What is a Green Amendment & Why Do We Need Them?
Green Amendments are self-executing provisions added to the bill of rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and a healthy environment. Read more about why Green Amendments are important:
An Emmy Nominated Show
Here’s The Story, an Emmy nominated show that premiered in 2011 and is produced by acclaimed journalist Steve Rogers, is now featuring a multi-part series featuring the Green Amendment movement. The show joins Maya as she explores the history of the Green Amendment movement and meets with environmental, political and legal leaders key to the movements past, present and future. Among those interviewed is NJ Governor Phil Murphy, PA Senator Franklin Kury who originally conceived of the idea for PA, and the chief justice who wrote the iconic opinion that helped launch the movement.
You can watch the show, see Facebook live chats with some of the key players, and see the full interviews that were conducted as part of the show here: Here’s the Story: The Green Amendment
The Book That Started a Movement
The Green Amendment: Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment, written by Green Amendments For the Generations Founder Maya van Rossum, lays out an inspiring new agenda for environmental advocacy, one that will finally empower people, level the playing field, and provide real hope for communities everywhere. The Green Amendment was selected as the 2018 Living Now Evergreen Awards GOLD Winner in the Nature Conservation category. The book also received an honorable mention from the 2017 Foreword Indies Book of the Year awards in the category ecology and environment.
A Letter from Maya K. van Rossum: Racial Justice Demands Constitutional “Green Amendments”
Read GAFTG Founder, Maya van Rossum’s open letter calling for environmental and racial justice, which offers a tangible pathway to change. Check out the moving video piece in which 24 diverse leaders and activists joined van Rossum in delivering the letter.
Support Green Amendments For the Generations!
Learn More Below
Factsheets & Materials
- The Green Amendment, The People's Fight For a Clean, Safe & Healthy Environment —The Book
- What is a Green Amendment Fact Sheet
- Demanding and Defending Your Rights to Clean Air, Clean Water, & a Healthy Environment
- How Green Amendments Protect Key Environmental Rights -- Expert Analysis by Founder M.K. van Rossum for Law360 (published in Law360)
- Constitutional Green Amendments: Making Environmental Justice a Reality, (published in American Bar Association Natural Resources & Environment Journal)
- Green Amendments Will Empower Environmental Protection (published in Bloomberg Law article)
- Green Amendment Checklist: Essential Elements of an Effective Environmental Rights Amendment
- The Intersection of Green Amendments & Rights of Nature (published by FastCompany)
- Green Amendment as Compared to Rights of Nature, Green New Deal & Youth Climate Litigation -- Different Concepts With Different Benefits
- How To Implement & Apply a Green Amendment
- Protections Offered with Trust Language in a Green Amendment
- Green Amendments: Giving Constitutional Power to Environmental Justice, Fact Sheet
- Environmental Law Institute (ELI) Dialogue: Green Amendments; Vehicles for Environmental Justice, Panel Discussion Fall 2021
- Using Green Amendments to Strengthen Environmental Justice
- Benefits of a Constitutional Provision Protecting Environmental Rights
- Green Amendment Frequently Asked Questions & Their Answers
- Green Amendments, Properly Placed and Written, Are A Restraint On Governmental Authority - Article By Team of Attorneys that Successfully Argued PA Case
- General Community Green Amendment Information Sheet
- Misconceptions & Application of Green Amendments, by Todd Ommen, Professor at Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, printed in ABA magazine
- THE GREEN AMENDMENT: An Idea Whose Time It Has Always Been, by Gerald J. Williams, Esq.
- Constitutional Environmental Rights Worldwide, A Research Paper
- While many states pursue Green Amendments via the legislative path, there are some that have the opportunity to use Citizens Initiatives, that's how Florida is doing it. To learn if the Citizens Initiative path is an opportunity in your state check out this great resources compiled in 2023 by Wendi Lederman for Green Grassroots Election Protection Coalition: States With Citizen Initiatives 2023
Webinars & Video Content
- The Green Amendment Films Series
- Legislative Briefing: 50th Anniversary of PA's Green Amendment
- The Impact of Pennsylvania Green Amendments on Decisionmaking in Pennsylvania
- Pennsylvania's Environmental Rights Amendment in Practice
- Here’s the Story: Rivers — PBS/NJTV
- State Legislators On the Importance of Green Amendments, NCEL video
- NYWEA: A NY Constitutional Amendment
- A New York Green Amendment Webinar Series
- A Maine Green Amendment with Maine Climate Action Now
- For an overview of the value of the Green Amendment approach - watch CT NOFA address
- More video content available on Youtube
- Watch & Listen: press, podcast, & media content
Good Models To Help Guide Your Green Amendment Effort
- Model Green Amendment Language Options to Guide Your State Proposal
- Model Resolution Supporting Green Amendment to the NJ State Constitution
- Model Resolution Supporting Green Amendment to the NY State Constitution
- Sample Letter of Support for a NY Green Amendment
- New Jersey Green Amendment Petition
- Response to Business Opposition to a Green Amendment for New York 4.23.18
Resources for Teachers/Educators
- Green Amendment Teacher Guide (Print | Screen) using first edition of book
- Student Guide and more
- Article: How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change — & Why You Have To
Se puede explorar nuestras materiales aqui
- Que es un Enmienda Verde?
