Wesley Smith Gonzaga Debate
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The Rights of Nature: Saving the Planet or Harmful to Humanity?

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Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Wesley J. Smith participated in a debate hosted by Gonzaga University with a leading proponent of the nature rights movement, Thomas Linzey.

Proponents of nature rights like Linzey argue that the environmental regulatory system – which treats nature as merely property to be owned – has failed to protect nature and our own life support systems, and that a radical change in the law is needed which re-positions humanity in the role of a guardian or trustee of the best interests of those natural systems. Opponents of this approach see recognizing the rights of nature as inappropriate and ultimately demeaning to the special dignity of the human person – undermining a rights-based system of law which makes humans exceptional.

On the other side, Smith argues that recognizing the rights of nature as inappropriate and ultimately demeaning to the special dignity of the human person – undermining a rights-based system of law which makes humans exceptional.