THE GREEN AMENDMENT
SJR 3 - SPONSORED BY SENATORS ANTOINETTE SEDILLO LOPEZ, WILLIAM SOULES, HAROLD POPE JR AND REPRESENTATIVE JOANNE FERRARY
BEGINS THE PROCESS to ENSHRINE THE RIGHT OF NEW MEXICANS to a clean and healthy environment, including pure water, clean air, healthy ecosystems, and a stable climate INTO THE NEW MEXICO CONSTITUTION
WHY DOES NEW ENERGY ECONOMY SUPPORT THE GREEN AMENDMENT?
New Energy Economy does not usually summon quotes from actors, but what Mark Ruffalo says in the Forward to the book about the Green Amendment is right on and critically important, and it fits: “What is clear is that our leaders have let us down. At nearly every turn, the profits of big business are prioritized, consequences be damned. It amounts to a moral failing of the highest degree, one with horrifying and lasting consequences. It is stunning just how often, in the courts, in state legislatures, in Congress, the interests of corporations are deemed more important than the basic things we demand for survival. We are not the sum of dollars and cents; we are people of flesh and blood. And yet is the dollars that do all the talking.”
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT THE GREEN AMENDMENT?
The Green Amendment defines rights that are inherent and infeasible rights given to us by nature, by virtue of our birth, and thus inalienable. What does this mean? Indigenous people recognize an obligation and a special relationship to protect the Earth ; white people often champion the idea of rights – right to a healthy environment, right to clean water, right to clean air. The GREEN Amendment is a fusion of both these philosophies: because it will mean that Indigenous peoples can assert species protection and support for biological diversity, and assert their land use and rights; and those of us from European dissent will use our “entitlement” to clean air, water, and air to defend against despoliation.
The provision is self-executing (meaning that no further state action is necessary to give it legal life). It provides individuals with the legal right to enforce it. And it places a clear legal responsibility on all government officials to protect our environment and natural resources.
 (nurtures and sustains all life. Mother Earth provides us with our food and clean water sources. She bestows us with materials for our homes, clothes and tools. She provides all life with raw materials for our industry, ingenuity and progress. She is the basis of who we are as “real human beings” that include our languages, our cultures, our knowledge and wisdom to know how to conduct ourselves in a good way. If we listen from the place of connection to the Spirit That Lives in All Things, Mother Earth teaches what we need to know to take care of her and all her children. All are provided by our mother, the Earth.
Indigenous peoples are caretakers of Mother Earth and realize and respect her gifts of water, air and fire. First Nations peoples’ have a special relationship with the earth and all living things in it. This relationship is based on a profound spiritual connection to Mother Earth that guided indigenous peoples to practice reverence, humility and reciprocity. It is also based on the subsistence needs and values extending back thousands of years. Hunting, gathering, and fishing to secure food includes harvesting food for self, family, the elderly, widows, the community, and for ceremonial purposes. Everything is taken and used with the understanding that we take only what we need, and we must use great care and be aware of how we take and how much of it so that future generations will not be put in peril.)
NO MORE SACRIFICE ZONES
The legislative approach has largely failed us. Business interests with their army of lobbyists and boatloads of cash to pepper legislators’ desperate campaigns enjoy a powerful advantage. Corporate powerhouses (PNM, Oil & Gas, industry executives) enjoy access to politicians that regular people, and social non-profits simply do not have. The powerful elite has bought the science, the experts needed to make their cases, and they’ve leveraged economic arguments (even if in the short term) to cloud the facts both in the courtroom and in public debate.
IDLE NO MORE
Indigenous Friends created that beautiful outcry. We hear that too many communities have been sacrificed. Few places are categorically safe: No access to fresh water; missing and murdered Indigenous women; asthma, cancer heart disease, morbidity, water borne pollutants that kill; depression; breast cancer; diabetes, toxic pollution that harms our children before they are even born….
Unfortunately, this is the wealth of corporations and the few (again) over the many – All the environmental degradation over the last 70 years has occurred despite an extensive regime of laws, regulations, and regulatory bodies in place to protect us and the environment. Existing laws don’t ban pollution or development. Industries are perfectly able to pollute the air and water not in spite of, but because of the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. Industry has their cadre of environmental specialists to manipulate existing laws and regulations. We are losing!
The GREEN Amendment claims as a fundamental liberty our environmental right and obligation to protect water, air, animals, wilderness, and people! If passed, New Mexico would grant people the right to protect against anticipated harm. Indigenous peoples, nonprofits and other concerned individuals don’t have to wait until degradation was under way to take legal action. This Constitutional right can prevent against environmental despoliation before it occurrs! Simply, huge.
TWO STATES HAVE ALREADY PASSED THE GREEN AMENDMENT
Pennsylvania and Montana. Here’s a recent success in Pennsylvania: In December 2020, the Board of Commissioners of Marple Township, Pennsylvania voted unanimously to reject a proposed economic plan that would clear-cut 89 acres of forest of the Don Guanella woods. The Don Guanella woods is a 178-acre forest that has provided many environmental, health and recreational benefits to Delaware County, PA for years. The township Board of Commissioners knew they had an obligation to uphold the Green Amendment, embedded in the Pennsylvania Constitution.