The Constitutional Change We Need to Protect Our People & Priceless Natural Resources
For decades, activists have relied on federal and state legislation to fight for a cleaner environment. And for decades, they’ve been fighting a losing battle. The sad truth is, our laws are designed to accommodate pollution and legalize environmental degradation rather than prevent them. It’s no wonder people feel powerless when it comes to preserving the quality of their water, air, climate, public parks, and special natural spaces.
But there is a solution, argues veteran environmentalist Maya K. van Rossum: bypass the laws and turn to the ultimate authority — our state and federal constitutions.
Now, with The Green Amendment, the People's Fight to Secure a Clean, Safe & Healthy Environment, 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. Readers will discover:
- how legislative environmentalism has failed communities across America,
- the transformational difference environmental constitutionalism can make for environmental protection,
- the power of environmental constitutionalism for environmental justice, the climate crisis, protecting future generations, and protecting human health,
- the economic imperative of environmental constitutionalism, and
- how to take action in their own communities.
The Green Amendment, featuring a foreword by Mark Ruffalo, is filled with heartbreaking stories of people who have been negatively impacted by our disregard for the environment. Pollution and ecological disasters have damaged their homes. Toxins have sickened their families. Property and health effects shut down businesses and robbed people of the ability to work, ruining their livelihoods.
In response, Maya offers not only hope, but a clear path forward. The first edition of The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment, was selected as the 2018 Living Now Evergreen Awards GOLD Winner in the Nature Conservation category. The Living Now Evergreen Book Medals were founded to “commemorate world- changing books”. The book also received an honorable mention from the 2017 Forward Indies Book of the Year awards in the category ecology and environment.
In the new edition, Maya turns her attention to the often-neglected issues of environmental racism, the climate crisis, the human health devastation caused by environmental degradation, and the importance of protecting future generations from pollution and environmental harm.
Since the release of the first edition nearly five years ago, it’s clear that the conversation has shifted. On the positive side, Maya doesn’t have to spend time convincing any of us that climate change is real and the truth about environmental racism is finally garnering needed attention. Yet the situation for our environment, communities, public health and future generations is more dire than ever. Maya's book is here with solutions; to use our most powerful legal documents - our state and federal constitutions - to remedy the situation.
Under Maya's leadership, the future of legislative environmentalism is a bright one. In November 2021, with over 70% of voters in favor and Maya’s support, New York became the third state (joining Pennsylvania and Montana) to add a Green Amendment to its constitution, and there are active movements in over a dozen other states and counting.
In the 2d edition Maya writes: “No matter where you happen to live, I’m here to say that you should dramatically raise your expectations when it comes to the environment. You have a right to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments. This right is inherent and indefeasible. It belongs to you. Many politicians rail against entitlements … but they’ve got it wrong. Entitlement is not a dirty word. It is a recognition of rights. And make no mistake: when it comes to the environment, you are entitled.”
Get your copy now to learn about the power of environmental constitutionalism. You can get the original version by order directly from Green Amendments For The Generations; and/or pre-order the 2d edition coming November 1.
Consider buying an extra copy to share with a friend. Rest assured, every penny of profit is donated to advancing the Green Amendment movement, not a penny goes into Maya's pocket -- she is dedicated to this powerful pathway for protection.
100% of the proceeds from the sale of The Green Amendment go to Green Amendments For The Generations.
"She writes persuasively and makes a convincing case. It was inspiring to see that grassroots activity combined with good lawyering can still create change."
Professor at Vermont Law School
“Maya’s latest book ….. will help expand readers’ knowledge and understanding of what it means to work to protect our fragile environment and the great efforts it takes to gain the political support that reflects the concerns of the majority of the world.”
New Mexico State Representative
“From her tireless advocacy for the Delaware River watershed and those who love it, Maya van Rossum offers a sobering message: In an era when legislatures and regulatory agencies are hobbled by divisive politics and unable to keep pace with our scientific understanding of threats to public health and the environment, constitutional protection of natural and human communities may be our best hope for survival.”
—Bradley M. Campbell
President of the Conservation Law Foundation, former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and former Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
“Read this book and you will be infuriated and inspired. Infuriated because the book drags you through the environmental muck of fracking, pipelines, PFOA .... But you will be inspired by the notion, transformed into a call for a constitutional amendment, that we, the people, have always had more power than we thought.”
—A. R. Ingraffea, PhD, PE
Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University
"This is activism 2.0. Important, timely, and passionate, The Green Amendment will revolutionize the way we approach our work to protect the environment."
Pennsylvania State Representative, 166th Legislative District
"The Green Amendment asks us to imagine a world in which the right to pure water and healthy air exist on par with due process and free speech—and then shows us how to make it so."
—Sandra Steingraber, PhD
Author of Living Downstream and Raising Elijah, recipient of the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking
"This book is an inspiration and a road map. It empowers individuals to take action to protect our precious air, land and water. The stories of environmental heroism and the legal protections that all of us deserve make a huge contribution to the environmental movement. It is well written, engaging and informative."
—Antoinette Sedillo Lopez
New Mexico State Senator
"It isn't everyday that you have the chance to meet and become enlightened by a folk hero in real time, but that is exactly the feeling I get whenever I am fortunate to be in Maya van Rossum's company, and it is also the impression you receive when reading her book. The beauty of her work and message is its clarity, simplicity and the way in which it, in many ways, is dyed into the very fabric of the American Democracy and the American experience. What's more American than taking to the open road to hear the stories of fellow countrymen and women in an effort to properly use the legal system to protect each and all, particularly those in most need, those who are pursuing happiness while choking on pollutants that many in our system have permitted to permeate our once America the beautiful. We have an American folk hero in our midst and her name is Maya van Rossum."
Emmy-nominated journalist, Producer of NJTV's Here's the Story
"If we were writing our Constitution for the first time today, wise leaders would surely insert protections for our environment. Amendments are hard, of course — there’s a lot of corporate power to overcome — but given the stakes, this is surely an idea worth everyone taking very seriously!"
Author of Radio Free Vermont