The Death of Natural Selection
Linton Weeks’s thought-provoking post on the right of plants to evolve reports on the work of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, a nonprofit that helps communities develop laws that recognize ecosystems as rights-bearing entities. The CELDF’s work is not unprecedented; in 2008 Ecuador granted nature the constitutional right to the maintenance and regeneration of its evolutionary processes. The associate director of CELDF explained: “fish and other species in a river may be recognized as having the right to exist and evolve.”
These are not the only efforts to protect species’ abilities to evolve. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature, for example, defines wilderness areas as “protecting large mainly untouched areas where ecosystem processes, including evolution, can continue unhindered by human[s], including development or mass tourism.” Other environmental organizations are similarly concerned about species’ evolutionary opportunities. That environmentalists are pursuing legal protection of nature’s right to evolve suggests that nature’s ability to evolve could be threatened or withheld. Can humans really stop evolution?