We are the attorneys who represent the eight courageous youths who presented Gov. Inslee with an unprecedented climate protection opportunity to issue rules to protect their future from carbon pollution. We write not just as their advocates, but as mothers of young children as well. We do not now, nor have we ever, questioned Gov. Inslee’s professed commitment to addressing climate change.
Our Children’s Trust (OCT); upon first hearing this organization’s name you might think that their sole purpose is to represent children in family court. On the contrary, this nonprofit organization focuses on environmental issues as they relate to young people. OCT is devoted to “elevating the voice of youth to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate for the benefit of all present and future generations.” The legal team at OCT has been working towards this goal since the organization’s founding in 2010.
A new trend is on the horizon. Concerned about the dangers of climate change and the violation of fundamental rights held by citizens, courts are requiring governments to take adequate actions to limit greenhouse gas emissions.
As a sophomore in high school, I am all too familiar with procrastination. That group project assigned a month ago and now due tomorrow? We had a month; why start early? It’s a group project; won’t someone else do it? In my experience, I can tell you, those all-nighter–inducing group projects never turn out well.
In 2008, the Massachusetts legislature unanimously passed the strongest climate change mandates in the nation, and Governor Patrick signed it into law. One of the key pieces of that law, the Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) was a direct command to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to put regulations in place that would establish legally enforceable emissions reductions.
Saving the atmosphere from the ravages of climate change is a global imperative. You might think this would make it easy for countries to work together to solve the problem, because everyone in the world has a shared interest in protecting our only home—Earth. Unfortunately, the international community of governments and politicians has failed to reach an effective global agreement that requires every country to do what is necessary to prevent catastrophic climate change. Although the world’s governments have not come together at the international level, as demonstrated in the most recent climate talks this fall, this is no excuse for inaction. Governments have the duty to protect current and future generations from the degradation of the atmosphere, and the Global TRUST Campaign is a worldwide effort to support youth who are asking their governments to protect the atmosphere.
Three days ago I was heading to the northernmost town in the United States in order to help a dedicated public interest attorney prepare for and argue one of the most important cases the Supreme Court of Alaska has ever heard, Nelson Kanuk v. State of Alaska. The case is about whether the Alaska Constitution requires the State to protect the atmosphere as a public trust resource for present and future generations. It’s only the second time the Alaska Supreme Court has traveled to Barrow (originally called Ukpeagvik, meaning “place to hunt snowy owls”) for oral argument. The last time was over 30 years ago to hear a case on offshore oil and gas development in the Beaufort Sea.
For the past six months I’ve opened up my computer to that quote from ski mountaineer Andreas Fransson. In a terrific series of short videos, Andreas details why he is drawn to attempt some of the most challenging and adventurous ski descents in history, imparting his observations in a philosophical, yet accessible manner. While watching these videos I was captivated by his mental journey to arrive at a point of clarity of thought and purpose. At the time, I hoped that I would one day reach a similar point of mental clarity.
The internet has redefined the playing field for film distribution: uploading your film online is quick, cheap, and effective. But film festivals, like other old-school distribution methods, shouldn’t be forgotten in our modern-day romance with the internet. For starters, there’s popcorn. Snacks aside, festivals offer a level of interpersonal engagement, focused attention, appreciation and love that you simply can’t get from a computer screen. With a good game plan, festivals can provide access to a community of enthusiasts and potential activists ready, willing, and able to jump on your bandwagon and build your momentum.
My name is Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. I am writing this op-ed because I want to know why the biggest, most powerful industry is picking on kids who are trying to educate their peers about an issue they are passionate about.
Global warming is like a loaded gun in our midst, and yet we have no plan to curb the destruction
President Obama’s address on the State of our Union took us back to the devastation that gun violence visits upon our children. It also reminded me that we must cultivate those same deep instincts to protect our children from climate disruption.
My son just asked me if there would still be snow for him to ski on when he grew up.
How do you answer an 8-year-old who asks that question, when Oregon’s snowpack will be less than 50% of what it is now within 4 decades if carbon emissions aren’t cut quickly and substantially? Our snowpack in the Pacific Northwest is already receding at a faster pace than elsewhere in the West. Whether ski resorts will be able to sustain operations in spite of the diminished snowpack is unlikely. Whether snow-based recreation in the lower-48 states will maintain its viability through the coming decades is an open question.
16-year-old Maya Faison from Queens, New York recently shared her thoughts on Hurricane Sandy and climate change in an article published by Climate Progress. Maya wrote the article on her sixth day without heat, her sixth day without power, and her sixth day with no gas in her mom’s car to escape. What troubled me most in what she shared is this: “I feel let down and disappointed that it’s taken a major storm that has taken over 40 lives and counting for my elected leaders to acknowledge the reality of climate change.”
Over the last year, we filmed youth from across the country – literally from Boston, Massachusetts to a village just inland from the Bering Sea – whose lives have already been changed by the deterioration of our Earth’s atmosphere.
For my whole life , the federal government has known that climate change, caused by our carbon emissions, would endanger generations of Americans. And for decades, it has abdicated its sovereign duty to the people of this nation to prevent the ensuing harm from this climate crisis.
My name is Glori Dei Filippone and I am 14 years old. I am sick of global warming. Iʼm sick of wondering if our world will last much longer, of not knowing if my children will grow up in a healthy, stable world. The best way to not worry is to fix the problem. Even if it seems impossible, even if we are rejected, we need to keep trying. So thatʼs what Iʼm doing. Iʼm going to change the world.
Incredulity. Awe. Confusion. Disgust. Excitement. I’ve gotten a lot of reactions when I tell people “I sued Governor Martinez and the State of New Mexico.” But recently, I had the pleasure of getting the most rewarding reaction: Success.
I was born in San Antonio, Texas on an Air Force Base. My strong-willed mother demanded that my father be allowed in the delivery room (which wasn’t allowed at the time), much to his dismay. And so my life journey began ever so briefly in the Lone Star State.
My home town is burning and my family's houses are on the front lines, with searing temperatures, zero humidity and high winds fueling a climate-driven fire.
Every day, I go to school, complain about homework, and think about my own future. But I also think about the future of our planet, and our environment. I don’t think that I should have to worry about whether our planet will still be inhabitable for my grandchildren, and their children when they are born, but I do. My generation, and every generation after us will have to live with the effects of climate change and, if the government does not regulate greenhouse gas emissions, things are only going to get worse. I refuse to sit back and watch it happen.