Two logics of the rights of nature

The idea of rights of nature promotes an understanding of human and non-human agents as elements of a whole, of an Earth community governed by principles of relationality, interdependence, complementarity and reciprocity. Hence, they promote a holistic and systemic understanding of life on the plane which entails a communitarian rationale of environmental governance that problematizes the utilitarian logic that cut across sustainable development discourses and practices. Based on the recent “Nevados” natural park case in Colombia, in which the Supreme Court recognised the natural park as a subject of rights, this paper analyses how judges have understood the concept of the rights of nature in the country. We argue that although judges have embraced the idea of nature as a subject of rights, they are constructing it in a way amenable to market logics and which privileges conservation without people. This construction is depriving rights of nature of its emancipatory potential.