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The Goldman Environmental Prize: How Designating This Saltwater Lagoon as a Legal Person Could Ensure Its Survival

Mar Menor, Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon in southeastern Spain, has been facing environmental challenges like algal blooms and fish die-offs. Professor Teresa Vicente campaigned for legal personhood rights for the lagoon, eventually succeeding in 2022. The lagoon now has the right to conservation and protection, with new bodies overseeing enforcement. Vicente hopes this new approach will help reduce pollution and restore the area. While Mar Menor is still in recovery, the legal protection gives hope for a dignified future. Vicente’s work highlights the importance of democratizing environmental protection and empowering citizens to advocate for nature.


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