19 Sep '12, 1pm

After a 140-year battle in court, New Zealand’s Whanganui River is officially a person:

After a 140-year battle in court, New Zealand’s Whanganui River is officially a person:

Now that’s I’m a person, do you think I could maybe get a beer? (Photo by 25kim .) Rivers are so cool. You can boat on them, swim in them, jump into them from rope swings while stoned and wearing jorts. But haven’t you always wanted to grab a drink with a river? Introduce it to your girlfriend, see if it wants to come with you to see Merle Haggard? Well, New Zealand’s Whanganui River is officially a person now , so go ahead. To be fair, the river might still have a hard time drinking a beer. But it does get some legal benefits for being a person, such as official custodians — New Zealand’s government and the indigenous Whanganui iwi — and status as “an integrated, living whole,” i.e. don’t treat it like a toilet for fertilizer. We assume it will also be able to influence American elections, since that’s what happened last time a non-person got legal personhood status. We a...

Full article: http://grist.org/list/new-zealand-river-is-officially-a-p...

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