Beating our Know-Nothing-in-Chief at his own game, 21 kids are going to have their day in court as they advance their climate change lawsuit.
This is not fake news. The case, officially referred to as Juliana v. United States, was filed in 2015 on behalf of the 21 young plaintiffs who argue that their constitutional and public trust rights are being violated by the government’s failure to take real action on global climate change.
The Trump Administration had sought to shut down the lawsuit with a “drastic and extraordinary” petition to block justice and the “enduring value in the orderly administration of litigation by trial courts.”
But just a few days ago, in a unanimous decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected this petition. What does that mean? You guessed it: President Trump and his climate change deniers are going to be put on trial for ignoring science and threatening the constitutional rights of all citizens to clean air, clean water, and a future worth living—in short, the constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (a euphemism for property).
Finally, those of us who have borne witness to the egregious rollbacks of environmental protections this administration has conducted have something positive to celebrate.
When careless and negligent adults fail to protect the health of our communities and the well-being of children, young people themselves often step up. The most compelling appeal for sanity and accountability for our environmental actions I’ve ever heard came from a 12-year-old girl, Severn Suzuki, at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro:
Her courage and clarity nearly made me cry on the spot. She silenced the world for six minutes! I was in the audience, and it nearly broke my heart since most of the United Nations delegates didn’t even bother to attend the “youth day” presentations.
This talk is even more urgent and relevant today.
When so many feel helpless against the onslaught of Trump’s abuse of power, the question arises: what can we do? There is a simple answer. Support these courageous youth groups and contribute to the environmental organizations that are using the legal system to protect our precious public lands and the right to a healthy environment.
If you’re not familiar with the heroes of environmental protection, check out:
>> The Wilderness Society
>> The Center for Biological Diversity
>> Friends of the Earth
>> The Environmental Defense Fund
>> Earth Island Institute
>> The Environmental Working Group
>> WILD Foundation
>> The Cousteau Society
>> Sierra Club
>> Defenders of Wildlife
>> Natural Resources Defense Council
>> (and one of my favorites) Great Old Broads for Wilderness!
The list goes on and on. There are so many others that need and deserve our support. Here’s a phrase for you to memorize: Resistance is the key to protect our Existence.
This isn’t just being “against” the harmful actions initiated by Trump’s EPA and Department of the Interior; it’s being for doing the right thing. So, the next time you hear about the latest “executive action” slashing our environmental protections, donate to those working on the front lines, or write a letter to your editor, senator, or congressman. Yes, it’s thankless, tedious work—and, it’s worth it!
Author: Bud Wilson
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Catherine Monkman