A court in the Indian state of Uttarakhand declared that Himalayan glaciers constitute "legal persons" under Indian law following a public interest suit filed by environmentalists. The two judges on the court stated that it was important that the law gave glaciers the status of a "legal entity" in order to prevent the glaciers from melting. According to the ruling, “The rights of these entities shall be equivalent to the rights of human beings and any injury or harm caused to these bodies shall be treated as injury or harm caused to human beings."
Not only did the court determine that the Himalayan glaciers had legal person status, but it also declared that all water bodies next to jungles and forests are legal persons according to the laws in the state of Uttarakhand. Environmentalists praised the ruling, hoping that this will start the process of creating concrete policy to prevent climate change.
This is not the first time that a nation-state treated an inanimate natural wonder as people under common law. A court in New Zealand, for example, granted the Whanganui River legal entity status last March. Outside of the courts, the Left has given human characteristics to natural features. For example, three individuals associated with the University of Oregon gendered glaciers in a study published in Progress of Human Geography. This was the abstract of the study:
Glaciers are key icons of climate change and global environmental change. However, the relationships among gender, science, and glaciers – particularly related to epistemological questions about the production of glaciological knowledge – remain understudied. This paper thus proposes a feminist glaciology framework with four key components: 1) knowledge producers; (2) gendered science and knowledge; (3) systems of scientific domination; and (4) alternative representations of glaciers. Merging feminist postcolonial science studies and feminist political ecology, the feminist glaciology framework generates robust analysis of gender, power, and epistemologies in dynamic social-ecological systems, thereby leading to more just and equitable science and human-ice interactions.
This is a classic example of how intersectionality makes people stupid.