BAR HARBOR — Maya K. van Rossum, activist, community organizer and Green Amendment movement founder, will speak at the next College of the Atlantic Human Ecology Forum on Tuesday, Nov. 5 at 4:10 p.m. in the McCormick Lecture Hall.
She will make the case for constitutional amendments to protect people’s right to pure water, clean air and a healthy environment.
“van Rossum, who is the Delaware Riverkeeper and founder of Green Amendments For The Generations, says that after a decades-long fight for a cleaner environment, American laws are now designed to accommodate pollution rather than prevent it,” a statement from COA said. “People feel powerless when it comes to preserving the quality of their water, air, public parks, and special natural spaces.”
The solution, van Rossum argues, is to bypass the laws and turn to the state and federal constitutions. In 2013, van Rossum and her team won a watershed legal victory that not only protected Pennsylvania communities from frackers, but affirmed the constitutional right of people in the state to a clean and healthy environment.
Following this victory, van Rossum inaugurated the Green Amendment movement, dedicated to empowering every community in the U.S. to mobilize for constitutional change to secure real protection for the environment.
“We all have the right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment,” van Rossum said. “It’s time to claim that right — for our own sake and that of future generations.”
Green Amendments For The Generations is a grassroots nonprofit organization inspiring a nationwide movement to secure constitutional recognition and protection of environmental rights in every state and ultimately at the federal level. van Rossum also leads the watershed advocacy organization Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and for 25 years has worked to protect the health of the Delaware River and its tributaries.
van Rossum was a lead petitioner in the 2013 landmark Robinson Township, Delaware Riverkeeper Network, et. al. v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case. Since the launch of Green Amendments For The Generations, constitutional amendments have been proposed in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and West Virginia.
An activist, attorney, strategist and community organizer, van Rossum was named one of the 10 Most Influential People of 2015 When It Comes to Energy Issues by SNL Energy and is author of “The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment,” which was selected as the 2018 Living Now Evergreen Awards GOLD Winner in the Nature Conservation category.