Environmental Rights Stakeholder Rally on January 14
Join Delegate Wanika Fisher (House Sponsor), Senator Will Smith (Senate Sponsor), Rosa Hance – Chair of the Maryland Chapter of the Sierra Club, Staci Hartwell – Chair of the Environmental and Climate Justice Committee of the NAACP Maryland State Conference and key stakeholders from environmental justice communities, environmental advocacy organizations, faith communities, students and more at our Virtual Stakeholder Rally on Friday January 14! We’ll talk about what the environmental human rights amendment can do, how it can address environmental health concerns in Maryland and how you can help ensure the amendment passes in 2022. Join us! RSVP here.
Why do we need the right to a healthful environment in Maryland?
Delegate Wanika Fisher champions the need for a state constitutional amendment to protect the right to a healthful environment in Maryland. “There is a difference between regulations, which address a particular issue, and a right, which is all encompassing, Fisher said. An environmental human rights amendment would “create a structure in which people’s environmental rights need to be taken into consideration,” Fisher said.
Learn more about why this amendment is needed and what it means for Maryland in the Maryland Matter’s article, “Supporters Launch a New Push for the Environmental Human Rights Amendment.”
In his op-ed in the Bay Journal, Wayne Gilchrest, environmental outdoor education teacher and former US Congressman of Maryland’s 1st district, says “we must live according to nature’s principles, creating a regenerative world that affords each generation no less than what prior generations enjoyed. And, hopefully more. We can do this by recommitting ourselves to live within Earth’s planetary boundaries, ensuring that everyone – in this and future generations- has a right to a healthy environment. And we can do that by placing the Environmental Human Rights Amendment in Maryland’s constitution.”
What is the Environmental Human Rights Amendment?
Everyone deserves the right to clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment. Everyone. Yet our laws in Maryland do not currently protect this right. We can change that.
Support the Maryland Constitutional Amendment for Environmental Human Rights. The proposed amendment will protect each person’s right to a healthful and stable environment. The state, as trustee of Maryland’s natural resources, shall preserve them for current and future generations.
Embedding this right in the Bill of Rights section of our state constitution protects this right on par with other rights, like the freedom of speech. It is a legal tool for both the people and government to use. For the people, it is a way to hold the state government accountable. For the government and its agencies, it is a tool to prevent harm and guide decisions, policies and legislation to protect Maryland’s natural resources and the health of the public who depend on them.
We can’t do this alone.
for Environmental Human Rights
We, the people of Maryland, call upon the Maryland General Assembly, commencing January 12, 2022, to pass the Maryland Environmental Human Rights Amendment and thus add this amendment to the ballot at the next general election on November 8, 2022.
We, the people of Maryland, believe this right needs to be protected in our state constitution for the following reasons.
- It is a moral imperative to protect the basic human dignity of having a healthful environment
- The health of the people of Maryland is negatively impacted by environmental pollution and degradation. The health disparities are more egregious in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods where environmental pollution and degradation is concentrated.
- A constitutional right would be the foundation for improved laws and regulations, and act as a true guardrail to prevent the most egregious forms of harmful actions now and for future generations, providing environmental justice in our state.
- A constitutional right, as opposed to a regular law, would ensure that environmental health is considered among the highest obligations of the government, pursued as “a matter of the highest public priority,” (per MEPA) and not merely “good public policy”.
- An Environmental Human Rights amendment would empower all Marylanders, local governments, and the state to protect and defend this fundamental right.