Two Youth Climate Justice Lawsuits Move Forward

 

Aji Adonis and Gabe discuss their climate lawsuits with Philipe Cousteau

Two distinct landmark lawsuits advance toward trial, moving us closer to the day pollution becomes unconstitutional. Youth sue for climate justice and courts move “with all deliberate speed.” But will it be fast enough?

Washington State: On April 18th Judge Hollis Hill in King County Superior Court, GRANTED youth petitioners’ motion to…

“supplement and amend their petition to plead therein a complaint for declaratory judgment or other action regarding their claims that respondent Ecology and/or others are violating their rights to a healthy environment as protected by statute…and by the Public Trust Doctrine embodied therein. The Court takes this action due to the emergent need for coordinated science based action by the State of Washington to address climate change before efforts to do so are too costly and too late.” 

What does all that mean? Simply, the case will go to trial. Judge Hill goes on to review Washington law on climate and failures to protect the elements young citizens will require to reach adulthood.

“It is time for these youth to have the opportunity to address their concerns in a court of law, concerns raised under statute and under the state and federal constitutions. They have argued their petition for a rule limiting GHG emissions based on best available science. A rule has now been adopted, which Ecology agreed during oral arguments on 11/22/16, is not intended to achieve the requirements of RCW 70.235.020.” (That’s the old 2008 global warming law which Gov. Inslee ordered Ecology to update 3 years ago, which was why youth originally filed their petition, to update the dangerously obsolete targets in the old law. The new rule does not meet those old targets).

Last year, sadly, the Dept of Ecology under Governor Inslee appealed the historic legal decision in the youth climate case, which defined for the first time in history that Washington youth possess rights to a stable climate under our constitution. So in her latest ruling Judge Hill concludes, “IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Petitioners seek leave of the Court of Appeals…for formal entry of the order, if necessary, as this may or may not change a decision in this case now under review by the Court of Appeals, Division 1.”

Progress is steady but too slow. Global warming won’t wait. One way or another this case goes to trial. Will justice arrive in time to make a difference?

What can you do about it? Read on!

FEDERAL CASE: The youth survived yet another motion to derail them from being heard in court. Listen to Kelsey Juliana describe her reaction to the news:

http://klcc.org/post/judge-recommends-against-trump-s-appeal-youth-climate-lawsuit

For a nice update, check Bill Moyers site, Kids Suing Trump Hope the Courts Step Up on Climate. The federal case stands as the bright spot in climate news these days, because the judiciary branch of our government rules based on facts, and is not so easily corrupted. Or as Julia Olsen, attorney for Our Children’s Trust says, “In a court of law, ‘alternative facts’ are considered perjury.” At a press conference on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court she went on, “It is time for defendants to accept that they are going to trial and stop trying to bend the rule of law to delay judgment in this case.”

Later this year we hope to witness more ground-breaking rulings as 21 youth plaintiffs in court take on 9 federal agencies and the entire fossil fuel industry (who as co-defendants bring their own attorney stating, “this case threatens our business model”). That’s 650 oil, coal, and gas corporations in a constitutional case against youth suing for a legal remedy to defend their inalienable rights to life and liberty.

REMEDY: Youth in these lawsuits demand that government use the best available science to limit deadly pollution. That’s no secret formula. It goes like this:

CUT POLLUTION 10% each year starting now + PLANT 10 YEARS of human pollution back into new forests and low-till organic agriculture. For each year we fail to begin, those numbers climb up, up, up. Starting in 2025, we would need to cut 25% each year, and plant twice as many trees. We pollute so much each year and we are already way beyond a safe limit. So the only legal, moral thing to do is stop now.

Any plan to restore climate balance has to put excess greenhouse gases back in the ground. That’s what trees do best! Trees take time to grow big enough to make a difference. So new agriculture practices, letting living carbon matter return to the soil, while shrinking livestock and dairy, and 1 trillion new trees will soak up carbon like a sponge. That’s 150 trees per person on earth today. (But you can plant more because it really is fun, whether you do it online, or grab a shovel and get your two hands dirty.)

