“Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”
This is the new “Green amendment” that was included last week, on November 2, to the New York Constitution’s Bill of Rights. It recognizes the right of every resident of New York to live in a healthy environment.
60.8% of New Yorkers approved the adoption of the amendment in the context of a statewide referendum. With this victory, the State of New York becomes the 3rd state in the USA to recognize the right to a healthy environment. Pennsylvania and Montana have added the right to a clean environment in their state constitutions. Other states such as Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts have included language related to environmental protection in their constitutions.
Its adoption is a tremendous victory in the United States, where the federal constitution does not recognize this right, unlike more than 110 countries in the world.
But this may be about to change. This amendment is part of the wider Green Amendments For The Generations movement, which seeks to secure constitutional protection of environmental rights in American states and ultimately at the federal level.
With this amendment, we are one stop closer to the adoption of a Global Pact for the Environment that would recognize everyone on earth the right to live in a healthy environment.