In 2023 a group of citizens in Berlin, Germany, affiliated with the national Network for the Rights of Nature, drafted an initiative to hold a referendum on proposed amendments to Berlin’s constitution recognizing rights of nature. German law in Berlin provides a process for state constitutions to be amended via citizen referendums, which occurs in three stages. Advocates of the initiative must collect 50,000 valid signatures to complete the first phase. If this is achieved, the process will move to a second phase requiring 613,000 signatures, followed by a third phase requiring 1,200,000 signatures to hold the vote, which will require a simple majority to pass.
The proposal is to amend Article 7 of the Berlin Constitution. The original text of Article 7 reads: “Everyone has the right to free development of his personality, provided that he does not violate the rights of others and does not violate the constitutional order or moral law.” The proposed amendment seeks to change Article 7 to read “Everyone shall have the right to free development of his personality and the freedom to do anything, provided he does not violate the rights of others and the rights of the natural environment and does not violate the constitutional order or the moral law.”