Teens Are Suing The U.S. Government For Not Protecting Future Generations From Climate Change

These teens are suing the federal government for their involvement in climate change because it's a violation of their constitutional rights.

Credit: CNN

Credit: CNN

Twenty-one teenagers, ages 8 to 19, are suing the Obama Administration and the federal government for their hand in climate change decisions that have negatively impacted Earth and will ruin the planet for future generations.

The teens gathered in Eugene, Oregon and argued their case in a pretrial hearing, where the government and fossil fuel groups asked the presiding Judge Thomas Coffin to throw out the case. After much deliberation, Coffin announced this month that he dismissed the government and groups’ requests and approved the case to go to trial.

In his decision, Coffin wrote,

“The nascent nature of these proceedings dictate further development of the record before the court can adjudicate whether any claims or parties should not survive for trial. Accordingly, the court should deny the motions to dismiss.”

Julia Olson, executive director of Our Children’s Trust, the group behind this and other lawsuits brought forth by young people, said, that this decision was their “biggest hurdle” and called it a “major victory.”

Though this is incredible news, it still needs to be reviewed by one more judge before it goes to trial.

The case brought forth by the young adults is complex and well-formed, and their ultimate point is that the government needs to be held accountable for the fact that they discriminated against young and unborn generations to come by not actively standing against climate change. These generations will face the dire effects of rapid, human-driven climate change but they aren’t able to vote to protect themselves, so the government has decided for them that they will have this tremendous environmental mess to clean up.

Credit: Our Children's Trust

Credit: Our Children’s Trust

A 15-year-old teenager from Colorado, Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh, explained:

“My generation is going to be inheriting the crisis we see all around us today. We are standing up not only for the environment and the Earth and the atmosphere but for the rights we have to live in a healthy, just and sustainable world.”

The official complaint against the federal government is that these teens’ constitutional rights, guaranteeing them the right to life, liberty, and property, are being violated.

With a massive rise in sea levels, temperatures, droughts, floods, and extinctions, their rights to these three important aspects of life are being significantly infringed upon. Since scientists and the government have known for decades what the effects of fossil fuel extraction and air pollution, amongst other damaging activities, are, they have also been aware that their approval of these activities or even refusal to stop them has been ruining our planet.

The teens involved in the suit are voices for children everywhere. Many of them can name specific ways in which climate change is already adversely impacting their lives, and we are only on the cusp of the terrible environmental changes that are to come.

By standing up to the government, hopefully these teens can raise some serious awareness for the future of our planet and maybe even stand up to the federal government for their involvement in climate change.

Are you behind these teens’ decision to sue the government for ruining the planet? Do you think they have a chance at winning the lawsuit? Please comment on, like, and share this article!


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