Live Water Alliance advocates for recognizing the rights of nature |

Live Water Alliance advocates for recognizing the rights of nature

A boat propels across Grand Lake in this 2020 file photo.
Ian MacDonald/Sky-Hi News archive

The rights of nature have a global movement behind them. Recognizing the rights often means giving nature a legal standing similar to personhood and allowing people to invoke the rights in defense of nature. 

The rights of nature resolution that Live Water Alliance helped prepare for Grand Lake had no legislative basis, though, Ken Fucik said. Fucik works with the alliance and helped present the resolution to Grand Lake’s trustees. 

“The resolution doesn’t hold the town (to) or have it to do something that can generate some sort of legal action,” Fucik said. “It basically says it’s a statement of support.” 

Live Water, a coalition of Three Lakes Watershed Association, the Rocky Mountain Wooden Boat School, the Upper Colorado River Watershed Group and Outstanding Grand Lake, originally came together to put on the Live Water ‘22 event in July. Fucik said the alliance has gone on to explore ways of building a grassroots movement focused on water conservation.

The rights of nature resolution in Grand Lake helps build that movement by showing a commitment from the town to consider rights of nature, the lake and its watershed when making decisions that could impact them. Fucik said having community support gives Live Water and other environmental groups more power at the ballot box.

“We have heard from several levels of government that for us to accomplish our goals, we have to have a broad coalition of support behind us,” Fucik said. Our strength is in the people, the communities. It’s not in lobbyists or money to spend for lobbyists to go down to the legislature and make things happen.”

In late June, Grand Lake’s trustees had their town lawyer look over the original draft and make changes to ensure it would not lead to litigation against the town. A month and a half later, the board approved an updated version with some language changed to make the town’s responsibilities more vague.

Fucik said the changes did not bother Live Water.

“It protected what we wanted the outcome to be,” Fucik said. “We’re in alliance with the town on the changes they made.”

Live Water has talked to other groups and communities about having other towns adopt rights of nature, Fucik said. Nederland and Ridgeway adopted rights of nature resolutions before Grand Lake, and Fucik hopes to see more communities do the same.

“The more and more that communities say, ‘Hey, we support the rights of nature,’ It’s a way for us to protect our water resources in Colorado,” Fucik said. “(There are) things happening that are impactful to our water resources, and nothing is being done to mitigate those impacts.”

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