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Green and Black Districts On The Rise In Several States!

Alabama, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, and Texas will see vast improvements with Black and Green votes focusing legislature on empowering citizens to improve their situations! As of July 2023, at least fifteen states have introduced Green Amendment legislation.

Currently, three states – Montana, New York, and Pennsylvania – have established constitutional rights to a healthy environment via Green Amendments, but at least twelve more states are considering bills in 2023. Climate is set to affect urban areas and rural areas with equal devastation! Anyone looking for the perfect model of urban blight need only look at the Black neighborhoods of Jacksonville, Florida. Roads and sidewalks – if they are even there – need repairs. School buildings are old. Housing is decrepit. But after a century and a half of neglect by white-dominated governments, hope is rising across this Atlantic Coast city.

On May 9, the Jacksonville City Council agreed to settle a federal lawsuit charging that the city has long deployed an unconstitutional, racially gerrymandered voting district map that denied Black voters fair representation in city council and school board elections. The judge repeatedly rejected the city’s defense of its proposed alternative map and ordered it to use a new, fairer district map, offered by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The new map created a fifth district in which Black voters can elect preferred candidates.

One week later, in the first elections since the City Council agreed to the settlement, Black residents exercised their newfound political power in this fast-growing city, the 11th largest in the U.S.

“The court-ordered map, as part of the settlement, appears to have provided Black voters the opportunity to elect preferred candidates,” said Jack Genberg, senior staff attorney for voting rights at the SPLC. “Community members were complaining about a liquor store set to be located next to a school. Now Black voters will have the chance to determine the actions their government takes.”

The old map artificially “packed” Black voters into four districts to diminish their political influence on other districts and ensure white majorities on the governing bodies. With generations of white political leaders assured of Black political impotence, their flagrant neglect of Black neighborhoods continued as standard operating procedure.

“[The ruling] means that we now have rare, political power as the electors,” said Rosemary McCoy, co-founder of the Harriet Tubman Freedom Fighters, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to register returning citizens and new and young voters in communities of color. McCoy was one of 10 plaintiffs in the suit brought by the SPLC, the ACLU of Florida and Harvard University’s Election Law Clinic on behalf of local civil rights groups and 10 individual plaintiffs.

“Officials have to understand that we are taxpayers and that we deserve the same rights as everyone else,” McCoy said. “The people got it done!” In the United States millions of people lack access to safe water, and nearly everyone across the globe is regularly exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution. By establishing a healthy environment as a basic civil liberty, Green Amendments provide a backstop to ensure government authorities are protecting environmental health. Green Amendments also help to advance environmental justice by granting communities overburdened by pollution the legal standing to insist that the government prevent actions that infringe upon their right to clean water, clean air, and a healthy environment. It is clear that rural predominantly white areas of low income are in the same boat as urban predominantly BIPOC areas!

proposed Green Amendment language includes the right to clean air and water, but many are also proposing to include the right to a healthy and/or stable climate, such as Hawaii (S.B.635/H.B.444), Nevada (A.J.R3), and New Mexico (H.J.R.4/S.J.R.6). Other states’ proposed Green Amendment language – such as Maine (L.D.928), Tennessee (H.J.R.50), and West Virginia (H.J.R.9) – include the right to preserve the natural environment for its historic, cultural, or scenic values. A majority of Americans support prioritizing the development of renewable energy sources. 70% of U.S. adults say the country should prioritize developing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, over expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas, according to a Pew survey conducted in June 2023.

Nine-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents say the U.S. should prioritize developing alternative energy sources to address America’s energy supply. Among Republicans and Republican leaners, 42% support developing alternative energy sources. There are important differences by age within the GOP. Two-thirds of young Republicans under age 30 (67%) prioritize the development of alternative energy sources. By contrast, 75% of older Republicans ages 65 and above prioritize expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas without regard to the damage it continues to do to the planet.Americans are reluctant to phase out fossil fuels altogether, but younger adults are more open to it. Overall, about three-in-ten adults (31%) say the U.S. should completely phase out oil, coal and natural gas. More than twice as many (68%) say the country should use a mix of energy sources.


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