Is a river a person? Advocates for the legal rights of nature say yes

By Barbara Fraser
January 24, 2022

NAUTA, PERU — Three years ago, in January 2019, residents of communities along Peru's Marañón River crammed into the sweltering meeting room that serves as the town hall in this small Amazonian city to hear government officials describe a plan to dredge, or deepen, parts of the Marañón and two other Amazonian rivers.

The goal, the officials said, was to make sure boats could travel the rivers all year round, even during extreme dry spells like droughts in 2004 and 2010, which made the transport of passengers and goods difficult or impossible as water levels dropped. The project would also include modern navigation aids, for nighttime travel. The way they described it, there were no downsides.

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