“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The next best time is today.” –proverb

Get the climate back down to a stable level of energy balance fast enough to maybe make the world safe near the end of these kids’ lifetimes. Will 10% annual cuts and 1 trillion trees do it fast enough? Can it be done faster?

You and I decide. As Chief Arvol Looking Horse says,”The fate of the world comes down to you and me.”

Stopping pollution any slower than 10%, or not putting extra pollution back, the kids argue in these cases, violates their right to life and liberty. But any legal remedies could take years, maybe decades, to translate into public policy solutions. Meanwhile we are violating children’s rights every time we fill up the tank, turn up the heat, or flip on the light.

So what are you waiting for?

Stop polluting, Start planting!

 

Not Buying Anything: Happy Winter Solstice

http://notbuyinganything.blogspot.com/2016/12/happy-winter-solstice.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+NotBuyingAnything+(Not+Buying+Anything)&m=1

Thanks for all life to come

Stepping out of my lead role in Climate Change for Families, organizing in Plant-for-the-Planet and Our Children’s Trust legal efforts, and collaborating with other climate youth initiatives worldwide, I am grateful for the chance to make a difference with wonderful people. Following my act of civil disobedience in North Dakota I face likely prison time. Those who have worked with me know I’m the volunteer “Disorganizer”. Expect things to run much better as I serve others, rather than coordinate activities.

On Saturday, families meet to chart a path forward. We are all volunteers. I would love to hand over a growing organization, with one paid position for 2017. Our budget is so tiny, your donations today might make that possible. Each dollar given to Climate Change for Families pays our tiny expenses or plants tiny trees (You can choose, or let us put your donation where it is most needed). Your gifts help win tiny grants by showing how many people value our work.

To protect life on earth, the world needs more than money. Groups like ours need your time and energy. The future needs your commitment.Clearly, no government, no court, no corporation will force us to stop polluting soon enough. And yet “it is we who decide what nature is, and what it isn’t.”

What active contribution will you make for the good of all life to come?

On December 10th, Plant-for-the-Planet Ambassadors for Climate Justice will plant giant Coastal Redwood saplings here in Puget Sound, cloned from the DNA of a monster tree stump in California. Redwoods need to migrate north with climate change. The trees live for thousands of years. Can our mild marine climate protect them as oceans warm up through this hot century? Will we stop polluting fast enough to cool the planet by 2100? If we succeed, these tiny 3′ saplings the kids plant on December 10th might live to shelter newly evolved species in 3100, or in the year 6100. Wow!!

redwood-base

This week, youth await Judge Hill’s ruling on whether Ecology owes our kids a real Climate Recovery plan — not just the state Clean Air Rule which the state admits fails to cover all emissions or even mention forests. Should we win and the courts oversee a just climate plan for future generations, how many years will the state and polluters fight against implementation? Will these kids fight for life all the rest of their lives?

wp-1480451485714.jpg

If the world fails to get it together before 2020, we will need to cut emissions 15% annually until we are done with fuels. Does that seem impossible? If we start today, we need only 9% less pollution in 2017 and every year going forward. Will you cut your emissions 9% this year? Can you? Can your workplace?

It’s easier than you might think. And the results can be contagious. Think of it as wanting less, not more. When people live as if money makes the world go ’round, they make a hot mess. We got where we are today making more money and a big mess. For our kids to live well, should we work harder making a living or will we make things live?

Consider the sum of all you do for the planet, then multiply the good stuff. On Giving Tuesday, please don’t limit yourself to money. Donate time and love too. Donate creativity, lend a hand, and give up your pollution as quickly as you can. What gifts will you share?

We take a stand for life. I know we love our families more than anything and other living things so much that we will be the ones who make future life both possible and abundant, by changing our climate for the better. For that love and care, I am grateful.

