New Path for Environmental Protection

Maya Van Rossum standing with group of protestors and banners that read People vs. Fossil Fuels and Ban Fracking Now

Thursday, December 1, 2022
4:30-5:30 p.m. PT

In-person at Western
Academic Instructional Center West,
Room 204

Or Online on Zoom



Check out this video to watch the New Path for Environmental Protection.

From Rhetoric to Reality: Green Amendments as a New Path for Environmental Protection

by Maya K. van Rossum with special introduction by Representative Debra Lekanoff

Environmental Speaker Series

Brought to you by:
WWU College of the Environment
in partnership with the WWU Alumni Association


For decades, communities have relied on Federal and State laws to ensure protection of a clean environment. And for decades, while achieving some important successes in environmental protection, overall the health of our environment for present and future generations has continued to degrade from a growing number of sources. The truth is, our laws are designed to accommodate pollution as much as, perhaps even more than, to prevent it. As a result people feel powerless when it comes to preserving the quality of their water, air, public parks, and natural spaces. But there is a solution for achieving better, and much needed, protection of our environment: bypass the laws and turn to the ultimate authority—our state and federal constitutions.

This talk will seek to discuss and inspire a new tool for environmental preservation, one that will provide a new way of thinking about, and pursuing, environmental protection from a policy as well as a legal perspective.

We all have the right to pure water, clean air, and a healthy environment. It’s time to truly secure that right for our own sake and that of future generations.

This talk will have a special introduction by Representative Debra Lekanoff, representing the 40th legislative district of Washington state and lead sponsor of the Washington Green Amendment.

The Environmental Speaker Series is free and open to the public. Talks are held each Thursday at 4:30 pm in Academic Instructional Center West, room 204. Paid parking is available in lot C. Or join us online on Zoom!

Portrait of Maya K. van Rossum

Maya K. van Rossum


Maya K. van Rossum is the Founder of Green Amendments For the Generations, a grassroots non-profit organization inspiring a nationwide movement to secure constitutional recognition and protection of environmental rights in every state and ultimately at the federal level.

van Rossum is also the Delaware Riverkeeper, leading the watershed based advocacy organization, the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, for over 30 years in its efforts to protect the health of the Delaware River and its tributaries.

A skilled activist, attorney, strategist and community organizer, she was named in 2020 as a River Hero by River Network, in 2019 as one of Philadelphia Business Journal’s Power 100, and One Of The “10 Most Influential People of 2015” When It Comes to Energy Issues by SNL Energy.

Her writing has been featured in such publications as BloombergLaw, Law360, the Boston Globe, and TIME Magazine. She is author of, The Green Amendment: the People’s Fight for a Clean, Safe, and Healthy Environment. Since launching Green Amendments For The Generations, constitutional amendments have been proposed in 11 states, with New York formally passing a Green Amendment in 2021.

Portrait of Debra Lekanoff

Representative Debra Lekanoff

Representative Debra Lekanoff represents the 40th legislative district of Washington state. Sworn in to the Washington State House of Representatives in January 2019, Rep. Lekanoff is the only Native American woman to currently serve in the Legislature. In addition to serving in the Legislature, Representative Lekanoff served as Governmental Affairs Director for the Swinomish Tribe. With over 20 years of government relations experience, she engages on a variety of issues at the international, federal, tribal, state, and local levels. She has a broad range of perspectives that allow her to lead on a wide range of policy issues, including but not limited to, environment, natural resources, climate change, education, housing, and Agriculture.

Questions, Accommodations, and Parking

Contact the WWU Alumni Association for this event. Feel free to call at (360) 650-3353 or email at if you have any questions or comments.

Advance notice for disability accommodations and special needs is greatly appreciated. Please indicate your special needs on the registration form.

There will be auto-captions available for the Zoom webinar.

Limited paid parking is available in the C lots at the south end of campus. WWU parking details—including lot locations, fees, and campus map—are available here.