To support the dialogue between science and society, as well as researchers across different disciplines, IRI THESys holds both external and internal events. This includes lecture series, summer universities and panel discussions open to the public, and participative workshops, colloquiums and activities for IRI THESys. Browse through our past and upcoming events to find out more.

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  • Jul

    Guest Lecture by Teresa Vicente

    Ecological Justice and Rights of Nature: Recognizing the Legal Personality of the Mar Menor Lagoon in Southern Spain

    Friday, 5 July 2024, 13.15 -14.45
    @ IRI THESys, Rudower Chaussee 12B, room 3.40

    Rights of Nature have emerged as a legal framework from ecological justice in the same way social rights emerged in the 20th century from social justice. This legal advancement and innovation in basic rights imply progress in equality and the distribution of rights now for ecosystems – while demanding a limit to the unlimited exploitation of natural resources, which has greatly accelerated in the second half of the 20th century. However, recognizing ecosystems as legal entities also brings a series of questions and challenges: how to ensure the legal recognition and representation of those entities that have historically been made invisible and silenced?

    The case of the Mar Menor Lagoon

    In this lecture, we will address the implementation of the rights of nature as a legal framework in Europe by exploring the case of the Mar Menor Lagoon in Southern Spain. Considered the most important saltwater coastal lagoon in the western Mediterranean, the once pristine waters of the Mar Menor have become polluted due to mining, rampant development of urban and tourist infrastructure, and, in recent years, intensive agriculture and livestock farming. After its repeated ecological collapse, the lagoon has been granted legal personhood through a Popular Legislative Initiative that was approved as Law 19/2022, of September 30, in an effort to enhance its conservation. By hearing from Teresa Vicente, one of its main protagonists the history and details of the law, we will explore the legal innovations that this new framework offers for the European context, together with the challenges of implementing and ensuring Mar Menor’s legal recognition and representation.

    Short bio

    Teresa Vicente is a professor of philosophy of law at the University of Murcia, where she also serves as the deputy director of the Center for Cooperation and Development Studies and the director of the Chair of Human Rights and Rights of Nature. Awarded the 2024 Goldman Prize for her ongoing work in environmental activism, Teresa is one of the key figures in the historic grassroots campaign to save the Mar Menor ecosystem from collapse and the main editor and promoter of the recently approved Popular Legislative Initiative that granted the lagoon unique legal rights.