Wednesday, April 19, 2006 4:15 PM

I was asked by a student to give an example of what I would change about the US Constitution. I tried to write it in a Jeffersonian style but without in many places his subtlety.

Amendment #1
Whereas:  Natural resources whether created and maintained by God or Nature are fundamentally not only part of our heritage but essential to the survival and well being of all life on earth, that animals and Plants have certain natural rights of life, liberty, habitat protection and the pursuit of survival, that humans have interdependently co-existed and subsisted upon these Natural assets, that there is inherent value which cannot be determined economically in the maintenance of natural systems existing in a state of nature intended by their creator or nature unadulterated by human industry, save as a steward. That this quality supercedes the prevailing national and economic interest and is recognized as a fundamental principal upon which the foundations of an equal society rests, that the interdependence of systems of life (the web of life) lies in complexity so far beyond our current powers of reason that any intentional alteration, however measured, shall be deemed a reckless act outside the bounds of ethical and moral behavior, that as we recognize the importance of human life and liberty we also see humans as part of a larger family of creation / evolution, each member endowed with unique capacities and entfacilities that reflect the brilliance of the other and or the imagination of the creator.
Be it resolved that: any and all human activity which degrades and or impairs the existing or regenerative quality of existing assets and or its subordinates for ourselves or future generations shall be phased out with all due and proper speed.  These assets include but are not limited too indigenous plants, animals, genetic integrity (excluding potentialities from natural sexual and asexual reproduction) all terrestrial and extra terrestrial Air, Water, Soil, Climate, Atmosphere, Ocean, as a concept bio diversity and the systems which sustain it. Remediation of the damaged caused by preceding acts and repatriation of debilitated lands shall be funded by industry based taxes upon the corporations, shareholders and individuals who can be held legally responsible for violations of statutes with the remainder being Nationalized by the US government and the US taxpayer. Representatives from all sovereign Native American Tribes, Congress and Representatives chosen by constituents of each county shall develop a comprehensive plan for the restoration, protection, and maintenance of our natural resources / heritage with oversight capacity. This plan shall become law of the land and rules for its amendment established by its creators. Finally it shall be recognized that the right of citizens to behave in such a way that degrades the natural health and condition of our environment is fundamentally in conflict with the common good of all people, including themselves, and appropriate standards, regulations, and statutes shall be legislated to accommodate this interest.

Matthew C. Vernon