Climate Outloud Saturday

The Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the Washington State youth climate lawsuit in July. The state seeks to reverse the historic ruling, which was the first time a government in the USA was directed by the courts to address climate change for young citizens. The earlier decision recognized the rights of youth to air and water under the Public Trust Doctrine, and the court ruled that the Dept of Ecology had to finish a Clean Air Rule in 2016.
And so Ecology finished it on time.
But then why is Ecology appealing the landmark decision? Under Gov. Inslee? And given these precedent-setting victories for young citizens under our state constitution, what legal challenges will these youth plaintiffs bring next?

All are invited to “Climate Outloud” on Saturday, July 29 at Burien Library.

Nature Stewards Program, Burien King County Library and Humanities WA,  present an all-day event featuring the landmark Washington climate case and the “Most Talked about Court Case of the Century” – Kids Sue the Federal Government for not Protecting their Right to a Livable Future.  These cases will both be discussed in “Climate Outloud.”

Andrea Rodgers, the attorney from Our Children’s Trust representing the kids, will explain the cases and answer questions.  Hear testimony from the young plaintiffs living in Seattle.

11 a.m. – supporting non-profit organizations introductions,

Noon – plaintiffs sharing

2pm – attorneys answer questions

The main conference room on the first floor of the library is open to the public from 11 a.m. to closing at 5 p.m.

Contact GraceStiller@comcast.net  cell phone 206.795.5783; office 425.228.7927

For more information, including an Event Schedule, Toolkit, etc.: http://naturestewardswa.org/climate-outloud/

Picnic for the Planet

Seattle-area families:

We are excited about our upcoming Plant for the Planet birthday party on Sunday July 30. Our celebration will begin with a speak out on the beach to let carnival cruise lines know we want them to stop using dirty bunker fuel on its ships. Then we will relocate to beautiful magnolia bluff park for music, games and food in celebration of 4 great years of Seattle Plant for the Planet and also 17 great years of Aji Piper’s amazing life!

Then on Wednesday, August 2nd plant for the planet ambassadors will hand-deliver a petition to the carnival cruise lines Seattle headquarters to ask them to clean up their act.

Sunday, July 30
3-5pm carnival cruise lines beach speak out at smith cove park, part of stand.earth’s #dirtyships campaign
23rd ave w @ w Marina place, adjacent to Elliot Bay Marina ( don’t park at marina please)
5-8pm music,games, food at Magnolia Park
1461 magnolia Blvd w, Seattle, 98199

Wednesday, August 2
10am-noon
Petition delivery and speak out in front of carnival cruise lines Seattle office, lower Queen Anne at 450 3rd ave W

We would love to have as many ambassadors as possible on both of these days. Please let us know if you can come!

Azure (and Kristen),
Lead ambassador for the #dirtyships campaign
More info at http://www.stand.earth

Sophie’s Op-Ed: Why I sued the federal government

The Morning Call 22 June 2017

Man-made climate change is the biggest threat facing my generation. So I, along with 20 other youths from across the United States, am working to solve this problem by bringing an unprecedented lawsuit against the federal government.

In our civil rights case, titled Juliana, et al. v. United States, et al. and available at ourchildrenstrust.org, we assert that the government is violating our constitutional right to life, liberty and property by approving emissions of fatally high levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, despite being aware of its damaging effects.

Earth has warmed 1 degree Celsius this past century. Letting temperature rise another 0.4 degree would be catastrophic. We will experience greater weather extremes, including floods, droughts and superstorms, which will affect food supply. Sea level rise of several meters will destroy coastal cities, forcing the displacement of millions of people and bringing chaos among governments.

Our case was filed in federal court in Oregon on Aug. 12, 2015. The government responded by filing a motion to dismiss our case before it could get to trial. We all traveled to Eugene, Ore., to participate in a hearing on March 9, 2016.

The initial hearing was the first time all 21 plaintiffs met together. Some of us are experienced activists, and some of us avoid the spotlight. Some are extroverts who speak freely on television shows and in magazine interviews, while others have their words carefully penned on the papers they cling to with shaking hands. But we all share a common goal: to be heard and taken seriously. We know that we are fighting for a viable future.