- Exigiendo y defendiendo tu derecho a agua limpia, aire limpio, y un ambiente saludable
- Enmienda Verde lista de control
- Protecciones ofrecidas incorporando el lenguaje de un fideicomiso en la Enmienda Verde de un Estado
- Haciendo que la justicia ambiental sea una obligación real del gobierno
How Green Amendments Are Helping in PA, MT & NY
- Robinson Twp, Delaware Riverkeeper Network et.al. v. Commonwealth: pro-fracking law defeated as unconstitutional
- PEDF v. Commonwealth: misappropriation of environmental funds secured through fracking leases on public lands a constitutional concern
- Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. PADEP re Bishop Tube: failure of state to act to address decades of high level site contamination is a constitutional concern
- Marple Township Commissioners Rely on Art 1 Section 27: reject damaging development that would have devastated treasured woodland, the Don Guanella Woods
- PFAS Protections: Pennsylvania Government Advances PFAS Standards to Protect Environmental Rights & Fulfill Constitutional Green Amendment Obligation
- PEDF IV: Supreme Court speaks to the constitutional environmental rights of future generations.
- Center Coalfield Justice v. PADEP: longwall coal mining permit revision unlawful as constitutional violation
- Friends of Lackawanna v. PADEP: landfill renewal permit ordered modified to address historic groundwater contamination
- PA Attorney General Empanels Grand Jury to investigate systemic failures of government regards to the environmental and community impacts fracking
- PA Attorney General is routinely using the PA Green Amendment to support environmental protection efforts
- Gov Wolf Vetoes law that prohibited communities from instituting plastic ban protections
- PA Public Utilities Commission re Transource Powerline: PUC Administrative Law Judge recommends denial of powerline approval that later adopted by the PUC Commissioners.
- Marple Township v Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission: affirming obligation of all government to conduct a constitutionally-based environmental assessment of proposed action as part of decision making.
- MEIC v. Montana DEQ: industrial gold mining permit rescinded for failure to consider and protect natural resources
- Cape France Enterprises v. Estate of Peed: court rejected ordering specific performance of a drilling contract that could have contaminated groundwater supply
- Park Cty Envtl Council & Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. MT DEA & Lucky Minerals: gold mining exploration license vacated and state law deemed unconstitutional for exempting activities from essential environmental reviews.
- Held v. State of Montana: Youth Climate Legal Action withstands motion to dismiss largely because of environmental rights (in other states without a Green Amendment similar cases have been dismissed).
- Fresh Air For The East Site v. New York: first decision utilizing NY Green Amendment in context of a landfill.
- Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et al v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania., PA Sup. Ct. Dec. 19, 2013 - Plurality Opinion
- PEDF v. Commonwealth, PA Sup Ct., June 20, 2017
- Montana Environmental Info Ctr V. Dept of Envtl Quality, MT Sup Ct, 1999
- Park County Envtl Comm'n & Greater Yellowstone Coalition v. MT DEQ & Lucky Minerals, MT Sup. Ct., Dec 8 2020
- Fresh Air for the Eastside, Inc. v. State of New York, Supreme Court State of New York County of Monroe, Dec 7. 2022
- Fresh Air For The East Side v. Town of Perinton, Supreme Court State of New York County of Monroe, Dec. 8, 2022
- The Constitutional Question to Save the Planet: The Peoples’ Right to a Healthy Environment By Franklin Kury. Buy it at your local bookstore or order on Amazon.
- Advocating for the Environment" How to Gather Your Power and Take Action By Susan B. Inches. Buy at your local bookstore or order here or on Amazon.