NJ Student Activists Support Green AmendmentJul 29, 2022 09:55AM ● By Carly Gavant
Margaret Berei and Christian Wright
This past June, several youth activists from New Jersey Student Sustainability Coalition (NJSSC) attended a press conference in Trenton that put emphasis on the passing of the New Jersey Green Amendment. A constitutional amendment to the Bill of Rights, the NJ Green Amendment would ensure New Jersey residents’ rights to pure water, clean air, a stable climate and healthy environment. The bill would hold governmental officials accountable for various responsibilities as well as legally bind environmental injustices and sacrificial zones as unconstitutional. The bill would prioritize the preservation of the historic, scenic and esthetic qualities of the natural environment while also putting in writing that the state’s public natural resources are the common property of all people, including generations to come.
“The press conference was a unique and engaging experience for me, giving not only me, but other high school and college students along with adult activists the opportunity to express our urgent environmental concerns,” states Christian Wright, social media coordinator for the Green Amendment Campaign team at NJSSC.
NJSSC is a student-run network consisting of members from across the state of New Jersey. Through programming, resource building, outreach and political action, the coalition builds student power to push forward sustainability efforts that benefit all and create real change.
“We were given the opportunity to go inside the tour house and converse with legislators about where they stand and what more they could be doing for our cause,” Wright explains. NJSSC believes that strategic lobbying is vital to ensure this message gets heard by those with the political power to make a difference. A lot of planning led up to lobbying events such as the one in Trenton. NJSSC strategy follows three steps: planning, action and meeting with legislators.
When planning on how to reach specific goals, NJSSC teams seek to identify which field products will be most effective in convincing legislators to act, such as petitioning, writing LTEs and running events. These teams then take action by making calls, sending letters, writing emails and raising awareness on social media platforms. Their goal is for team members to meet directly with legislators to discuss the merits of the Green Amendment and share further information with them.
All of these tactics
help to further the goal of obtaining a Green Amendment in the NJ state
constitution, an important step towards a safer, more prosperous future for
everyone. “I think it is crucial that we get this bill up for consideration in
the next Senate and Assembly sessions,” shares NJSSC member Daniel Shapiro. “We
need to put pressure on our state legislators to seriously consider our
futures, and this bill is a great step towards doing that.”
Carly Gavant is from Hoboken, NJ and is a Senior at Packer Collegiate Institute. She is the Main Stream Media Coordinator and a Student Representative for the New Jersey Student Sustainability Coalition and the leader of environmental and green initiatives for the town of Hoboken’s Youth Advisory Commission. She is passionate about creating sustainable solutions to impending climate challenges and plans to pursue her education in this area of study.