Impact Wins: Kids go to Court for a Safe Climate

By: Martha Molfetas

Impact Wins: these days, it can seem like good news rarely happens - especially in relation to climate change and the environment we all rely on. Once a month, you can expect a blog from us that features some good news on climate action and environmental protection.

For those following climate news, kids taking the government to court over climate change no longer has the shock factor it once did. It looks like the kids will be more than alright - it looks like they may actually win in the courts. There are several proceedings happening simultaneously, all involving kids usually younger than 17-years old, going to the mattresses for their futures. For all our sake's, here's hoping they are successful.

  • Sixteen young Alaskans are suing the state over climate change, as sea level rise threatens coastal communities and melting permafrost wreaks havoc on others. Alaska relies very heavily on state profits from oil and gas drilling. The kids are suing the state for both causing climate change and failing to protect future generations from a life unimaginable; while pushing for the state to go carbon neutral by 2050. 
  • At the federal level, 21 young plaintiffs from Oregon are suing the United States government for refusing to address climate change. They have stated that this refusal has threatened the constitutionally-enshrined rights for us all, but particularly young people today and the future generations who will inherit a climate-changed world of scarcity. Right now this lawsuit has made its way to the Supreme Court and will be heard in October of this year.
  • This April in Florida, eight young people, including a ten-year-old, sued to force the state government to act on climate change, through a science-based 'Climate Recovery Plan'. Florida is uniquely vulnerable to climate impacts ranging from sea level rise to increased heat index, to more intense storms.


One thing is pretty clear - the kids are right. If we fail to address climate change today, we will force future generations to face a life unimaginable. It's anybody's guess how these lawsuits will unfold, but it's certain that these kids are on the right side of history.


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