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We are rapidly approaching a “tipping point” beyond which it will become virtually impossible to reverse climate change. Yet all over the United States, our government leaders continue to ignore the existing, scientifically-proven solutions for reversing climate change. The human rights challenge is most succinctly summarized by former Irish President and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, “Climate change will, in short, have immense human consequences.” But there is hope, and it lies in the voice and power of our youth.
To help convey this message to our government, WITNESS partnered with Our Children’s Trust, the iMatter Campaign and students from Montana State University’s MFA in Science and Natural History Filmmaking to co-produce a series of videos highlighting how climate change and government inaction is affecting the everyday lives of our youth.
In the meantime, youth from across the US took legal action against all 50 states and the federal government for our leaders’ collective failure to protect the atmosphere for current and future generations. Their legal actions were based on our government’s obligation to protect the resources we all share and depend upon for life: our air and water.
Here, for example, is WITNESS’ announcement when the first five lawsuits were filed in 2011:
Beginning today, on Jan. 20th, some of the young people featured in the TRUST Series, along with many others, will head to courts in Washington State, Oregon, New Mexico, Arizona and Alaska. They are hoping judges will make considered decisions in their favor in what some have called the most remarkable legal actions to halt human-induced climate change. The youth are asking the courts to require their states to develop climate recovery plans based on sound science. The government defendants in all five states are asking that the public trust cases be dismissed.