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, including future generations, regardless of race, ethnicity, tribal membership status, socioeconomics or geography, to pure water, clean air, a stable climate, and healthy environments.
What's Happening in New Mexico?
New Mexico environmental, environmental justice, faith and community leaders are already engaging around the important of a New Mexico Green Amendment that will protect the environmental rights and natural resources treasured by all the people of the state.
Benefiting from ongoing discussion, input and education, legislative champions for the amendment have made some valuable changes to the proposed language.
The 2023 New Mexico Green Amendment proposal will read:
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 shall be entitled to clean and healthy air, water, soil and environment; a stable climate; and self-sustaining ecosystems, for the benefit of public health, safety and general welfare. The state shall protect these rights equitably for all people regardless of race, ethnicity, tribal membership status, socioeconomics, or geography.
- The state, counties and municipalities 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. Monetary damages shall not be awarded for a violation of this section. This section is enforceable against the state, counties and municipalities.
SECTION 2. It is proposed to amend Article 20 of the constitution of New Mexico by repealing Section 21.
New Mexico organizational support for a state Green Amendment continues to rise. If you are the leader of an organization, business or other entity, please consider signing your organization on as a supporter here. You will be included in ongoing education opportunities, benefit from informational materials, and be included in regular updates on opportunities for your organization and members to be engaged. A full list of organizational supporters, along with links to their websites, can be found below.
History of the New Mexico Green Amendment to bring you up to speed:
2022 marked a key year of growth for constitutional environmental rights recognition in New Mexico.
On January 5, 2022, House Joint Resolution 02/Senate Joint Resolution 02 -- a resolution to amend the New Mexico Constitution in order to add enforceable environmental rights -- was introduced by Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez and Representative Joanne Ferrary.
New Mexicans made powerful progress during the 2022 thirty day legislative session. After 2 well attended hearings the amendment passed the through the House Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Committee by majority vote. While the amendment was ultimately tabled by the House Judiciary Committee which rendered it unable to make it through the entire legislative process in 2022, the number of legislative supporters, organizational supporters and grassroots supporters swelled as the session progressed.
The NM Green Amendment was a featured item of discussion at the 2022 Walking 4 the Climate Rally held on MLK Day, which helped launch the legislative session. Weekly trainings, Q&A sessions, dissemination of information sheets, and over 2,000 door hangers helped inform the conversation around advancing the Amendment.
Legislative champions Representative Joanne Ferrarry and Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez led the effort at the legislative level and were met with great support from colleagues. The 30 day session is short and there is a lot to be accomplished. All supporters knew it would be a high hurdle going into the session, but were tremendously pleased with the progress. Over 50 New Mexico organizations signed on in support of the NM Green Amendment. And while in 2021 the New Mexico Green Amendment had 5 legislative sponsors, by the end of the 2022 legislative session the amendment secured support from 26 official sponsors including: Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, Representative Joanne Ferrary, Senator Harold Pope, Jr., Senator Bill Soules, Senator Elizabeth “Liz” Stefanics, Senator Gerald Ortiz y Pino, Senator Carrie Hamblen, Representative Tara Lujan, Senator Shannon Pinto, Representative Debbie Sarinana, Senator Linda Lopez, Representative Patricia Roybal Caballero, Senator Bill Tallman, Senator Jeff Steinborn, Representative Kay Bounkeua, Representative Elizabeth “Liz” Thomson, Representative Gail Chasey, Representative Miguel Garcia, Senator Roberto "Bobby" J. Gonzales, Senator Brenda McKenna, Senator Michael Padilla, Senator Nancy Rodriguez, Senator Benny Shendo, Representative Pamela Herndon, Representative Linda Serrato, and Representative Matthew McQueen.
NM Green Amendment legislative champions and supporters have already voiced their enthusiastic support to try again in 2023 when the session will be 60 days long and the NM Green Amendment will be starting from a hard-fought higher foundation of support.
Achieving a New Mexico Green Amendment is imminently doable. Upon securing just a majority vote in each of the legislative houses, the NM Green Amendment will be placed on the ballot for a vote of the people at the next election. While the Governor has the bully pulpit and could be using her voice in support, she does not have an official role in the constitutional amendment process.
In the 2021 legislative session, a very similar amendment (only a few words difference) was the subject of a February 8, 2021 hearing and vote before the Senate Rules Committee who voted 7-4 in favor. From there the amendment proceeded to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it unfortunately languished until the end of the legislative session because of the failure of Senator Cervantes to put it forth for hearing.
Not to be deterred, our legislative champions and growing coalition of organization supporters immediately started gearing up for the 2022 legislative session. 2023 education, outreach and organization is already underway.
MORE EXCITING NEWS
On National Green Amendment Day 2021, the Doña Ana Board of County Commissioners stood in solidarity with many New Mexico organizations and passed a proclamation formally recognizing July 13 as Green Amendment Day.
Read the proclamation here and listen to Senator Carrie Hamblen's powerful remarks on the need for a NM Green Amendment particularly for BIPOC communities. Senator Hamblen is the CEO and President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce and serves as the state Senator for District 38.
New Mexico is being featured in The Green Amendment documentary series. You can read about the journey of interviews and filming in a 3 part reflection series written by our Founder, Maya van Rossum:
- Reflections on the first part of her trip here.
- Reflections on the second part of the trip are available here
- Reflections on the third and final part of the trip are now available - read here!
New Mexico is being featured in the Green Amendment Documentary Series.
Want to see a bit more about the beginning of our NM Green Amendment movement? This video includes highlights of one of our earlier visits and how it all began.
Organizations Signed On Supporting New Mexico Having a Green Amendment
- Sierra Club Rio Grande Chapter
- Common Ground Rising
- Rio Grande Valley Broadband, Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens
- Environmental Justice Caucus Democratic Party of New Mexico
- Retake Our Democracy
- 350 Santa Fe
- Southwest Native Cultures
- Indivisible Nob Hill
- 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
- Adelante Progressive Caucus
- Great Old Broads for Wilderness
- 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
- Interfaith Worker Justice – New Mexico
- Climate Change Leadership Institute
- First Unitarian Church Earth Web Team
- Land Witness Project
- New Mexico Environmental Law Center
- OLÉ! NM
- Defenders of Wildlife
- New Mexico Dream Team
- Earth Web Team
- Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment
- Amigos Bravos
- Renewable Taos
- 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
- Friends of Valle de Oro National Wildlife Refuge
- NM Healthy Soil Working Group
- Native American Democratic Caucus of NM
- American Planning Association NM
- DPNM Rural Caucus
- New Mexico Conference of Churches
- SW Conference of the United Church of Christ
- Office of Justice, Peace and Creation, Catholic Charities of Gallup Diocese
- New Mexico Climate Justice
- People Requiring Equality within Systemic Systems (PRESS) New Mexico
- UNM LEAF
- Water-Culture Institute
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.