Maya K. van Rossum

Maya K. van Rossum, Director, Delaware River Network

DE Riverkeeper
As the impacts of climate change manifest worldwide and environmental degradation continues to rise and devastate the health and safety of communities, activists must acquire new tools for environmental protection – it is increasingly clear that we can no longer rely on federal and state legislation to fight for a cleaner environment.

But there is a solution, argues veteran environmentalist Maya K. van Rossum, bypass the laws and turn to the ultimate authority—our state and federal constitutions. In 2013, van Rossum and her team won a watershed legal victory that not only protected Pennsylvania communities from ruthless frackers, but affirmed the constitutional right of people in the state to a clean and healthy environment. Following this victory, van Rossum inaugurated the Green Amendment movement, dedicated to empowering every American community to mobilize for constitutional change. van Rossum lays out an inspiring new agenda for environmental advocacy, one that will finally empower people, level the playing field, and provide real hope for communities everywhere.

In this session, van Rossum will talk about:

• how legislative environmentalism has failed communities across America;

• the transformational difference environmental constitutionalism can make;

• the economic imperative of environmental constitutionalism; and

• how to take action in their communities.

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

Maya K. van Rossum has served as the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network since 1994.  The role of the Delaware Riverkeeper is to give the Delaware River, and the communities that depend upon it and appreciate it, a voice at every decisionmaking table that could provide help or do harm.

Under van Rossum’s leadership, the constitutional right to a healthy environment was recognized in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

van Rossum is author of a best-selling new release on Amazon titled, “The Green Amendment, Securing Our Right to a Healthy Environment”. Recent speaking engagements include: 10thAnnual Dupont Summit on Science, Technology & Environmental Policy; 2017 Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference; 2015 National Environmental Justice Conference. van Rossum was appointed to NJ Governor-elect Murphy’s transition committee on environment and energy, was named One Of The “10 Most Influential People of 2015” When It Comes to Energy Issues by SNL Energy, has testified multiple times before U.S. Congressional committees, and is frequently honored with awards for her environmental advocacy including being identified as a “Giraffe Hero”, “Because you’ve stuck your neck out to speak the truth no matter how unpopular that truth is.”

van Rossum is a licensed attorney in three states: Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the District of Columbia.  Since Spring 2002, she has served as an adjunct professor and director of the Environmental Law Clinic at Temple’s Beasley School of Law which she founded.