45 S. Cal. L. Rev. 450 (1972)
Should Trees Have Standing--Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects

handle is hein.journals/scal45 and id is 452 raw text is: SHOULD TREES HAVE STANDING?-
TOWARD LEGAL RIGHTS FOR
NATURAL OBJECTS
CHIsToPHER D. STONE*
INTRODUCTION: THE UNTHINKABLE
In Descent of Man, Darwin observes that the history of man's moral
development has been a continual extension in the objects of his social
instincts and sympathies. Originally each man had regard only for him-
self and those of a very narrow circle about him; later, he came to regard
more and more not only the welfare, but the happiness of all his fellow-
men; then his sympathies became more tender and widely diffused,
extending to men of all races, to the imbecile, maimed, and other use-
less members of society, and finally to the lower animals .... I
The history of the law suggests a parallel development. Perhaps
there never was a pure Hobbesian state of nature, in which no rights
existed except in the vacant sense of each man's right to self-defense.
But it is not unlikely that so far as the earliest families (including
extended kinship groups and clans) were concerned, everyone outside
the family was suspect, alien, rightless.2 And even within the family,
persons we presently regard as the natural holders of at least some rights
had none. Take, for example, children. We know something of the early
rights-status of children from the widespread practice of infanticide-
* Professor of Law, University of Southern California. A.B. 1959, Harvard; LL.B.
1962, Yale. Chairman, Committee on Law and the Humanities, Association of American
Law Schools. The author wishes to express his appreciation for the financial support
of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
1. C. DARWIN, DEsCENT OF MAN 119, 120-21 (2d ed. 1874). See also R. WArLDER,
PROGRESS AND REvOLUTION 39 et seq. (1967).
2. See DARWIN, supra note 1, at 113-14:
... No tribe could hold together if murder, robbery, treachery, etc., were com-
mon; consequently such crimes within the limits of the same tribe are branded
with everlasting infamy; but excite no such sentiment beyond these limits. A
North-American Indian is well pleased with himself, and is honored by others,
when he scalps a man of another tribe; and a Dyak cuts off the head of an un.
offending person, and dries it as a trophy . . . It has been recorded that an
Indian Thug conscientiously regretted that he had not robbed and strangled as
many travelers as did his father before him. In a rude state of civilization the
robbery of strangers is, indeed, generally considered as honorable.
See also Service, Forms of Kinship in MAN IN ADAPTATION 112 (Y. Cohen ed. 1968).

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