Home / Blog / Green Constitutions Can Be A Catalyst For Greater

April 30, 2024

Green Constitutions Can Be A Catalyst For Greater


In a changing climate, protecting clean air, clean water, and a healthy environment isn’t just a want, but a fundamental right. The alarming effects of pollution and climate change have left much uncertain, so some nations have begun advocating for constitutional recognition of environmental rights and responsibilities. So when Belize embarked on its second constitutional review process since the nation’s 1981 independence with the passage of the People’s Constitution Commission Act in October 2022,  it became the latest Commonwealth Caribbean state to commit to a comprehensive reform. 

Why Constitutional Inclusion of Nature Can Be A Catalyst For Greater

A catalyst can be deemed one event that causes great change: we say that could be a ‘green’ constitution. Think of stronger environmental laws, stronger enforcement, and community participation in good governance. It’s why Belizeans were encouraged to add their voice to ensure that through this process,  institutions are transparent,  opportunities are equally accessible, and rights are protected—to truly reflect the vision and representation of Belize, for Belize, by Belizeans. 

Historically, we’ve already seen the ripples of what people’s power in Belize looks like. With the People’s Referendum on Offshore Oil in Belize now Law with a landmark amendment, the voices of 22,090 Belizean voters who called for the right to be consulted—via referendum—should the government contemplate lifting the moratorium on offshore oil exploration. Foundational for a profound shift in people’s participation in our Belizean democracy. Although the constitutional exercise’s submission deadline was March 2024, which collected over 2,000, its impetus has inspired a wave of organizations and institutions—beyond those advocating for environmental protection. 

Will Belize Be The Next Nation That Constitutionally Protects Its Rights to a Healthy Environment? 

Research shows a strong positive correlation between superior environmental performance and constitutional provisions requiring environmental protection. Belize can not only safeguard its natural environment but also its citizens’ way of life. For livelihoods, recreation, and environmental protection: our biggest asset as Belizeans is our precious natural resources, but so too is our civic pride. Global solutions start with local action, which includes getting involved with local organizations and advocating against environmental injustices to galvanize policymakers. 

At the time of writing, April 30, 2024, the People’s Constitution Commission is currently collating raw data collected from the citizens of Belize ahead of its final report to the Prime Minister. The report will include thematic areas expressed by Belizeans that adhere to the national values and ethos of the constitution. 

After all, citizens in more than 110 nations—from Argentina to Zambia—currently enjoy a constitutionally protected right to a healthy environment. This, too, can be another tally to Belize’s legislative legacy of fierce environmental laws. As the infinite cost of climate change peaks towards irreversible highs, advocacy is more important than ever. What does your voice say about Belize’s future?