By Will Falk
Our first-in-the-nation lawsuit seeking personhood for the Colorado River was dismissed. After the Colorado Attorney General filed a motion to dismiss and threatened sanctions against attorney Jason Flores-Williams for the unforgivable act of requesting rights for nature, Flores-Williams withdrew our case.
When I agreed to serve as a next friend, or guardian, of the Colorado River, I saw the opportunity as a win-win. Either, we would win the lawsuit and the Colorado River would gain a powerful new legal tool to protect herself. Or, the lawsuit would be defeated proving that the American legal system privileges corporate rights to destroy the natural world over the natural world’s right to exist.
I knew it was highly unlikely that corporations, the courts, and the Colorado Attorney General would let rights of nature gain traction in American law. I wanted to be there, when the case failed, to remind everyone who invested hope in our cause that lawsuits are not the only way change is made.
I do not want this essay to come off like I am saying “I told you so.” I am heartbroken. A small part of me clung to the hope that Flores-Williams could resist the threats, that the Colorado Attorney General would, at least, litigate the case on the merits, and that the legal system would do the right thing. This hope, of course, was misguided. [Read more…]