Judges in Five States Will Hear Climate Change Cases Filed by Youth
Posted on January 20, 2012 by Kelly Matheson
UPDATE: Climate Change is Making it’s Voice Heard in the Halls of Justice. Scientists know that climate change creates more extreme weather events. Due to an intense winter storm in the Pacific Northwest, the Washington State hearing on the Atmospheric Trust Litigation being brought by youth is postponed. Stay Tuned for the Reschedule Date.
UPDATE: The Washington State hearing has been rescheduled for Feb. 17th at 11:15 am PST. If you live in the Seattle area, we hope you can make it to the hearing.
Over the course of the last year WITNESS has partnered with Our Children’s Trust (OCT) and the iMatter Campaign to elevate the voices of youth from across the country who are defending their right to a healthy atmosphere and sustainable future. The youth are taking their case to judges across the country and asking that the courts order the adoption and implementation of scientifically sound Climate Recovery Plans.
[flickr id="6725745207" thumbnail="small" overlay="true" size="medium" group="" align="left"] To support this goal WITNESS, OCT and the iMatter Campaign are co-producing a series of 10 videos that are telling the stories of U.S. youth whose lives have been or will be affected by climate change and the deterioration of our Earth’s atmosphere – from the melting permafrost in the Arctic to the drought that is now considered the new normal in America’s southwest. These video portraits that are part of the TRUST Series showcase how these youth are bravely speaking out to hold our governments accountable to protect the atmosphere – a vital resource we all depend upon for our survival.
This is a key moment in this campaign and we need your support. Beginning today, on Jan. 20th, some of the young people featured in the TRUST Series, along with many others, will head to courts in Washington State, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska. They are hoping judges will make considered decisions in their favor in what some have called the most remarkable legal actions to halt human-induced climate change. The youth are asking the courts to require their states to develop climate recovery plans based on sound science. The government defendants in all five states are asking that the public trust cases be dismissed.
Our youth need our help in three key ways:
1. Help share our Facebook Events pages for the five state hearings to encourage locals to turn out at the hearing and support the youth plaintiffs. The five hearings will be held as follows:
- Washington: January 20, 1:30 pm (PST)
King County Superior Court, Judge Dean Lum,
516 Third Ave., Seattle, WA 98104
- Oregon: January 23, 10:30 am (PST)
Lane County Circuit Court, Top floor of Courthouse, Judge Rasmussen
125 E. 8th Ave., Eugene, OR 97401
- New Mexico: January 26, 9:00 am (MST)
Judicial District, Courtroom 250, Judge Sarah Singleton
100 Catron St., Santa Fe, NM 87501
- Arizona: February 10, 2:00 pm (MST)
Maricopa County Courthouse, East Court Building, STE 814, Judge Mark Brain
201 W. Jefferson St. #4, Phoenix, AZ 85003
- Alaska: February 15, 3:00 pm (AKST)
Nesbett Courthouse, Courtroom 504
825 W 4th Ave., Anchorage, AK 9950
2. Share the Public Trust message and our ATL work with your network to help us build more momentum by watching and then sharing the films broadly:
- Watch TRUST Alaska and meet Nelson Kanuk, a native Alaskan all to familiar with the impact climate change poses
- Watch TRUST Montana and meet John Thiebes, a young farmer fighting climate change in the agricultural heart of Montana.
- Watch TRUST California and meet Alec Loorz, co-founder of Kids v. Global warming and a climate change activist in California.
3. Share the following media releases with any bloggers or reporters you know and ask them to give our youth a voice by covering their story:
- Atmospheric Trust Litigation (ATL) Press Backgrounder
- National Hearing Press Backgrounder announcing these five hearings and the upcoming federal hearing on the Motion for Preliminary Injunction
And if you have media contacts in Washington State, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona or Alaska, please email kelly [@] witness [dot] org with the names and contact information of any bloggers or reporters we should share the state-wide releases with in these states over the next few weeks.
In the words of Bill McKibben:
I see young people around the country leading the way forward out of the dark days of fossil fuel dependence. They want freedom from the harms that a century of burning oil has laid at their feet. This is their civil rights movement. As Martin Luther King, Jr. declared, ‘We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late.’ The atmosphere is these young people’s rightful public trust to inherit, and I hope these judges comprehend the ‘fierce urgency of now’ and heed their call.
Please lend your voice to support our youth now!