New amendments to state constitutions are securing hopeful futures for their residents. Will Michigan follow?
Life. Liberty. The Pursuit of Happiness. Do these words send you back to your seventh-grade government class? They come from our country’s Declaration of Independence. They’re a partial list of self-evident truths. Rooted in the philosophy of John Locke – widely regarded as one of the most famous philosophers of the 18th century – they’ve flowered into our nation’s understanding that we all have certain unalienable rights.
These truths, though not stated explicitly in the U.S. Constitution, have influenced it immensely and shaped subsequent amendments and state’s individual constitutions. Recently, this hope for life, liberty and happiness has been directed to address our globe’s climate emergency.
While it seems sensible that life and liberty means citizens have rights to things like clean water and air, our country’s recent track record on pollution and climate change says otherwise.
Enter the Green Amendments.
What is a Green Amendment?
It started with the movement “Green Amendment for the Generations”. Founder, Maya van Rossum, is envisioning a future in which states are “securing a constitutional right to pure water, clean air, a stable climate & healthy environments, for all people, including future generations, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income.” Slowly, that vision is coming true.
A Green Amendment was first introduced into Montana and Pennsylvania’s state constitutions. As of today, ten other states are also considering bills that could include similar amendments.
Will Michigan be the next?
Now the movement’s founder is ready to have a conversation with Michiganders. Are you interested in being part of the conversation? Well, you can be!
On July 22 from 4:00-5:00 p.m., van Rossum will hold a Zoom call to introduce what a Green Amendment could look like in the Great Lakes State.
To learn more visit the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators’ website.
Register for the conversation about a Green Amendment for Michigan.
Shanley Smith is a life long Hollander, currently working with WMEAC and the Holland Climate Collaborative. Through community organizing and writing she strives to make her hometown a greener place. More of her work can be found on Dimly Lit, where she serves as writer and editor.