We listened as the government’s lawyers argued that we had a weak case. They did not deny global warming or the damage being done to the planet, but they denied any responsibility to address the crisis.

First, the U.S. government sets our national energy policy and what kind of fuels we use. When it sets standards for how inefficient the things that burn those fuels can be, like our cars, the U.S. government is taking action. When it leases land to corporations to dig up coal or drill for oil or gas, the U.S. government is taking action. When it offers tax breaks and subsidies to fossil fuel companies, the U.S. government is taking action. When it permits the pollution that comes out of the energy system it controls, the U.S. government is taking action. When you add up all these actions, the U.S. government, more than anyone else, is responsible for the level of carbon dioxide pollution that will determine the climate in my lifetime.

As a young person, I’m not worried about President Donald Trump’s opinions on climate change, but the U.S. government’s actions. Because I know the actions it takes today to promote fossil fuels will cause fossil fuel emissions, and those emissions will cause climate change. And that climate change will mean impacts that I will have to live with, throughout my lifetime.

That’s why I take a little comfort in knowing that Trump can withdraw from the Paris agreement, but he can’t withdraw from my lawsuit. U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin, in his 2016 opinion allowing the lawsuit to proceed, wrote that “the alleged valuing of short-term economic interest, despite the cost to human life, necessitates a need for the courts to evaluate the constitutional parameters of the action or inaction taken by the government.”

This means that we will have a trial near the end of this year. We feel excited and optimistic about returning to Eugene and appearing in court again.

Our case may be in the court system for years, but a win on the Supreme Court level will force the government to develop and implement a plan to rapidly reduce emissions. Logical and feasible solutions exist to limit emissions, and economic studies have shown that these solutions would increase gross national product and create millions of jobs. I feel strongly that it is my and my fellow plaintiffs responsibility to spread awareness about this to other young people — we must all take ownership of our future.

Sophie Kivlehan, a 2017 graduate from Parkland High School, will attend Dickinson College in the fall.

Ambassadors pushing Seattle Council to support Paris Agreement

The Seattle City Council Monday resolved to maintain and develop the environmental standards of the Paris Agreement. Before the vote on Monday, 12th of June 2017 two Plant for the Planet Climate Justice Ambassadors spoke in support of this resolution.

15 year old CJA Jamie Margolin spoke out for labeling Gas Pumps with Warming Labels about the effect fossil fuels have on the Climate.

 

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11 year old CJA Azure Faloona urged the Council to support the resolution and discussed the scientific basis to keep warming below 1.5 degrees and CO2 levels below 350 ppm.

Check out their testimonies in this YouTube video:

You can find the full hearing at seattlechannel.org. And you can also read a summary at the Seattle Times.

To stay in touch:

  • Email Rusty West to learn more or sign up and get our newsletter.
  • Follow us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram to keep up-to-date with news and events.
  • Donate to our good cause to save the world for kids and kids to come!

We will continue to take action! Climate Kids react to Paris

The Climate Justice Ambassadors at Plant for the Planet are taking action against Climate Change. With our Three Step Plan (Planting 1 trillion trees, Stopping Carbon Emissions, and fighting poverty with Climate Justice) we can bring the Climate back under control, but we need everyone to act now! We do not have time for the White House’s terrible policies. Watch Climate Justice Ambassadors Athena Fain and Adonis Piper react to the news of Donald Trump announcing to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement on Komo News.

Our Climate Kids, together with lawyer Andrea Rodgers, are suing WA State over Climate inaction
Our Climate Kids, together with lawyer Andrea Rodgers, are suing WA State over Climate inaction

Keep your eyes open for further wins in our State and Federal lawsuits. Here is what you can do by joining Plant for the Planet:

  • If you are (or know) a kid age 8 and up who wants to join PftP take one of our Academies to become a Climate Justice Ambassador (dates will be announced here).
  • Even without that you can join our Seattle monthly meetings in Wallingford (1st Friday) and West Seattle (3rd Friday) – these are open to the whole family.
  • At these meetings we will go through the calendar of actions coming up, for example: We have a low tide beach hike coming up, Public Speaker training (to give good interviews and talks), and many of us will join Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership training.
  • In Fall we are getting ready for the next tree planting season. We’ll also continue to support our favorite local tree project Moving the Giants to Puget Sound.

