Do You Have a Right to Clean Air, Clean Water, a Stable Climate, and a Healthy Environment?
by Kimberly Stoner, CT Climate Crisis Mobilization
Of course you have a moral right, but, NO, you do not have a legal right to a safe and healthy environment under the Connecticut or US constitutions.
Our legal system protects some rights, but not the right to clean water and air, a stable climate, and healthy environments. Because environmental rights are not recognized, government decision-makers can disregard them in favor of other political or economic priorities.
Our current system of environmental laws accepts pollution and degradation as something to be managed rather than prevented. All communities suffer when there is pollution, environmental degradation, and an unstable climate; and communities of color, indigenous communities, and low-income communities carry a disproportionate burden.
We need a Green Amendment to the Connecticut state constitution — and ultimately to the US Constitution.
Green Amendments require government officials to put environmental protection first at the start of planning, decision-making, and legislating, and regulate industry, development, and the transition to renewable energy. Green Amendments require government officials to avoid/prevent environmental harm, not simply to manage it after the fact.
Green Amendments in Pennsylvania and Montana have been used to overturn state laws expanding fracking and to stop a destructive gold mine at the headwaters of a major river. A new Green Amendment in New York passed in a referendum with 70% of the vote! For more information on Green Amendments, see www.forthegenerations.org.
The Connecticut Climate Crisis Mobilization (C3M) has made this work a major priority. Join us in putting a Green Amendment into the Bill of Rights of the Connecticut Constitution! For more information, visit the website ctclimatecrisismobilization.org.