“I fear that I won’t have a home here in the future… that the island will be under water because of climate change.”
Those are the worries shared by Levi, the youngest plaintiff in a precedent-setting case against the United States government to remedy what these youths are considering a violation of their inalienable constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. There are 21 total plaintiffs, all under the age of 22, who think the government dropped the ball when it comes to ensuring a livable future for citizens.
How seriously can you take the concerns of kids worried about climate change?
Levi is 11 years old and lives in Florida on a barrier island that is close to sea-level. His worries about his home’s future viability — a concern well-founded even for the near term — are what caused him to want to be a part of this fight.
And the science backs him up, as his attorney claims. The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report recently that tells governments, industry, and institutions to get their acts together within 12 years to majorly curb greenhouse emissions… or we may have no hope of securing a livable future for humanity as we know it.
These 21 kids aren’t just looking for attention. They want action because they want a chance at a normal life.
Can you sue the government for failing to protect its people?
Whether people can sue their own government is a natural question for many.
The lawsuit challenges the United States federal government for permitting, encouraging, and otherwise enabling continued exploitation, production, and combustion of fossil fuels and allowing atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to grow to levels higher than any seen in human history. These government actions violate the Plaintiffs’ 5th Amendment Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and they are contrary to the government’s duty to protect certain natural resources that it holds in trust for the people and for future generations.
Though the defendant — the United States — is using legal maneuvers to try to avoid trial, Food & Water Watch along with other organizations like Center for Biodiversity and Greenpeace filed a brief in support of the plaintiffs that argues that the oceans, in particular, are harmed by ocean acidification and ecosystem damage caused by global warming. In fact, global warming has undermined the ocean’s public purpose as a defensive shield for even greater warming, sea-level rise, and flooding.
The brief asks the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to reject the Defendant government’s attempts to avoid a trial.
It’s going to be a huge and groundbreaking fight with your help
Our executive Director Wenonah Hauter weighs in:
“This groundbreaking legal action gets to the very heart of what the climate fight is all about: a livable, just existence for our youngest generations in the decades to come. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees every American the rights to life, liberty and property. The government’s support for the fossil fuel industry and its encouragement of continued coal, oil and gas burning poses a direct and immediate threat to the continued existence of a livable climate for the human race. This is clearly an attack on life, liberty and property for the youth of America. Simply put, the extraction and burning of fossil fuels is unconstitutional.
“We commend the young plaintiffs in this case for their willingness to stand up and take on entrenched, deep-pocketed power structures in government and the fossil fuel industry. We will continue to provide whatever legal and scientific expertise is necessary to help ensure that justice is done, and fossil fuels are outlawed once and for all.”
Assisting a fight like this is only possible with support from members like yourself who know how imperative it is for these kids to win this legal battle. Help us push toward a victory for these kids and for climate change with a donation now. This planet is the only one we get.