This lake now has legal rights, just like you

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  • Published on:  Monday, April 29, 2019
  • Why the “rights of nature” could be the next frontier for environmentalism.This video is presented by CuriosityStream: the Video Lab! more about the movement behind the Lake Erie Bill of Rights: Lake Erie Bill of Rights is the first law of its kind in the United States. In February of 2019, the residents of Toledo, Ohio voted to give Lake Erie's entire ecosystem legal rights. That means any citizen of Toledo, if they have credible evidence that a corporation or government is harming the lake, can file a lawsuit on behalf of Lake Erie in court. The Lake Erie Bill of Rights is part of a larger movement to give legal rights to mountains, rivers, forests, and other natural objects. The citizens of these communities -- from Pennsylvania, to Ecuador, to New Zealand -- argue that because their long-term survival is dependent on the health of their natural surroundings, anything that harms the lakes, rivers, or forests they depend on should be considered a legal harm. It’s a totally new way of approaching the law, and it could change the very nature of our relationship with the natural world. This is how one community in Ohio started what they hope will be a nationwide movement. Further Reading:The National Center for Water Quality at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio has a great site ( on harmful algae blooms. This feature from Belt Magazine ( goes into more detail about some of the other agricultural practices that contribute to Lake Erie’s harmful algal blooms.This in-depth explainer ( from Civil Eats goes into more detail about the rise of CAFOs in the Western Lake Erie Basin. Ohio Sea Grant ( is another excellent resource for learning about harmful algae blooms.Pam Taylor’s group, Environmentally Concerned Citizens of South Central Michigan, published a report in collaboration with the Sierra Club ( on the impact of manure spreading in the Western Lake Erie Basin. If you want to learn more about how larger industrial farm operations view the issue, this blog post ( from the Ohio Farm Bureau outlines why they’re fighting the Lake Erie Bill of Rights in court. is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out our full video catalog: Vox on Facebook: Twitter:
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  • Vox

     1 months ago

    We're hosting a livestream Q&A with Elizabeth Scheltens, the creator of this video, for Video Lab members next on Thursday, May 9th! Senior Vox producer Joss Fong will be moderating, so if you have questions about our journalistic process, video production, research, animation techniques, or anything else, be sure to sign up here to get them answered live on stream!

  • Mario Munoz

     24 days ago

    We need these people for the Salton Sea in California

  • Jeevan Jacob

     1 months ago

    LGBT Community: We have rights nowLake Eerie: Hold my dirty water

  • Cody Beasenburg

     1 months ago

    Are we going to ignore the politician calling a group of his constituents buffoons?


     24 days ago

    They were buffoons. You should never be reactive. You should be proactive. Standing there with tape over your mouths because you arent being heard is a paradox. It's not the way to get things done. You dont sit or stand and just complain. You get things done. How does one listen to the concerns of their constituents if they arent speaking their concerns because they've taped up their mouths?

  • Jay Sucks At YouTube

     1 months ago

    Ah, a body of water with equal rights.*How Eerie.*

  • c. j. macq

     23 days ago

    sorry, but if this lake has legal rights then its nothing like me.

  • Zokizzy Foshizzy

     1 months ago

    Natives recognized the safety of nature without a bill of rights.

  • Kaziglu1

     13 days ago

    @Flash803 SQBZ It's okay to be white

  • Expirations

     29 days ago

    bippity boppitythe lake is no longer property

  • EScarz

     26 days ago

    Expirations this definitely deserves more credit

  • Zuzu

     1 months ago

    If earth has legal rights, it'd sue the human race immediately

  • Blue.berry. pancake

     1 months ago

    Flint Michigan: am I a joke to you

  • John K

     21 days ago

    Blue.berry. pancake No one cares about flint.

  • Richard T

     1 months ago

    It's really disgusting along the Fort Erie/Buffalo shore line....

  • A lone Cockroach

     1 months ago

    Even worse here in Rochester.

  • Zinfiny

     1 months ago

    I live literally 1 minute away from lake Erie it's like in my back yard and as I grow up it looks more disgusting I refuse to even down in it now and most places restrict it it's not sandy it's very rocky most rocks are big Like 4x the size of a fist and are sharp enough to cut you the water is so pollutes if you had goggles then you can't see more then 5 centimeters ahead of you.Yea it's pretty bad to say the least

  • Barney Jobes

     6 days ago

    Zinfiny -- As you say, Lake Erie is already at the present time now polluted big time, so this move is probably trying to stop more pollution in the future.