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How Do We Speak for the Trees When Our Human Right to Free Speech is Cut Down?

by Tish O'Dell Feature photo by Rio Davidson

“Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech… or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” 

This First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is well understood to be the most significant legal right in any so-called free society. Without the freedom of the people and the press to exchange ideas and expose corruption, the idea and practice of democracy goes the way of the Truffula tree. We are living in a time when we the people are witnessing more and more of our protected constitutional human rights eroded or taken away at an alarming rate, while also witnessing the expansion of “corporate rights”. As a passionate environmental activist and organizer, working for the recognition of the Rights of Nature, there is some irony and also more than a few “ah-ha” moments over the past decade while studying past history and living current history at the same time.

I grew up believing in the First Amendment and the values expressed in it. Throughout the decades, I thought my limited activism and my rights were genuinely protected by this critical amendment.


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