To ‘Secure a Livable Future,’ 30,000 Youth Urge Court to Let Landmark Climate Suit Go to Trial

Written by on March 1, 2019 in Climate Change, Environment with 0 Comments

Youth climate activists attend the Minnesota March for Science held in St. Paul in April 2017. (Photo: Lorie Shaull/Flickr/cc)

By Jake Johnson | Common Dreams

Calling for an end to years of delays and inaction as global warming continues to accelerate, over 30,000 young people signed on to an amicus brief urging the Ninth Circuit to allow a landmark youth climate lawsuit to proceed to trial.

“I am so hyped to see how many other young people feel empowered to support us in this amicus brief and push for change for our futures,” Miko Vergun, a 17-year-old plaintiff in Juliana v. United States, said in a statement on Thursday. “The amount of young people… who added their names to support this brief is a representation of all the youth who know that their futures and their planet are at stake.”

The Juliana case began in 2015, when a group of young people aged 11-22 sued the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property by enacting policies that contributed to the climate crisis.

The Trump administration has repeatedly attempted to stop the lawsuit moving forward. In November, as Common Dreams reported, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump White House's request for a stay in the case.

Zero Hour—a youth-led climate group representing the more than 30,000 young people—said it plans to file the amicus brief (pdf) on Friday.

“The Trump administration is doing everything it can to stop Juliana v. United Statesfrom going to trial. The youth cannot let that happen,” said Jamie Margolin, the 17-year-old founder of Zero Hour. “We are filing the Young People's brief to show that thousands of youth across America not only feel the urgency of climate action, but also understand that the youth climate lawsuit must proceed to secure a livable future.”

The youth-led court battle with the Trump administration comes as young Americans throughout the U.S. are urgently mobilizing in support of the Green New Deal resolution, which supporters say is the only plan that would address climate change with the level of ambition required by the science.

“These rallies aren't just about chanting and being on the news. They are about us defending our right to be heard and our right to a home, to clean air and water, and to a livable future,” wrote Sunrise Movement member Destine Grigsby, who participated in a sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's Washington, D.C. office earlier this week. “[I]f we fight back, if we share our stories, we can build a bigger movement and win.”

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