If you would like to help Climate Change for Families, just tell us how you want to contribute. We all depend on one another giving.

In gratitude, Michael

 

Kids make history today

Tuesday November 22, 2016 King County Superior Court, Seattle WA

3pm Press Conference

4pm Hearing Open to the public!

Come watch Judge Hill weigh in on how best to defend our children’s air and water against climate change and from deliberate neglect by the state Dept of Ecology under Governor Inslee.

As of October, Washington now has a state Clean Air Act finished under order of Judge Hollis Hill, whose prior historic rulings — in favor of protecting children’s essential resources against climate dangers — became landmark decisions celebrated around the world. In May, Judge Hill directed the state Dept of Ecology to finish the rule-making in 2016 because, “These children cannot wait. Polar bears cannot wait. People in Bangladesh cannot wait. While I may not address the needs in those matters, I do have authority in this courtroom, and that is why I am taking this action today.”

Ecology quickly finished a rule which gives away tons of pollution permits for free and requires the 19 worst polluters in the state to start reducing emissions 1.7% starting a few years from now or not, in other words, a rule which does nothing to address our emergency. “ALL DONE!” Ecology admits their plan falls short even for those 19 polluters to satisfy the old limits set way back in 2008. Meanwhile the planet cooks coral reefs, ice caps, forests, and species, all vanishing faster than predicted.

At Tuesday’s “Show Cause” hearing Judge Hill will listen to the children’s lawyer Andrea Rogers argue that the court must intervene because Ecology refuses to follow the judge’s prior rulings to do our part to protect the air and water these children will need for a livable future.

The Dept of Ecology under climate champion Governor Jay Inslee has no plan. No secret Proposals. No clue how to protect our children’s air and water. After 2 years of losing in court to the children they fight against, they still fight to protect corporate polluters. Under our Washington constitution, the state may not choose profits over the people.

Yet, sadly, to win “contempt of court” against a state agency is a very difficult legal standard to prove. How will the judge decide? Nobody knows. I hope we’ll see you in court to find out.

REVIEW Q: Under Judge Hill’s prior rulings, who reserves constitutional rights to air and water in the future?

A: It ain’t polluters.

The 10% rule

When will the founder of 350.org share science on how we get back to 350ppm CO2?

For our children to inherit a planet similar to the one we knew, 350 is the upper limit for the amount of CO2 in the air, the greenhouse gas that fuel-burning pollutes in Gigatons. It was 280ppm (ppm = parts per million) before the industrial revolution. We polluted past 350ppm in the 1980s, back when I was in college. This month CO2 stayed above 400ppm in the time of year it is lowest. “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot” nobody living today will experience a world with less than 400ppm again. For every 4 molecules of CO2 that you breathe in right now, one of those was placed there by human pollution. And we need to change that quick, before temperatures cook our biosphere.

Here is the math that defines my kids’ century: Earth now requires 9% reductions in carbon pollution in 2017. 10% in 2018, and rising fast if we don’t act now. Plus humans must help the planet restore 100GtC of our pollution into the ground, or roughly a decade of human emissions into trees and soil.

If we don’t change our ways… 2°C in 2050 means our kids and their descendants next century will face diseases, droughts, fires, floods, and endure wars for water and food, as temperatures keep rising and eventually wipe out most plants and animals that breathe oxygen. For the next few centuries there will be no path back to 350, because we dicker and delay. But today in 2016 we have that window open to a living planet for the next millenia.

For a start, ban all new extraction projects worldwide. By digging up fuel when we know the consequences, we commit deliberate crimes against humanity and nature. Keep it in the ground. Children are suing the federal government for extraction of fuels that has violated their ability to live on the planet in their lifetime. They demand justice, a climate recovery plan.

Can we stop ourselves? Can we police and disarm our industrial digging machines? Can we prosecute violators? Can we consume less?

