The Green Amendment: The People’s Fight for a Clean, Safe, and Healthy Environment

Disruption. 2nd ed. Nov. 2022. 365p. ISBN 9781633310643. pap. $19.99. LAW
In this updated edition of her 2017 book, environmentalist and environmental lawyer van Rossum (founder of the Environmental Law Clinic at Temple Univ. Beasley Sch. of Law) presses her case for state and federal constitutional amendments to protect the environment. Until 2021, only Pennsylvania and Montana had passed such amendments; in 2021, New York State enacted an amendment of its own: “Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.” Van Rossum explains the legal and practical mechanics of constitutional “green amendments” like these (for instance, the state must often be designated as the trustee of all natural resources), along with enumerating the negative health effects of fracking, chemical manufacturing, and urban/suburban expansion. The book is well-written but should have included more discussion of how green amendments would promote environmentally friendly resource-extraction. In addition, while lauding environmentalist judges, the book does not explain how to support the legal allies who will have to interpret often-vague green amendments.
VERDICT Purchase for readers interested in environmental issues.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing