrism in policy creation. 

The question today is no longer 'can nature ha[ve] rights?' It can, and, in a growing number of countries, it does. The question now is how do we extend the recognition of those rights, and move to a necessary and new relationship with nature in which human actions are protective, rather than exploitive, of the natural world.—Mari Margil, Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights

Key Concepts

Anthropocentrism

“An anthropocentric approach, in its strictest form, conceptualises humanity's relationship with nature according to nature's aesthetic, economic or social value to human beings. It is a perspective centered exclusively on the human needs and finds other modes to be inferior. This attitude results in unlimited plunder and exploitation of other life forms. Other life forms are given no intrinsic value of their own: they only have value through their use by the human.”* See Ecocentrism.

Earth Jurisprudence

“... a philosophy of law and human governance that is based on the idea that humans are only one part of a wider community of beings and that the welfare of each member of that community is dependent on the welfare of the Earth as a whole.”**

Ecocentrism

“... all life forms have equal worth independent of their value to human interests and that they should be recognised and protected as rights-holders alongside humans.”* In Snæfellsjökull fyrir forseta, we extend ‘life forms’ to include not only biotic entities, but abiotic as well so as not to hierarchise what Western science deems to fulfil the requirements for life as the sole requisite for equality and rights.

Environmental Constitutionalism

“Environmental constitutionalism is variable, manifesting into substantive rights, procedural rights, directive policies, reciprocal duties, or combinations of these and other attributes.“*

“The experience of other countries suggests several options for the constitutional entrenchment of the preservation and protection of the natural environment: (a) Affirming the rights of nature itself, for example by placing obligations on the State and citizens to protect Mother Nature (the ecocentric approach); (b) Affirming a human right to a clean and healthy environment (the anthropocentric approach); and (c) Referring to environmental protection as part of a right to intergenerational equity.”* 

The Icelandic government has been working on a constitutional draft bill since 2012 that would enshrine (b) into the Constitution. This bill was the subject of the Venice Commissions review in October 2020.



 




* Quoted from the footnotes of the EUROPEAN COMMISSION FOR DEMOCRACY THROUGH LAW (VENICE COMMISSION)—ICELAND OPINION ON FOUR CONSTITUTIONAL DRAFT BILLS ON THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT, ON NATURAL RESOURCES, ON REFERENDUMS AND ON THE PRESIDENT OF ICELAND, THE GOVERNMENT, THE FUNCTIONS OF THE EXECUTIVE AND OTHER INSTITUTIONAL MATTERS (October 2020).

** Quoted from the UN’s Harmony With Nature website.

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