Of course we can. We are nature defending itself, from us. Who better to stop the ticking bomb than the ones who built it? We need everyone, you and me, to play a part.

Yet green groups refuse to tell us the whole truth or demand what our children require of us. Why?  Maybe people don’t donate as much when told they have to change the way they live immediately.

9% – 10% less pollution means each year mom and dad will generate 10% less CO2 at work, buy 10% less fossil-fueled products with their pay, and burn 10% less gas getting to work. Consuming 10% less in year 1 and 2 is do-able. In year 3, 4, 5 how do you keep doing it?

Since we’ve already taken so much from the land and oceans, can clean energy save us from our voracious over-consumption? Will we extract, transport, and burn 10% less fuel this year?

The Question, for the next millenia of all life as we know it on this tiny blue marble,  this Eden sweltering in space: How can we feed, clothe, and house our communities fuel-free and restore wildness to half-earth.  I know we can do it.  How fast?

According to E.O. Wilson, we need to preserve “Half-Earth” in wildness for species biodiversity on which we depend to continue. We’ve already interfered with more than half. Can we work at restoring what’s been disturbed? Planting another trillion trees will take a lot of work and a lot of land.

With corporate power and fuel money slamming the brakes on progress, will corporations stop themselves? Maybe one day. If corporations are made of people, and those people have children, then it is only in their self-interest to stop if they want to survive. Let’s make that stopping point now, not later.

Unless you provide a real service for people, produce food, build efficiencies or store carbon, the economy might be better off with 10% less of what you do each year until we kick our fuel habit for good. The Solutions Project demonstrates how each state in the USA can go 100% clean energy, and must of the change comes through efficiency and conservation, saving the energy you don’t need.

Think about how you care for your family, what role you play in the just transition to living in honest relation with our common home. Will you transition to an essential career soon, or make do with less as we re-learn to feed ourselves?

Some jobs will get phased out completely by 2022. Industrial beef and cruise ships are done. Air travel shrinks until Boeing delivers a solar plane. To live as one healthy actor in our common home, what do we need more of?

350.org does great work. I hope green groups find the courage to point the way forward to climate recovery for this generation, not just protests, not false solutions, not 2°C or 1.5°C. Point us to the physical, ethical red line for survival, 350ppm this century.

We can do the math and we know. Our children depend on us.

Recovery

3 years ago today, we heard awesome young people speak across generations on Climate Recovery. Gabe defined the solution starting in 2013, 6% less pollution each year and massive reforestation.

Last week WA Ecology announced a Clean Air Rule to limit pollution roughly 1% – 1.7% each year that only covers 60% of our greenhouse gas and starts in 2020.

According to expert research in the kids’ legal case against WA Ecology, we’ll need 15% cuts if we start in 2020. Because leaders relied on markets and fracking to save us, this year our planet needs 8% cuts!

Or 9% in 2017…

Or if we don’t achieve that, +10% in 2018…

After that climate recovery starts to become unworkable in any timeframe of interest to humans.

Everything we do today matters greatly to all living things on earth. We are the humans who “decide what nature is and what it isn’t.”

Climate recovery for this generation is still mathematically possible only if we act today. Leaders don’t know how to get 10% less pollution next year. Yet the world doesn’t work for today’s kids if we don’t. So let’s figure it out together.

Stop polluting. Demand our leaders,  candidates and businesses stop too. Make climate the number one priority. Ambassadors wrote letters asking polluters to begin now on a path to recovery. You can write letters too. Will you?

If we won’t speak up for what we actually need, how can we ever get it?

Plus we must make these changes ourselves. Can you find 10% savings in your home this year?

The good news? Saving the planet together is FUN. We get all kinds of wonderful good healthy things in the bargain. No act of kindness for our planet today is wasted.

Greenhouse gasses build up. We make them.  We stop them. We can’t give up. We can do it if we all act now. (We means you too.)

