Liberals are now campaigning for plant rights
If proposals calling for rights for animals are on the table, why not rights for other living things? Plants, for instance.
the future of nonhuman rights
Championing Life And Liberty For Animals
After all, plants can sometimes exhibit humanlike behavior. And we’re not just talking about the butterwort-flytrap hybrid in The Little Shop of Horrors. Some plants respond well to music. Some “smell” other plants. Still others seem to shrink away when touched.
Plants display remedial types of memory and possess “anoetic consciousness” — the ability of an organism to sense and to react to stimulation — writes Daniel Chamovitz in his 2012 book, What a Plant Knows: A Field Guide to the Senses.
And, according to recent reports from a research team led by Australian biologist Monica Gagliano, some plants (such as chili peppers) may be able to “hear” other plants (such as sweet fennel). “We know that plants recognize what is growing next to them,” Gagliano says in the University of Western Australia’s University News. “There is chemical communication between them. Plants can warn other plants of a predator by releasing a chemical, and the warned plants can release chemicals to make themselves unpalatable to the predator.”
She says, “I think we might realize that plants are more sensitive than we think.”
Sensitive enough to deserve rights? Some people think so.
In 2013, the Pennsylvania-based Nonhuman Rights Project, led by attorney Steven Wise, plans to file a series of lawsuits in hopes that one high court in one American state will finally recognize that a nonhuman plaintiff can be a legal “person” in the eyes of the law.
If Wise and his group are successful, they will break new ground by securing humanlike rights for nonhumans. The result could open all kinds of possibilities for the rights of other nonhuman entities.
Advocates for plant rights and robot rights are already planning for the future. If they eventually succeed, it could bring sweeping changes to the way we live. This three-part series on the Future of Nonhuman Rights explores the people and ideas that may bring radical change to legal systems — and societies — around the world.