What is a Green Amendment?
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. regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
What's Happening in Maryland?
First proposed in, 2018 the Maryland Green Amendment -- called the Environmental Human Rights Amendment -- has been evolving in language and growing in support.
On February 23rd, 2022 the MD Environmental Human Rights Amendment was referred to the House Environment and Transportation Committee for hearing. Shortly thereafter, on March 9, it was the subject of a hearing in front of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. At each hearing there was robust community turnout in support.
While neither hearing on the amendment produced a vote, we now have more time to better educate the people of MD on the power of having their own constitutional Green Amendment so in 2023 the support is even stronger.
The lead sponsor on the Senate side is Senator Will Smith supported by 15 cosponsors, while Delegate Wanika Fisher and 28 cosponsors lead the way in the House. The Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights (MCEHR) is taking the lead in advancing Maryland's Green Amendment -- i.e. the Environmental Human Rights Amendment.
(photo taken by Dan Furmansky of a Baltimore, MD mural)
2022 language advanced by prime sponsors Del Wanika Fisher and Sen Will Smith reads as follows:
WHEREAS, all living things are dependent upon the gifts of a healthful environment; and
WHEREAS, the full expression of human dignity is incompatible with a degraded environment; and
WHEREAS, a sustainable, regenerative ecosystem and stable climate are essential to support a vibrant society and economy; and
WHEREAS, access to a healthy and healthful environment is a birthright of all; now, therefore, let it be enacted:
(A) That each person has a fundamental and inalienable right to a healthful and sustainable environment, and said right shall not be infringed.
(B) That the State, as trustee, shall protect, conserve, and enhance Maryland's natural resources, including its air, lands, waters, wildlife, and ecosystems, for the benefit of both present and future generations.
The list of organizations supporting the Maryland Campaign For Human Rights is strong and growing thanks to the hard work of MCEHR. Go to the link to sign your organization in support.
To stay updated on the progress of the Maryland Green Amendment, visit our Maryland Act Now.
View Fact Sheets, FAQs, Webinars, Education Guides and more on our resources page.
The Annual Rachel Carson Open House in Maryland
May 2019, Maya van Rossum, the founder of the Green Amendments For The Generations movement was honored to deliver the keynote address at the annual Rachel Carson Open House in Maryland, hosted by the Rachel Carson Landmark Alliance, in the same house where Carson wrote the seminal Silent Spring. The mission of the Green Amendment movement resonates with Rachel Carson’s visionary observation that “if the Bill of Rights contains no guarantee that a citizen shall be secure against lethal poisons distributed either by private individuals or public officials, it is surely only because our forefathers, despite their considerable wisdom and foresight, could conceive of no such problems.”
Additional Background on the Maryland Movement
On March 6, 2018, Maryland’s Senate Committee on Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs held a hearing regarding the first modern iteration of a proposed Maryland Green Amendment. The legislative session ended without a vote being taken on the proposal. This was fine because while the proposal had many of the basic fundamentals needed in a successful Green Amendment, there was also some language of concern that Green Amendments For The Generations advocated be removed or changed. You can read about that in the testimony submitted by clicking here.
A second proposal was advanced in 2019, HB 472. The Committee on Environment and Transportation held a hearing on February 20, 2019 with many speaking in support. You can read the testimony submitted by Green Amendments For The Generations founder Maya van Rossum here. Again, no vote was actually taken. And ultimately the proposal was withdrawn for a variety of reasons having nothing to do with the public support for the Maryland Green Amendment or the support of key legislators. It was a political decision but one that should not stop forward progress.
January 2020 Delegate Vaughn Stewart proposed HB 517 with improved language designed to consider the feedback secured from other legislators and the public. View hearing video here.
In 2021 and 2022 the amendment has again been amendment and advanced, most recently by Delegate Wanika Fisher and Senator Will Smith as HB0596.
The community effort to pass a Maryland Green Amendment is growing. If you are interested in being a part of the effort, or have any questions, please get in touch with us.