What is a Green Amendment?
Green Amendments are self executing provisions added to the bill of rights section of a constitution that recognize and protect the rights of all people. regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or income, including future generations, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
What's Happening in New Mexico?
Exciting news for the New Mexico Green Amendment: On January 19, the first day of NM’s 2021 Legislative Session, Joint Senate Resolution 3, a resolution to amend the New Mexico Constitution in order to add enforceable environmental rights, was introduced by Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Senator Bill Soules and Representative Joanne Ferrary and was referred to the Senate Rules Committee, followed by Senate Judiciary Committee. The effort by one Senator to argue the amendment would be economically harmful to the state and so should have to go through a Finance Committee review as well was challenged by Senator Sedillo Lopez and in response was rescinded.
The passionate support for the Green Amendment is evident in that the amendment proposal was pre-filed by the sponsors on the very first day legislators could do so for the 2021 legislative session - January 4. Senator Mimi Stewart, Senator Harold Pope, Jr., Representative Tara Luján and Representative Andrea Romero are signing on as co-sponsors.
On February 8, the Senate Rules Committee voted 7-4 in favor of an updated version of SJR 3, which was crafted by the bill sponsors. The amendment will now go before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
The Joint Resolution proposes amending the state constitution’s Bill of Rights to recognize and protect the rights of all of the people of New Mexico “to a clean and healthy environment, including water, air, soil, flora, fauna, ecosystems and climate, and to the preservation of the natural, cultural, scenic and healthful qualities of the environment”; to ensure these rights are protected for present and future generations; and to designate all the state’s government officials as trustees of the natural resources of the state constitutionally obligated to “conserve, protect and maintain” them.
This is a very exciting step in the efforts of the people of New Mexico to secure protection of their environmental rights at the highest level. Our work to educate and inspire legislators and communities on the power and importance of a NM Green Amendment is more important than ever now through March 20, which marks the close of the NM legislative session.
Wondering how the language will read? And top talking points to educate yourself and others? Find both here.
New Mexico organizational support for a state Green Amendment is on the rise. If you are the leader of an organization, business or other entity, please consider signing our organizational letter of support found here.
New Mexico was selected to be the next state featured in the Here's The Story: The Green Amendment documentary series. Interviews and filming took place in September/October of 2020 with release of multiple episodes expected before the end of the year to help educate and spread the word. You can read Green Amendment Founder Maya van Rossum's reflections on the first part of her trip here.
In 2019 & 2020, Green Amendments For The Generations has met with community leaders, interested legislators, the All Pueblo Counsel of Governors as well as their Natural Resources Committee, and government officials all interested in understanding what a Green Amendment could mean for protect the resources and communities of the state. This video includes highlights of one of our earlier visits to New Mexico.
The proposed New Mexico Joint Resolution reads as follows:
Resolution for Proposing New Mexico Green Amendment Language
SECTION 1. It is proposed to amend Article 2 of the constitution of New Mexico by adding a new section to read:
The people of the state have the natural, inherent and inalienable right to a clean and healthy environment, including water, air, soil, flora, fauna, ecosystems and climate, and to the protection of the natural, cultural, scenic and healthful qualities of the environment.
The protection of the state's environment is hereby declared to be of fundamental importance to health, safety and the public interest.
The state, including it's political subdivision, shall serve as trustee of the natural resources of New Mexico and shall conserve, protect and maintain these resources for the benefit of all the people, including present and future generations.
The provisions of this section are self-executing.
SECTION 2. It is proposed to amend Article 20 of the constitution of New Mexico by repealing Section 21.
SECTION 3. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next general election or at any special election prior to that date that may be called for that purpose.
Organizations Signed On Supporting New Mexico Having a Green Amendment
- Southwest Native Cultures
- Indivisible Nob Hill
- Retake Our Democracy
- Rio Grande Valley Broadband, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Southwest Environmental Center
- Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA)
- National Caucus of Environmental Legislators (NCEL)
- New Mexico Interfaith Power and Light
- Think Like a Bee
- Common Ground Community Trust
- Adelante Progressive Caucus
- Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
- Rio Grande Waterkeeper
- WildEarth Guardians
- Aldo’s Silver City Broadband of the Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Water-Culture Institute
- Albuquerque Wildlife Federation
- 350 New Mexico
- 350 Santa Fe
- Interfaith Worker Justice – New Mexico
- Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
- Amigos Bravos
- Renewable Taos
- Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter
- Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates
- New Mexico Youth Climate Strike
- New Mexico Solar Energy Association
- Rio Grande Return
- Progressive Democrats of America, Central New Mexico
- Pajarito Environmental Education Center
- Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce
- Western Environmental Law Center
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
- Tewa Women United
- NM Healthy Soil Working Group
- Native American Democratic Caucus of NM
- American Planning Association NM
- DPNM Rural Caucus
COVID-19 has certainly impacted the ability to engage as robustly as is needed to ensure everyone understands the values and power of a NM Green Amendment. If you want to help us spread the word by organizing a zoom talk please send an email to GAFTG@ForTheGenerations.org and we will work with you to set it up.