Two Green Leaves

Climate Change from the Affected Generation

Our Children's Trust is Saving the World 19 June 2017 | Posted in News

And giving us hope

Although most kids these days are often quite busy playing soccer, or persistently fidget spinning, some are looking to the future. Not the next day at school, but to their adulthood, when climate change may be irreversible. Specifically, 21 kids aged 9-20 are suing the federal government for not protecting their rights to a healthy climate and stable ecosystem. These youth plaintiffs are part of an organization called Our Children’s Trust, founded by Julia Olsen on August 15, 2015 which happens to be National Youth Day. If they succeed, the federal government will be legally required to take specific actions to decrease carbon dioxide emissions to a safe level. They’ve been gaining the attention of people around the world, and are making some of us believe that a healthy future may not be too far off after all.

To succeed in the court case, the youth plaintiffs must convince the judges that having a healthy climate is an unalienable right, and that by not protecting their future, the federal government is violating the right to life and property. Furthermore, they must convince them that the federal government has been exploiting this right for decades with the knowledge of the negative consequences that will follow.

 

The efforts of OCT have not gone unnoticed. The case is exponentially catching the eye of media outlets, citizens, politicians, and even other countries all over the world. While I was in Washington DC, a keynote speaker from OCT got a 1,300 person standing ovation after he shared his ideas to citizens from around the country. Naomi Klein and Bill McKibben agree that it is the most important lawsuit currently on the planet. United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin is quoted saying in a court order “...the intractability of the debates before Congress and state legislatures and the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life, necessitates a need for the courts to evaluate the constitutional parameters of the action or inaction taken by the government.”

 

However, not all of the attention has been positive. Weeks after the case was filed, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) began a legal battle to join the federal government as a defendant saying that it was a direct threat to their business. They were soon joined by the American Petroleum Institute and the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers. All three of these organizations represent companies like Exxon, Shell, Koch Industries, Chevron, and countless others. All three of the organizations were granted permission to intervene. However, their motivation to intervene mysteriously disappeared just a few weeks ago. Our Children’s Trust filed a 21 page paper against the American Petroleum Institute that clearly exposed them of knowing exactly what kinds of threats climate change posed, but not changing anything for the better in terms of environment. This may have given the other organizations a bit of a scare, which was followed by a court order for the NAM to admit to facts about healthy parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide and current ppms. The fact is that we’re more than 50 parts per million off of a healthy level. All three of the organizations have requested to pull out.

 

Of course, we cannot forget about the Trump Administration, who is trapped defending something that has no factual basis. Somehow, it reminds me of a Sean Spicer press conference. Speaking of facts, investigations show that the federal government has been aware that climate change is caused by human activity and of the devastating impacts it will have on future generations since 1955. A timeline of the government’s knowledge of climate change and lack of action on the topic was presented in court. United States Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin is quoted saying in a court order  from that very court meeting “...the intractability of the debates before Congress and state legislatures and the alleged valuing of short term economic interest despite the cost to human life, necessitates a need for the courts to evaluate the constitutional parameters of the action or inaction taken by the government.”  On May fifth, the Trump Administration filed an objection to Coffin’s conclusion. In the document, the lawyers argued that the case is about the law, and not about the facts. If you’re familiar with the concept of law, you know that facts are inseparable from law because without facts, you cannot put the law to use. It’s simple logic. As if it couldn’t get any worse for the defendants, Sean Duffy, a lawyer for the Trump Administration suggested in a court meeting that they might not adhere to facts regarding climate change admitted from the Obama Administration.

When I went to Washington, D.C. I gained a whole lot of hope. It opened my eyes to how many people all over the country are demanding a fair and effective solution to climate change. With all the peple from countless organizations like Our Children’s Trust working every day for a better future, climate change just might be an issue that we can overcome.

Image result for our childrens trust see you in court

*Image courtesy of Our Children's Trust 

~ Jeremy Clark

Sources Cited:

https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/federal-proceedings/

https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/

No comments

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible until it has been approved by an editor.