Environmental Human Rights

Monthly Campaign Update

Welcome to this first monthly campaign update of the Maryland Campaign for Environmental Human Rights (MDEHR). We are grateful for your interest and partnership in this work.

In this update, we will cover: 

  • Senate sponsorship of our amendment bill 
  • Building our Community of Partners
  • Re-invigorating the  Maryland Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)
  • Environmental Justice Online Training Program

Senate Mary Washington Sponsors EHR Amendment

We are excited to announce that Senator Mary Washington, District 43 in Baltimore City, is sponsoring the Environmental Human Rights amendment for the 2021 legislative session. Senator Washington is a member of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee, the Maryland Black Legislative Caucus, and the Senate Chair for the Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families. She brings the leadership needed to champion and builds legislative support for an amendment that will offer the highest form of the legal protection of the rights needed to ensure public health, environmental health, and environmental justice in Maryland. MDEHR is also planning to introduce the state constitutional amendment in the House and will be announcing the House sponsor soon.

Building a Community of Partners 

MDEHR is actively building a Community of Partners composed of organizations that value environmental health, public health, and environmental justice, and recognize that a state constitutional amendment for environmental human rights is necessary to create the durable,  foundational and equitable protection we need. We invite you to become a member of our Community of Partners. Email nina@mdehr.org to learn more. 

Maryland Environmental Policy Act: A Sleeping Giant – October 6 Webinar

MDEHR recognizes that there are interim steps we can and should take to promote environmental health and justice utilizing existing environmental policies in Maryland. To learn more about such opportunities, you are invited to attend a webinar, “The Maryland Environmental Policy Act: A Sleeping Giant,” with speakers Russell Stevenson, Professor from Practice at Georgetown Law School and Evan Isaacson, Director of Policy and Research at Chesapeake Legal Alliance. RSVP here.

In 1973, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Maryland Environmental Policy Act (MEPA), which stated: “Each person has a fundamental and inalienable right to a healthful environment”. To implement and enforce this right, every agency in the State of Maryland was to “identify, develop and adopt methods and procedures”. To date, most agencies have not done that, and MEPA is mostly dormant.

Come learn about the yet-to-be-realized powers of MEPA, what we can do together to reinvigorate the potential of this fundamental and inalienable right. RSVP here. Learn more about the speakers here.

Online Environmental Justice Training

Thursdays at 7 pm, October 15 – November 12

The environmental justice movement started in the faith communities decades ago and faith communities are responding to learn more about the environmental and health disparities, climate justice, and tools to advocate for change in their communities. MDEHR, in partnership with the Central Maryland Ecumenical Council and GreenGrace, the environmental committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland, is sponsoring an environmental justice training program. The online program launches on Thursday, October 15 with an introduction by Reverend Canon Chris McCloud, the Canon for Mission of the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland and speaker Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, North American Director of 350.org. Tamara will be speaking about environmental and health disparities caused by human-induced environmental pollution and the history of the environmental justice movement. RSVP here. Learn more about the speakers here.

Help us keep in touch with you

Over the next while, MDEHR emails will be moving onto the Action Network platform. Please help us keep in touch with you by signing up for email updates in Action Network here. We will be using this platform for future campaign updates and legislative actions in support of the amendment.   

Join the campaign

MDEHR recognizes that we can’t do this work alone. Please join us. You can sign up to volunteer here, sign our pledge here and follow us on Twitter @mdehr4all and on our blog