Climate Kids Face the Future

A group of twenty-one young Americans, ages 11 to 22, have taken a stand against climate change by suing the United States.Referred to as the “climate kids,” the twenty-one plaintiffs are working with the organization Earth Guardians, as they sue the government due to the policies and lack of policies surrounding climate change and carbon emissions.

The climate kids want action taken against fossil fuel companies that pose risks to the environment. In the eyes of these kids, their future rests on the decisions that the government will make in today’s time.

The lawsuit, titled Juliana v. US, was first filed on August 12, 2015. The suit was brought against the Obama administration and other government officials. The lawsuit now states the charges are filed against the current and previous administrations for poor policy making.

When the Trump administration appealed to dismiss the case earlier this year, their request was denied by the Ninth Circuit Court.

The plaintiffs believe their constitutional rights to a healthy environment have been violated many times over by policies created and enforced on the federal level.

They argue that current laws breach the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

While the climate kids do not mention any specific policy in the suit, they do list several rights they believe have been violated. These include the Public Trust Doctrine and the Due Process Clause.

The case has moved through lower level courts, but has stopped at the United States District Court in Oregon.

The trial was scheduled for October 29, 2018, but the start date is now indefinite due to a ruling by Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

The plaintiffs hope that the outcome of their lawsuit will result in changes to federal policy, but also an increase in public activism. Since its beginnings, the lawsuit has inspired many other climate change organizations and supporters to file similar cases with local and state governments.

Even without a final ruling, the message of climate change recognition behind the Juliana v. US is being heard loud and clear– young Americans are willing to make large strides for the betterment of their future planet.