Climate Change

Youth-led Lawsuit Against The U.S. Government For Climate Inaction

Photo credit: Our Children's Trust

Back in August 2015, a group of 21 young people decided to come together and address their livelihoods being affected by climate change. And no, they didn’t create a viral video on YouTube. They decided to file a constitutional climate change lawsuit directly against the United States Federal Government.

Our Children’s Trust (OCT) represents the youth in this lawsuit, arguing that the Federal Government is not only violating the youth’s fundamental right to life, liberty, and property but also the Public Trust Doctrine, by knowingly engaging in actions that create a dangerous climate situation.

Two days after last year’s election, the 21 plaintiffs secured a historic federal court ruling via U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon that stated, for the first time in history, that the U.S. Constitution protects the fundamental right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life. Following this ruling, the Trump Administration requested an appeal, but on May 1st, U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin rejected the request.

The request must be reviewed by another Judge, but if he shares Judge Coffin’s opinion, this case can head to trial later this year, wherein OCT hopes to secure a binding legal ruling against the Federal Government to act on creating a stable, healthy atmosphere and ocean for its citizens.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation is proud to support Our Children’s Trust. It is our hope that these youths today, and those generations from now, can experience a stable climate and enjoy the same beautiful natural systems as we do today.

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