To stay in touch:

  • Email Rusty West to learn more or sign up for any of these events and get our newsletter.
  • Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to keep up-to-date with news and events.
  • Donate to our good cause to save the world for kids and kids to come!

 

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!

 

Give BIG to Plant for the Planet

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The Seattle Foundation’s Give Big campaign is now open for donations, until May 10.  Please consider a donation to Plant for the Planet (Climate Change for Families) to further support the incredible work that is being done by our young Climate Justice Ambassadors and let your friends and family know 🙂

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Imagine the impact your donation can have!

Donate at givebigseattle.org/ClimateChangeforFamilies-PlantforthePlanet

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THANK YOU from all of us 🙂

Youth Activist Speaking at Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal’s “Rooting our Resistance” Rally

My name is Jamie Margolin, and I’m a 15-year-old climate justice ambassador with Plant for the Planet, a member of the Seattle People’s Climate Movement, and co-founder of Future Voters for 350 parts per million, a budding Teen environmental action network linked to Plant for the Planet.

Watch the video or read Jamie’s full speech below

My name is Jamie Margolin, and I’m a 15-year-old climate justice ambassador with Plant for the Planet, a member of the Seattle People’s Climate Movement, and co-founder of Future Voters for 350 parts per million, a budding Teen environmental action network linked to Plant for the Planet. I’ve spent the majority of 2017 lobbying legislators in Olympia, speaking up at congressional town halls, including Congresswoman Jayapal’s very first town hall as a congresswoman, and organizing, planning, marching, and resisting my heart out.

Like many of you, Election night left me brokenhearted, confused, grief stricken and terrified.

I knew pretty much everything I cared about would now be under attack with a Trump presidency, but I decided to focus my resistance on what I believe is the most important and defining issue of our time: Environmental destruction and climate change.

Because honestly, what will anything else matter when we don’t have clean air to breath or potable water to drink?

So I joined Plant 4 the Planet, an international youth environmental nonprofit, and I got right to work, running around Olympia lobbying and meeting with representatives, testifying at 2 bill hearings before the environmental committee, and giving presentations on climate change.

It was with plant for the planet that I learned how climate change is not this far-off issue that can keep being put off, rather, something that is right here, right now, and is the biggest threat humanity has ever faced and the defining issue of our time.

And later, during my work with the People’s Climate Movement , I learned about the intersectionality of the climate crisis, and how climate change effects other issues and causes we care about. For example, if you care about civil rights and the Black Lives Matter movement, here’s a connection climate change has to systematic racism. Nationally 68% of the Black population lives within 30 miles of a coal plant, are generally more likely to live in polluted areas and have shorter life spans than Caucasians.

Every issue, whether it’s poverty, public health, racism, or gender inequality, is worsened by climate change. Environmental issues are not separate from human rights issues at all. Having carbon levels in the air that increase childhood asthma and cancer levels is a violation of human rights.

In fact, I think it’s fair to say that if there is one message that echoes forth from this rally, let it be that Environmental rights are human rights, and human rights are environmental rights, once and for all!

Failing to address the issue properly is a crime against all young people (my generation) and future generations.

We young people didn’t ask for any of this. We didn’t ask for or have any say in climate change, we didn’t ask for Trump –we have no vote–  and yet we will pay the biggest price for his environmental recklessness, like his proposed budget. Trump’s proposed budget will slash the EPA’s budget in the Puget Sound by 93 percent and cut 3,000 jobs, many of which, are focused on restoring the Puget Sound, our home.

But we are not just going to stand by and let this happen, are we?

Actually, young people have already been on the front lines of environmental resistance. Youth plaintiffs all over the country have been suing their governments over this crime, slashing the myth that you have to be an adult to contribute to society, and participate in the resistance.

