We live in a time when every group from senior citizens to minorities eagerly asserts their rights. We can now add “Mother Earth” to the list. According to a report in Yahoo News, Bolivian President Evo Morales is preparing a draft United Nations treaty that would give “Mother Earth” the same rights as human beings. Bolivia is leading the way in this fantastical endeavor, having passed a law giving rights to insects, trees and other “natural things.” The treaty would establish a Ministry of Mother Earth and provide the planet with an ombudsman to hear nature’s complaints presented by activist groups and the state.

It would be a mistake to dismiss this “Mother Earth Rights” effort as the silly ramblings of a Bolivian socialist leader. Instead, it should be viewed as a glimpse into the worldview that predominates in much of the modern day environmental movement. Elements of the environmental movement adhere to the concept that “Mother Earth” is a living organism that deserves worship or at least protection — therefore it follows that in order for “Mother Earth” to be protected, it must have its rights.

Michigan lawmakers would be wise to determine if environmental groups that testify on proposed legislation in the state are primarily interested in clean air and clean water or rather are interested in promoting their worldview. It is likely that the vast majority of Michigan residents are interested in environmental stewardship, not environmental religion.