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Natural Awakenings, Broward County, Florida

Proposed Florida State Constitutional Amendments — Water

Current statewide efforts of FL5.org are underway to amend the Florida State Constitution to grant legally recognized rights to Florida’s waterways and the right to clean water to Floridians. The drive to collect 900,000 signed petitions for each of the five proposed Right to Clean Water/Rights of Nature amendments seeks particularly to put them on the 2022 ballot.

The amendments, which are described on the FL5.org website, are designed to recognize that people and Florida’s waterways have the right to clean water; increased protection for Florida’s iconic animal species, specifically the Florida black bear, Florida panther, manatee, key deer, Florida scrub jay, bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker, bottlenose dolphin, right whale and marine turtles; ban captive wildlife hunting; increase protection for wetlands; and prohibit construction or expansion of toll roads on conservation and rural lands. Says Florida Rights of Nature Network (FRONN) Director Chuck O’Neal, “The mission is daunting, but doable. We need every Floridian with a voter registration card to download and print the petition, sign, date and mail it within 30 days of signing.”

FRONN is associated with the Rights of Nature (RON) worldwide movement seeking to legally recognize the entitlement of ecosystems to exist, flourish and evolve naturally; the inalienable rights of human beings to clean air, clean water and healthy ecosystems; and the constitutional authority of local governments to declare and defend these rights.

The current regulatory system regards natural property as a simple commodity. Granting legal rights to nature provides it and its human guardians the standing to defend the natural world in court. “Rights provide the highest level of protection under law,” remarks O’Neal. At present, Florida’s waterways only have legal rights in Orange County, where on November 3, FRONN’s campaign for a Right to Clean Water Charter Amendment ended in bipartisan success with 89 percent of voter approval. Download petitions at FL5.org. Print. Sign. Mail to FL5.org, 555 Winderley Pl., Ste. 300, Maitland, FL 32751.