Mother Nature’s Mary Jane Sues Florida

     Maybe the entire “nature rights” where people are enabled to sue on behalf of some geographic feature or assortment of critters really is just the fevered dream of stoners…

“Lake Mary Jane is shallow—twelve feet deep at most—but she’s well connected. She makes her home in central Florida, in an area that was once given over to wetlands. To the north, she is linked to a marsh, and to the west a canal ties her to Lake Hart. To the south, through more canals, Mary Jane feeds into a chain of lakes that run into Lake Kissimmee, which feeds into Lake Okeechobee. Were Lake Okeechobee not encircled by dikes, the water that flows through Mary Jane would keep pouring south until it glided across the Everglades and out to sea.


“In an effort to protect herself, Mary Jane is suing. The lake has filed a case in Florida state court, together with Lake Hart, the Crosby Island Marsh, and two boggy streams. According to legal papers submitted in February, the development would ‘adversely impact the lakes and marsh who are parties to this action,’ causing injuries that are ‘concrete, distinct, and palpable.’”

     Yup, it’s all based on “social constructs” with the claims that all rights are “socially constructed” rather than being inalienable…

“The notion that “natural objects” like woods and streams should have rights was first put forward half a century ago, by Christopher Stone, a law professor at the University of Southern California. Stone, who died last year, was a son of the crusading journalist I. F. Stone, and as a kid, in the nineteen-fifties, he sometimes helped put out his father’s newspaper, I. F. Stone’s Weekly. In the fall of 1971, the younger Stone was assigned to teach U.S.C.’s introductory course on property law, and in one class he delivered a lecture on how ownership rights had evolved over time. Near the end of the hour, sensing that his students’ minds were wandering, he decided to shake things up. What would happen, he asked, if the law were to further evolve to grant rights to, say, trees or even rocks? ‘This little thought experiment,’ he later recalled, created an ‘uproar.’

“Until that moment, Stone hadn’t considered this question. But, having tossed it out, he found himself intrigued. He set about writing a law-review article. In the article, “Should Trees Have Standing?—Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects,” Stone noted that rights are always socially constructed. In America in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, many groups—Blacks, Native Americans, women, children—were denied rights; then, as society, or what counted as society, changed, rights were slowly and painfully (and often incompletely) extended to them.”

     The idea of “rights” being fungible? Sounds like the court case Dred Scott v. Sandford… on chronic weed laced with angel dust.

     Oh, and Mary Jane the lake is talking to ya man, it’s talking to ya!!1!

“A wood stork arrived and started poking its beak into the muck at the lake’s edge. More storks swooped down and similarly began poking. One of them bent its legs, dipped its white-and-black wings into the water, and then held them out, as if airing a blanket. Another stork did the same, and soon they were all rolling around in the water and stretching their wings. I wasn’t sure what, exactly, they were doing, but it looked like fun. I took off my shoes and waded in. As I approached, most of the storks flew away. The water, around my ankles, was the golden brown I had seen in Dierdorff’s exhibit. I spent a while listening. I didn’t hear any blips from Mary Jane; still, it seemed to me, the lake’s wishes were pretty clear, as were the wood storks’. What they really wanted was to be left alone.”

     A little 420 mood music…

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