Living in a healthy environment should be a right | Finding Solutions | 2014 | Spring | Publications | David Suzuki Foundation
Photo: Living in a healthy environment should be a right

Environmental lawyer David Boyd has researched environmental rights worldwide.

By Alvin Singh

It's no secret that our identity as Canadians is rooted in the beautiful landscapes that surround us. It's why Canadians have always felt such a close connection to nature.

But after generations of caring for our natural areas, we've been moving in the wrong direction over the past number of years. It doesn't need to be this way. That's why the David Suzuki Foundation is building a movement to see a healthy environment become a fundamental Canadian right.

In November, we released three papers by environmental lawyer, professor and author David Boyd on the idea of a constitutional right to a healthy environment, along with a video. The response was incredible. Online, our environmental rights message reached more than 700,000 people. More than 10,000 members of the DSF community added their names to a list of Canadians who want to finally guarantee their right to a healthy environment.

The right to clean water, air and food is clearly something Canadians from across the country care deeply about. But it's important to know we're not alone. Already, more than 100 countries recognize these rights as law, including Argentina, South Africa, Thailand and France. Closer to home, Pennsylvania residents are celebrating a state Supreme Court ruling that used environmental provisions in the state's constitution to strike down parts of a new pro-drilling act because it would threaten people's health.

In the coming months, we'll release the final two papers by David Boyd outlining more international examples and the potential legal pathways that can help move us forward. We'll also reach out to thousands of supporters to encourage them to take action to protect the people and places they love. Together we can help guarantee environmental rights for every Canadian.