The Nature Amendment
by Marshall Massey, Projects Director
The Environmental Projects Center
I wrote this proposal for an environmental amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1989, as a way of asking in dead earnest whether we are willing to do all that is necessary to make our society sustainable.
Generally speaking, I’ve found that the answer is “No”.
Still, this proposal has had an interesting career. It’s been discussed in law journals, promoted in the Earth Island Journal’s list of “50 Difficult Things You Can Do to Save the Earth”, and denounced (along with the other 49 things on the Earth Island Journal’s list) by Rush Limbaugh on his radio show.
This is a serious proposal, friends. Feel free to pass it around, to bring it up in a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, to discuss it in any citizen’s action group you belong to, or to link to it on your own web site. I’d be delighted to hear your report on what happens if you do!
Acknowledgments: I am indebted to several persons whose suggestions have helped shape the language of this amendment. Among them are the late Ernest Getz (a lawyer and CPA in Michigan, and long-term Sierra Club supporter), Russel Lawrence Barsh (a lawyer specializing in the legal rights of tribes), Daniel D. Chiras (former President of the Colorado Environmental Coalition and author of college-level environmental science texts), and Michael Diamond (a lawyer and former enforcement administrator for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection).
It should be understood that these people’s assistance did not, and does not, equate to an endorsement of the amendment.
Downloadable PDF version: black & white, for 8½ x 11” page. Click here.
…And a Query: What is it within us that holds us back from embracing the sorts of changes to our society that this amendment proposes?
If we can understand the answer to that question, we can also understand what it is that causes us, as a society and a species, to destroy our environment — and what it is that we are called, as children of God, to change in ourselves and bear witness against in the world.