Now why do I keep saying, crime? Well, it’s right in the constitution, that everyone has the inalienable right to life. It’s the most basic right we could ask for. But Climate change and environmental destruction are threatening those basic inalienable rights.

The government has known for decades that climate change would threaten the lives of young generation, but they allowed companies to pollute and the problem to worsen anyway.

So 21 youth plaintiffs from all over the country are suing the federal government over this denial of constitutional rights.

And there are state cases all over the country as well, including here in Washington, where plant for the planet kids are suing the state over refusing to pass science-based climate laws. (By the way, the organization behind all these historic youth vs government lawsuits is Our Children’s Trust, so I’d google them after this event.)

Now here are a few quick numbers.

Pre-industrial, natural levels of carbon in the air were 280 parts per million. Today, we’re at 405 parts per million. The level scientists say we need to get down to if we want to preserve life as we know it- and this level is a maximum- is 350 parts per million.

But most bills in the Washington state legislature, like House Bill 1646, a carbon tax, which 350 Seattle and Plant 4 the planet is lobbying to amend, and we hope you will join our efforts, aims to allow carbon levels to rise to 450 parts per million. That’s not a solution! At 450 parts per million, the city of Seattle would be under water.

Solving the climate crisis is not something we should maybe get around to sometime in the future, it is your constitutional obligation NOW, to ensure my generation has our most basic right to live.

And starting right now, you can defend our rights. Because no matter what Trump does, here at home, we still treasure our natural resources and value our water and air. Everyone here should pledge to talk to our neighbors about the importance of investing in our environment – not slashing it! And that should only be the beginning!

Get involved with organizations if you have the time, (Future Voters and Plant for the Planet is always in need of help), or get involved making sure public officials who are climate champions get and stay elected, like our beloved congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal! Plant trees, call your state and federal representatives about how much you care about the environment and your kids futures, they need to hear from you! A call only takes a few minutes, but it can really make a difference.

Because everything we love is on the line right now, and we will need every bit of help from people of all walks of life joining in this effort.

Finally, I think the most important part of environmental advocacy, is to remember that we’re not just trying to prevent catastrophe, but build and create a more peaceful and better world.

So let’s root our resistance, and start building that better world right here at home!

Thank you!

New West Seattle monthly Meeting

With the growth of Plant for the Planet (a youth-lead climate organization) in Seattle and enough Climate Justice Ambassadors in the South, we have officially kicked off our monthly West Seattle Meetings. Every 3rd Friday we’ll meet at 7PM at the Puget Ridge Co-housing Common House. The meetings in Wallingford will continue on the 1st Friday of the month.

So the next West Seattle Plant for the Planet meeting will be on Friday, April 21st at 7PM. Children who would like to be active to get our planet back to a stable climate and their parents are always welcome to join. Please RSVP by email. Every child who wants to join officially can attend a one day, free academy: One is coming up on April, 8th in Marysville.

To give you a better idea of what we are up to, here’s a quick report from our last meeting:

PftP kids planted a Giant Redwood tree at UW
PftP kids planted a Giant Redwood tree at UW

Most importantly, we elected our two West Seattle Co-chairs Azure (11) and Tim (11), who will take turns planing and running the monthly meetings for the rest of the year.

Congratulations, to both of you!

We also had two special visitors from the Better Cup Campaign, working to persuade Starbucks to improve their cups to be recyclable and made from post-consumer materials. Our Plant for the Planet Ambassadors decided to join this campaign after a presentation from Jim Ace and his Super Mermaid partner. Here is a quick animation, so you can see how much fun we had:

Starbucks #BetterCupCampaign Animation

We also discussed our past actions (The Giant Redwood Planting, Lobbying for House Bill 1646 in Olympia, and a presentation we gave at the the Orca K-8 School) and looked at the calendar to see what’s coming up. Of course, we always plan time for snacks and games 🙂

We’d love to see you there and please forward this to any kids who might be interested in Plant for the Planet! You can contact us for any questions:

Kristen Walsh and Marco Deppe
West Seattle PftP Parent Coordinators