TWO October Academies!

Have you ever wanted to change the world? Seattle and West Seattle youth can become Ambassadors for Climate Justice in October!

planet-planet-025

FREE to all students ages 9 – 14, includes t-shirt and book “Tree By Tree”

SEATTLE Plant-for-the-Planet Academy
Saturday October 8th 2016
8:30am Registration
9 – 5:30pm Academy
University Christian Church
4731 15th Ave NE Seattle 98105

WEST SEATTLE Plant-for-the-Planet Academy
Saturday October 29th 2016
9:00am – 5:30pm
Westside Unitarian Church
7141 California Ave SW Seattle 98136

Students learn to inspire Tree-Planting efforts as Ambassadors for Climate Justice. Influence leaders, organize your school and neighborhood, make a better world. Plant-For-The-Planet Academy helps you get started.

SIGN UP TODAY!

Inspire Governor Inslee to act for our kids’ rights

Thanks to our Ambassadors and our amazing lawyer, Washington kids have rights to future nature that nobody else in the world has… yet! Washington kids won their lawsuit against the Dept of Ecology. The Governor now has to act to protect your rights to air and water in the future. We are going to give him people power to enact bold plans to preserve Washington kids’ air and water this week!

Gabe, our current Seattle president wrote an important editorial that was published today in 2 sites http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/05/13/emissions-limits-will-test-gov-inslees-greenest-gov-claim

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gabe-mandell/emissions-limits-will-tes_b_9959330.html

Share it! Do you tweet?
https://twitter.com/commondreams/status/731179333625188352

Help Governor Inslee make history this week! Get all your friends and neighbors to tell our Governor, Use the best current Climate Science to write a new Clean Air Rule to get our kids back to the future!
Sign the petition here:

Contact Governor Inslee TODAY: 4% Now or Bust!

Let’s get this out so the Governor hears from as many people as possible this week. Everybody needs to flood Olympia with calls in support of a 4% (or more) path to climate stability, the only way to protect kids’ constitutional rights to Washington’s air and water in the future. Petitions, calls, congratulations, to the Governor for winning superpowers to accelerate the emissions reduction 3x faster than the proposed Clean Air Rule. He can do what no other governor in history could do, act urgently to limit pollution quickly enough to protect children’s rights (and he must set emissions targets higher if he plans to avoid violating those same rights).

Call 360-902-4111 or use this Web form to write Governor Inslee!

Sign and share this petition!

This Week’s Landmark Climate Lawsuit articles:

  • Huffington Post:
    Washington State Kids Score Huge Legal Win In Climate Change Lawsuit
  • Think Progress:
    Judge Sides With Kids Suing The Government Over Climate Inaction: ‘These Kids Can’t Wait’
  • The Stranger:
    King County Judge Makes Historic Ruling Against Washington State in Climate Change Case
  • Forbes:
    Kids Win Again In Lawsuit Blaming Gov’t For Not Fighting Global Warming
  • Ecowatch:
    Massive Victory for 7 Kids in Climate Change Lawsuit in Washington State

We need this on the Today Show. If we teach people what this case means, (kids now have rights to nature, air and water, in a changing climate, state government has a constitutional obligation to preserve those resources on a path to climate stability) then it becomes a defining moment in the Governor’s term, and he will act to cut emissions quickly.

This victory recognizing kids’ climate rights and ordering the government to act faster is the happiest climate news you will get in 2016! Celebrate and share!
Let’s convince the Governor that this is his golden ticket into history. Send out to everyone and every network you know. The cement is still wet on the draft Clean Air Rule. But by next week, the Washington Department of Ecology may be committed to a rule that violates children’s rights. If we mobilize enough support quickly, we could celebrate the nation’s best draft climate rule at the end of this month. #ClimateRecovery #350orBust

 

Michael Foster

The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade one never expects to sit.         –Nelson Henderson

On Wed, May 4, 2016, Michael Foster wrote:

We won big. We ALL won! Celebrate for a moment.

