Attorney, activist and author Maya K. van Rossum is touring Connecticut this week to promote her book, “The Green Amendment: The People’s Fight for a Clean, Safe, and Healthy Environment,” and to talk about the Green Amendment movement.
Van Rossum will be in New Haven, Hartford and Middletown from April 19 to 22, including at UConn School of Law on Friday, April 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the William F. Starr Reading Room.
The Green Amendment movement was started by van Rossum and aims to make environmental rights a constitutional right. Green Amendments For The Generations, a nonprofit organization started by van Rossum, is working on codifying these amendments in each state’s constitution, as well as in the U.S. Constitution.
Though people’s rights to a clean and stable environment may seem like a given, van Rossum said that not having these rights explicitly stated as law makes environmental justice incredibly difficult to achieve. According to van Rossum, putting these rights in writing would make it much easier for individuals and groups to advocate for themselves.
“It’s so obvious that it’s overlooked,” van Rossum said.
So far, three states have passed these amendments: New York, Montana and Pennsylvania, with 15 more states having active amendment proposals, including Connecticut.
The Connecticut House of Representatives proposed the Environmental Rights Amendment to the State Constitution in January 2023. House Joint Resolution No. 37 reads, “Each person of the state of Connecticut shall have an individual right to clean and healthy air, water, soil and environment; a stable climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems; for the benefit of public health, safety and the general welfare.”
The proposed amendment will be on the general election ballot in November 2024.
“This amendment gives the ultimate power to the people,” van Rossum said. “The ability to get up and quote the Constitution as part of their advocacy is incredibly empowering for people.”
More details about van Rossum’s tour can be found here.
Information about Connecticut’s Environmental Rights Amendment proposal and how to get involved can be found here.
I would like the pesticide use on lawns in CT to be banned, but I don’t know how to go about doing this. My yard and gardens are organic, but my neighbors on both sides have pesticides applied to their lawns. I have no honeybees, although every year I plant flowers they would normally come to, plus I have perennials for them.