Youth win big climate change victory

Youth win big climate change victory


Earlier this month, a monumental decision was handed down in what could be the forerunner to the most important trial in the history of the world.

On April 8, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin of the Federal District Court in Eugene, Oregon decided in favor of 21 young plaintiffs between the ages of 8 and 19 in their monumental climate change lawsuit against the federal government.

This plaintiffs, with the support of the organization Our Children’s Trust, are suing the federal government for violating their constitutional rights by allowing and promoting the use of fossil fuels which are known to be harmful the environment.

They claim, with justification, that the federal government has been violating the Fifth and Ninth Amendments by denying them the protections available to previous generations by favoring short term growth over the long term interests of citizens.

Naturally, this provoked a response from the oil industry.

In early January, nearly every petroleum country around the world attempted to inject themselves into the case, with only three trade associations being allowed to represent the entirety of this group.

These associations, and the federal government, attempted to have the case dismissed on the grounds that it would directly hurt their business.

Despite this, Coffin ruled against them and in favor of the young plaintiffs, deciding that the plaintiff’s claim had enough merit to move forward.

The case will now be able to go to a full trial, meaning that should the plaintiffs win, the entire fossil fuel industry will be turned on its head.

The fossil fuel industries would be severely limited, not only that, but this case could potentially invalidate thousands of drilling leases, according to EcoWatch.

This case is without a doubt astonishing, a true story of David and Goliath for the modern age.

These kids deserve major credit for figuring out that the system wasn’t going to do anything for them, so they were going to make the system work for them.

In addition, what they did took bravery. Instead of living a normal life of going to school and not having to worry about nothing more than homework and friends, they are trying to save the world.

No matter whether they win or lose, they have still done something that most people wouldn’t have had the guts to do.

They are truly the heroes of not only this generation, but for every generation to come. I hold a massive amount of respect for them.

Inversely, I hold nothing but contempt for the federal government and the fossil fuel industry.

They’ve known for decades just how badly their actions were messing up the environment for future generations.

In a study released last year, the Union of Concerned Scientists reported that Exxon has none of the human role in climate change since 1981, but has still funded campaigns of denial.

Even with this knowledge, instead of changing their ways, they continued to pervert and destroy the environment for a quick buck.

It’s important to understand just how big the effects of climate change are and are projected to be.

The federal government’s 2014 National Climate Assessment is a great resource for exploring in depth the human consequences of climate change all around the country.

Among the most pressing issues facing people in the southeast are sea level rise, heat waves and water crises. All of these changes will cost in terms of health and the economy.

For everyone on the planet, and especially those who have most of their lives ahead of them, this is a defining issue. If it is not addressed, it would have devastating consequences.

It’s sickening to think that had Coffin not been the morally sound, forward-thinking man he is, this case wouldn’t have been able to go forward and nothing would’ve changed.

But now there is a chance that things can be turned around, and it is all thanks to 21 of the finest young people that our generation has to offer.

I thank them, everyone who cares about thanks them, and should they win, future generations will thank them too.

Russell, a freshman journalism major from Charlotte, is an opinion writer.