Rights of Nature: A Post-Anthropocentric Inevitability?
transforms the 'Rights of Nature' movement from a utopian desire to a functioning prototype. The artist, Natalie Jeremijenko
, created this 'co-working' space in which the 'co' refers to two kinds of co-workers: human and trees. She equipped the space with all the requirements of a contemporary office (high speed internet) as well as the requirements of environmental conservations (locally generated renewable energy). The work elicits a parallel consideration regarding the tree. What inputs do trees need to function? How will these needs be converted into rights that are protected by law?
There are legal precedents for her action. In recent years, rights granted to nonhuman entities have taken two forms. Corporations recently became the beneficiaries of a Supreme Court ruling that provides organizations the identical privileges as humans, and these rights are guaranteed by law. 'Nature' is gradually emerging as the other recipient of inherent 'rights'. New Zealand, for example, granted an 821 square mile forest the legal rights and status of a person. Other legal precedents include the Bolivian Rights of Mother Earth document. and the larger contemporary Rights of Nature Movement.
Those who choose to utilize the TreeXOffice pay a rental fee,creating a Tree-as-Landlord, which encapsulates dilemmas that are applicable to any non-human entity: “Why should I pay a tree?”
“How does a TREE spend the rental income?”
Jeremijenko explains, “The tree spends revenue in the tree’s own interest. Like other organizations the tree will maximize its revenue–a cloud data storage is newest service, the capacity is indexed to the Leaf Area Index. The tree invest its profits wisely in a diverse portfolio designed to maximize its returns-on-investment in both the short term and long term. There is an emphasis on a radical transparency and accountability in the corporate structure (in which TRExOFFICE participants are shareholders) and a transparent and Open Accounting system that reveals investments made, planned and realized. These include investments into:
+ uber urban pollination services, in the form of pollinator highways and butterfly bridges because the mutualisms between trees and insects;
+ soil building and augmentation in the form of biochar, anaerobic digest and developing distributed local waste-2-energy system to secure the rhizosphere effect and local hydrological control.
….. The success of the TREExOFFICE and the return on investment a healthy urban environment and a head-start on redesigning our collective relationship to natural systems.
In sum, this new model of architecture benefits the trees, people, birds, mammals, insects, mycorrhiza, soil microbial diversity, and the hundreds of organisms directly dependent on the tree for survival, as well as the human health benefits associated with a healthy urban ecosystem. In this manner the project demonstrates mutualistic systems: business, public sector and natural systems.
Readings on the TREExOFFICE, a Public Experiment: