"For Serres, nature could no longer be understood as inert resource materials available for limitless appropriation. Instead, ecosystems should be conceptualized as living and vibrant agents with which humans were co-existing in constant and delicate interactions. The necessary transformations were at the same time epistemic and legal, philosophical and political. Ceasing to be passive objects, non-humans should be included inside a new form of social contract that would encompass all those things we have left outside our definitions of the social. The natural contract advocates for a new legal-ecology that Serres calls “rights of symbiosis”, a political-epistemic frame in which humans and non-humans share a common legal status. “Rights of symbiosis are defined by reciprocity: however much nature gives man, man must give that much back to nature, now a legal subject." As history has made humans equivalent to natural forces, reversely, nature should be endowed with the same rights as the ones conquered by humans along history."
support reading: Common Rights
Talk at BARD:
Because nature has become a central space to which cultural and political rights are bound, with increasing frequency and relevance, ecological systems tend to inhabit the courtrooms of national and trans-national forums as potential witness of legal violations. As the Earth enters in the legal arena, the scientific and documentary techniques employed to mediate its “testimony” appear as sites through which the construction of historical-political narratives are disputed. Following the histories inscribed in murky earth-samples extracted from the soils of an environmental disaster zone in the Amazon, this presentation attempt to map out the messy assemblages of scientific practices, ngo-advocay, international law and global geopolitics that gathers around nature. Shattering the limits of pre-defined forums, nature participates in a scale-less political construct that connects the particular and the universal by articulating ethical engagements in the name of humanity with the contingency of material history. Animated by a legal court, organic-matter becomes vibrant and talkative entities whose opaque speech calls for a "radical universality" according to which human and non-human rights are mutually constitutive and interdependent.