The Green Amendment

Paperback $16.99
316 pages
ISBN: 978-1-63331-021-6
Published Nov 2017

Ebook $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-63331-022-3

Media Inquiries: Madeleine Ball,

Twitter: @delRiverkeeper

The Green Amendment

Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment

Maya K. van Rossum

The Constitutional Change We Need to Protect Our Priceless Natural Resources

For decades, activists have relied on federal and state legislation to fight for a cleaner environment. And for decades, they’ve been fighting a losing battle. The sad truth is, our laws are designed to accommodate pollution rather than prevent it. It’s no wonder people feel powerless when it comes to preserving the quality of their water, air, public parks, and special natural spaces.

But there is a solution, argues veteran environmentalist Maya K. van Rossum: bypass the laws and turn to the ultimate authority—our state and federal constitutions.

In 2013, van Rossum and her team won a watershed legal victory that not only protected Pennsylvania communities from ruthless 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 American community to mobilize for constitutional change.

Now, with The Green Amendment, van Rossum lays out an inspiring new agenda for environmental advocacy, one that will finally empower people, level the playing field, and provide real hope for communities everywhere. Readers will discover:

  • how legislative environmentalism has failed communities across America,

  • the transformational difference environmental constitutionalism can make,

  • the economic imperative of environmental constitutionalism, and

  • how to take action in their communities.

We all have the right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment. It’s time to claim that right—for our own sake and that of future generations.

"Constitutional protection of natural and human communities may be our best hope for survival."

Bradley M. Campbell, President of the Conservation Law Foundation, former Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and former Regional Administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

"A rallying cry not only for conservationists and wildlife biologists, but for pediatricians, teachers, psychologists, architects, city planners--everyone who is concerned about the welfare of all species, including human beings. Please read this important book."

Richard Louv, chairman emeritus of the Children & Nature Network and author of LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS and THE NATURE PRINCIPLE

"The Green Amendment asks us to imagine a world in which the right to pure water and healthy air exist on par with due process and free speech--and then shows us how to make it so."

Sandra Steingraber, PhD, author of LIVING DOWNSTREAM and RAISING ELIJAH, recipient of the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, and co-founder of New Yorkers Against Fracking

"If we were writing our Constitution for the first time today, wise leaders would surely insert protections for our environment."

Bill McKibben, author of RADIO FREE VERMONT

". . . you will be inspired by the notion, transformed into a call for a constitutional amendment, that we, the people, have always had more power than we thought."

A. R. Ingraffea, PhD, PE, Dwight C. Baum Professor of Engineering Emeritus and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow at Cornell University
Maya K. van Rossum

About The Author

Maya K. van Rossum is a veteran environmentalist who joined the Delaware Riverkeeper Network in 1994 as executive director and since 1996 has served as the Delaware Riverkeeper, championing the rights of over 17 million people to a free-flowing, clean, and healthy Delaware River and its tributary streams.

In 2013, van Rossum was one of the original petitioners in the landmark Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case. That case led to a watershed legal victory that strengthened the state’s Environmental Rights Amendment, protecting people’s right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment.

She is a licensed attorney in three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia. Since 2002, she has served as an adjunct professor and director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Temple’s Beasley School of Law, which she founded.

van Rossum lives in Delaware County Pennsylvania with her family.

Return to Books