Reflecting on the Success of Our 3rd Annual Green Amendment Day!
What we’ve been up to in June and July.
Throughout National Green Amendment Day 2023 we shared videos from leaders in the movement speaking about why they are prioritizing the advancement of a Green Amendment in their state. If you missed the videos as they aired Green Amendment Day, you can check them out now:
Our new Green Amendment Action App was bustling with activity on Green Amendment Day. If you haven’t joined already, now is the time! It’s a great space for communities to share information, learn the latest news, and receive notice of time sensitive action opportunities taking place in their state or nationwide.
We will soon be posting exclusive content — including trainings and more — that will only be available on the app. For those who sign up, you will receive your choice of one of four new great Green Amendment stickers to put on your car, window, computer, anywhere to show the world you support constitutional Green Amendment protection for environmental rights and justice.
We ended the 3rd annual Green Amendment Day with a live panel program where 8 knowledgeable attorneys shared real world examples of how Green Amendment Environmental Rights Protections are bringing powerful change to the 3 states that have them. You can watch a recording of the program here.
Montana Youth Climate Litigation Goes to Court – Montana Green Amendment is a Key Foundation For The Case.
In June, a team of youth, lawyers and organizations went to trial, making the case that the failure of Montana state government to address the climate crisis and its ongoing efforts to continue the expansion of fossil fuel extraction, transportation and consumption was a violation of the environmental rights of the 16 youth plaintiffs and all Montanans.
The Montana Green Amendment is an essential foundation for the case. When the government submitted a motion to dismiss, the court made clear multiple times that the plain language of the constitution, and the rights of all Montanans to a “clean and healthful environment” (article II section 3), supports the right of the youth to be heard in court.
While there have been similar cases brought in other states, they were dismissed early on, in no small part because they lacked the essential constitutional language essential to withstand the government’s motion to dismiss.
Green Amendments For The Generations Founder Maya van Rossum was in Montana during the full two weeks of the trial to witness this powerful legal case that already is helping to prove the value and power of constitutional Green Amendment protections.
You can read all about the case and Maya’s day to day summaries at our Discover More page, as well as an overall summary of the case in a piece published by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
NEWS FROM ACROSS THE MOVEMENT
While many legislative sessions have ended for the year, Delaware’s Green Amendment received its first committee hearing and vote in June. The Delaware House Administration Committee voted to pass the state’s proposed Environmental Rights Amendment or a Green Amendment (HB220) through committee, allowing it to advance through the process of amending the state constitution and enshrining the environmental rights of all Delawareans. The amendment, as proposed, would create an individual right for all people of the state to: “a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, healthy soils, ecologically healthy ecosystems, a livable climate, and to the preservation of the natural, cultural, recreational, scenic and healthful qualities of the environment”.
In Florida, where the Green Amendment is advancing by citizen petition, the all-volunteer effort to spread the word and secure the number of petition signatures necessary for the Florida Green Amendment – called the Florida Right to Clean Water – is still in full swing and gaining in momentum and traction. If you want to learn more, sign the petition, or become a volunteer helping with the signature-gathering effort – click here.
Visit our resource library!
Every time there is a new positive legal decision, we write it up and put it on the resources page of our website. So that when you get asked the question – “Does a Green Amendment Really Make a Difference?” – you will be equipped with information to give a positive and informed answer.
New Resource for Green Amendment Advocates
Wonder what goes into creating a Green Amendment?
A new resource is available that can help you understand your state’s proposal or help advance a Green Amendment if you are in a state hoping to have a proposal soon: Green Amendment Check List & Model Language
This tool will help take you beyond the existing amendments in PA, MT and NY and help you make a constitutional entitlement even more clear and powerful!
If you are in a state seeking to launch a new effort, please be sure to include Green Amendments For The Generations to be a partner in the effort: email GAFTG@ForTheGenerations.org.
Taking up the Mantle and Making History
The USA Today family of publications carried Maya van Rossum’s inspirational call for youth to add the Green Amendment as part of their activism to take on climate catastrophe.
As the piece observes, responding to the climate crisis,
“student walkouts and other protests are having an important effect – they are raising public and political awareness of these issues. But it is important for us all to remember that while protest is valuable and empowering, it is a tool. And in order to be successful, it must lead to solutions that recognize and rectify the root cause of the problem.
What is that “root cause” that has allowed so much environmental degradation? It is a system of environmental laws that give legislators the ultimate power to decide how much pollution is acceptable. A system that focuses on legalizing and managing environmental harm through reviews and permits, rather than preventing harm in the first place. And one that has put in place a politically-determined ceiling on the level of environmental protection that can be achieved at all. …
But there is a remedy. Every one of us has a fundamental, natural right to clean water and air, a stable climate, and a healthy environment. Recognizing these rights, and codifying them by adding Green Amendments to the Bills of Rights in our state and Federal constitutions, restores the essential power we need to protect our environment.”
Click here to read the rest of this powerful piece.
Our Green Amendment Movement Needs Your Engagement & Support.
Green Amendments are making powerful change in the 3 states that have them. Not only is Green Amendments For The Generations helping to advance this growing body of law and advocacy success, but we are helping communities in 15 additional states seek their own Green Amendment protections. And we are regularly responding to requests for information and help in a growing number of additional states. To keep this movement growing and to fend off growing industry misinformation campaigns and opposition, we need your support.
Powerful support is building for the National Green Amendment Movement
But so too is the opposition. We need your support so we are able to stand up, fight back, and ensure success for all communities nationwide. Please consider making a contribution to help support transformational environmental protection, environmental justice, climate justice and generational protection.
- ‘Green amendments’: advocates push for constitutional guarantees in face of climate crisis. The Guardian, July 3, 2023.
- Montana’s pro-environment Constitution goes on trial. E&E News, June 12, 2023.
Thursday, August 24 6:30-8:00pm ET
Bloomfield Public Library
From Rhetoric to Reality: Green Amendments as a New Path for Environmental Protection (Virtual)
For more up to date information on our events, please visit https://forthegenerations.org/events/
Schedule an event with Maya here.