In 2023 a group of citizens in Thuringia, 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 Thuringia provides a process for state constitutions to be amended via citizen referendums, which occurs in three stages. Advocates of the initiative must collect 5,000 valid signatures within 6 weeks to complete the first phase. If this is achieved, the process will move to a second phase with 2 options:
1) Choosing the the office collection, the signature sheets are displayed for registration in all municipalities of the Free State of Thuringia. Then eight percent of those eligible to vote must sign for the petition within two months;
2) In the case of free collection, the initiators must obtain the signatures of ten percent of those eligible to vote within four months. The supporters can revoke their signatures until the end of the collection period for the free collection.
This is followed by a third phase requiring a majority of those voting and at least 40% approval of all those entitled to vote is required.
The proposal is to amend Article 3(2) of the Thuringia Constitution. The original text of Article 3(2) reads: “Everyone has the right to the free development of his personality, provided that he does not infringe the rights of others or violate the constitutional order.” The proposed amendment seeks to change Article 3(2) to read “Everyone has the right to the free development of his personality, insofar as he does not violate the rights of others and the rights of the natural environment or does not violate the constitutional order.”