by Connie Oswald Stofko
In our upcoming election, you can vote on whether you want to add this simple sentence to the New York State Bill of Rights:
“Each person shall have a right to clean air and water, and a healthful environment.”
If Proposal #2 is passed in our upcoming election, it would put these rights in front of every decision the government makes, according to Vote YES for Clean Air and Water.
Decision-makers would be obligated to minimize pollution and environmental harm. For example, before a legislative body passes a law or a government agency issues a permit, it will have to consider whether doing that would violate a person’s right to clean air or water.
And in states where environmental rights are in place, the public benefits from enhanced legal standing in enforcement of environmental laws.
According to a Siena poll of registered voters in June, 80 percent were in favor of the proposal.
What’s kind of amazing is that during a time of deep political polarization, this proposal made it onto the ballot with some bipartisan support! (See more here at BallotPedia.)
You can get more in-depth information about this proposal, including arguments from people opposing the proposal, at this BallotPedia page.
Our general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 2, with early voting from Saturday, Oct. 23 to Sunday, Oct. 31.
Proposal #2 is one of five proposals on the back of the ballot. Remember to flip over your ballot to see the proposals.
Why I published this article
When I write on some gardening topics, such as climate change, people sometimes leave comments saying that I should stay out of politics and stick to gardening. Since I am encouraging you to vote in a certain way, which might seem like I’m taking a political view, I feel I should explain why I wrote this article.
Politics is one thing, but important issues and legislation are different. When I hear “politics,” I think of people shouting sound bites at one another and trying to score points for a particular party. Just hearing it wears me out.
But when it comes to important issues and legislation, we all have to participate. Legislation is one way we change our government and our society. If we avoid learning about legislation, or worse, avoid voting altogether, how can we be participate in our democracy?
I believe we should all do whatever we can to make the world—or at least our little part of the world—a better place. This proposal could help me, my family, my neighbors and our environment. So I wrote this article. It’s one small thing I can do to make my small part of the world a better place.
If you disagree with this proposal, please feel free to leave a comment explaining why you disagree.
If you agree, you can leave a comment, too.