When it comes to protecting the environment, our existing laws have failed us.
So says environmental activist Maya van Rossum. In her new book, The Green Amendment, she says existing laws don't ban pollution or development.
She writes, "Industries are perfectly able to pollute the air and water not in spite of, but because of, the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act – they simply need the right permits to do so."
Van Rossum believes Flint's poisoned water is a reminder that in most places, there is no recognition of our right to clean water.
She thinks adding a "green amendment" to our state constitutions and, eventually, our federal constitution, would ensure that government at all levels would protect our environmental rights.
Maya van Rossum is the Delaware Riverkeeper, as well as author of The Green Amendment.
A definition of “environmental constitutionalism”
Environmental constitutionalism means “securing a constitutional provision that’s placed in the Bill of Rights section of our state and federal constitutions,” van Rossum said.
She said the goal is to “ensure that our rights to a healthy environment are given the highest level of legal protection possible in the United States of America.”
“And that our rights to a healthy environment are protected on par with the other rights that we hold dear, like the right to freedom of speech, freedom of press, our religious freedoms, as well as our private property rights and more.”
For the full conversation, listen above.