Imagine if, as President Obama and the EPA prepared the Clean Power Plan, the courts intervened to direct EPA to act urgently to protect the human rights of youth to air, land and water in a changing climate.
That’s just what happened in Washington State on Friday when Seattle kids returned to court in an administrative case with Ecology and won it all. This year the court has granted them rights under the Washington constitution to the resources essential to life, our atmosphere, land and water.
victoryinWA
Celebrate Victory for climate in Washington!
Governor Inslee is the first and only Governor to ever receive the gift of a judicial mandate to lead on climate to protect childrens’ rights, because on Friday it happened unequivocally for the first time in US history. His golden ticket came in a dramatic ruling from the bench, as the judge reasoned, “…these kids can’t wait. Polar bears can’t wait. the people in Bangladesh can’t wait. While I do not have jurisdiction in those matters, I do have jurisdiction in this court and that is why I am taking this action today.”
It sounded just like a page from one of Inslee’s climate speeches! What a perfect gift for the man who worked so hard only to see his own carbon legislation held hostage in a fossil-fueled Senate. Now he holds the unique privilege of being the first governor directed by the judge to direct Ecology to re-write the Clean Air Rule as the strongest in the nation, to protect our children’s resources.
That’s poetic justice. Congratulations Governor!
Kids presented Ecology the best available science on emissions limits to protect their resources, (4% a year in Washington, 6% globally) coupled with carbon sequestration (roughly 1 billion trees in Washington, 1 trillion globally).
Ecology presented no science to support their current targets (about 1.5% annually only covering 60% emissions), which they themselves deem “inadequate”.
With this judicial milestone linking human rights and ecology, the Dept of Ecology will construct a game-changing climate recovery rule, a model for the USA and the world. The Rule can still be re-drafted this month with new targets before it is released to public hearings.
It’s the first, best moment for our governor to lead on his strength as a climate champion. IF he chooses to make a bold move in an election year, Governor Inslee can declare “we are mobilizing against pollution to protect children’s rights” with a judge’s order in his hand. “4% Now or Bust!”
His dream come true, fixing climate for Washington kids.
Should industries attempt to block the new Rule, constitutional human rights of children prevail. With such a clear proposed rule, we might see emissions change course before the next legislative session and Olympia put a price on carbon. This changes everything.
  • Celebrate the court granting the constitutional rights of our children to inhabit a livable climate.
  • Celebrate the court defining the obligation of governments to preserve our land water and air for people in the face of immediate, colossal disruption.
Ecology will use their new powers to complete a strong Rule which protects the plaintiffs’ rights to future resources as the judge ordered, or face legal action for wasting more precious time that these kids can’t lose.
As plaintiffs Aji & Adonis sing,
“Think about the future generations, 
think about the lives they’ll live, 
think about our children’s children’s children. 
What to them do you give?”

 

Is Governor Inslee the leader to truly change history? We’re about to find out. We’re lucky to have an executive who understands climate science in the Governor’s mansion. One way or another, we stand to witness a pivotal moment of the 21st century in May.
Michael Foster

Teen Spotted in Early A.M. Taking On Federal Government and Fossil Fuel Industry! 

Aji had to roll out of bed in the middle of the night to record this interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. Along with Julia Olson, director of Our Children’s Trust, Aji describes the 2 lawsuits in which he is a plaintiff suing for #ClimateRecovery on behalf of all living things.

Watch to the very end to hear Aji’s song!:Landmark Climate Lawsuit: Meet the Youth Activists Suing the U.S. Government & Fossil Fuel Industry

http://www.democracynow.org/2016/4/14/landmark_climate_lawsuit_meet_the_youth

Aji Piper on Democracy Now! 4/14/2016
Aji Piper on Democracy Now! 4/14/2016