Are the laws of the United States fitted for sustainability? Our guest today, attorney Maya van Rossum, argues that it is time for a new approach, environmental constitutionalism. She is adjunct professor and director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Temple’s Beasley School of Law and founder of Green Amendments for the Generations, a campaign to add environmental amendments to state and the U.S. constitutions. Our evolving insights into the uneven health, economic, racial, and social impacts of climate change demand that we rethink our approach to legislation and the Constitution. We need to enable the creation of laws and policies that will make a tangible difference for the marginalized victims of climate change and future generations, not just the voters who are alive today.
The second edition of Maya’s book, The Green Amendment: the People’s Fight to Secure a Clean, Safe, & Healthy Environment, will be published by Disruption Books in November. We have made it legal to pollute, sometimes after jumping through a few hoops, but legal to pollute almost anywhere in the United States. A green amendment isn’t the silver bullet, but it can be the yeast to activate a vibrant legal and political discussion that, over time, can lead to significant changes. You can learn more about Maya and Green Amendments for the Generations at forthegenerations.org.