By Glori Dei Filippone, Iowa youth plaintiff
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.
I am part of the organization Kids vs. Global Warming/iMatter. Teenagers across the U.S. filed legal action in 49 states and with the federal government last year to compel action on climate change. My petition here in Iowa was denied, so I’m taking my case to the Iowa Supreme Court. We are suing our governments for not protecting the atmosphere, which is a shared resource, so it should be included in the Public Trust, like water. Under the Public Trust Doctrine, governments would have the duty to protect the air and atmosphere. We are asking them to lower CO2 emissions by six percent per year, which is the number scientists agree is needed to stop climate change.
I went to Washington DC in May, with a delegation of iMatter youth, to meet with all three branches of government about the problem of climate change, and about our lawsuit. We met with senators and representatives to ask for their support for the youngest generation. The members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus supported our cause and encouraged us to continue our work. We also met with White House staff in the Office for Public Engagement. The hearing in the iMatter federal legal action was held May 11th and U.S. District Court Judge Robert Wilkins ultimately sided with the fossil fuel industry and the government’s motion to dismiss our case.
Recently, Texas state district Judge Gisela Triana ruled that the atmosphere is part of the Public Trust by stating that, “The doctrine includes all natural resources of the State.” This brave judge is taking a huge step in the right direction. I thank her on behalf of my entire generation for helping preserve the future. I wish we had more leaders like her; she gives me hope that a judge in Iowa can be just as brave.
In my hometown of Des Moines, we’ve been hit with various extreme weather events. Flooding has become commonplace, summer droughts are occurring more frequently and were losing more and more of our farmed acres. Something needs to be done. I’m standing up for Iowa youth across the state, and hopeful my judge will see the dire need for a climate recovery plan.
This is a revolution, and it wonʼt be easy. Revolutions never are. They take time, effort, and dedication. Sometimes change seems to be out of reach. But change leads to wonderful things and makes us better off than we were before. Think back to all the other important movements - the rising of womenʼs rights, the freeing of the slaves, marriage equality. These took time and only worked because people realized that their current way of life no longer worked.
Please contact your legislators and President Obama on behalf of your kids and grandkids. Ask them to side with the children of this country rather than the fossil fuel lobbyists. We need President Obama to meet with the youth plaintiffs, the scientists, and the attorneys in this case. Demand that renewable energy industries such as solar and wind receive subsidies instead of big oil. We must STOP climate change before it’s too late. Remember, the government is BY the people, OF the people, and FOR the people. The government is just a reflection of our collective voice. They work for us