Co-sponsored by The Institute for Social Change Through the Arts and All Pilgrims Church
Come enjoy live music August 13th, 3-7pm, art builds, activities for kids and hear from youth plaintiffs suing our government for their LEGAL RIGHT TO A STABLE CLIMATE and a healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations.
Where: All Pilgrims Church, 500 Broadway E, Capitol Hill
(wheelchair accessible from sanctuary, through chapel, to Stuart Hall)
This event also celebrates the launch of the Protect What You Love album project, lifting up musicians from around the Pacific Northwest, writing songs of Climate and social justice.
Live performances by:
Quincy Davis (Hip Hop, Portland, OR)
Paul Wagner (Saanich, B.C.)
Isaac Castillo (Hawaii)
Aji Piper (Plaintiff on Case)
Columbia City Chorus
Tobias The Owl
We couldn’t do this without volunteers! Want to help make this magical event happen? We’re currently looking for volunteers for set up, hospitality, clean up, and more. Please contact Ale Blakely at firstname.lastname@example.org. We love volunteers!!
All proceeds will support Our Children’s Trust (OCT), a national organization elevating the voice of youth to secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations. Through their programs, youth participate in advocacy, public education and civic engagement to ensure the viability of all natural systems in accordance with science. They are leading the groundbreaking Constitutional Climate lawsuit, Juliana Vs. U.S.asserting that, through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failed to protect essential public trust resources. Learn more about this legal case here, and more about OCT at https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org.
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.
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
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!
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.
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:
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.
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!!
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?
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.
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?
For North American tree lovers, October is a special month: the time of year when the trees get dressed up in their fanciest finery and show off just how wildly beautiful they are.
I pay attention to trees in all seasons, and have ever since I was a girl who loved to climb them, as high as I could go, and drape myself over a branch to feel the wind swaying us both gently.
My very first short story, written in pencil in a nondescript notebook when I was about 8, was about a tree nymph named Estrella, who gathered the animals around her in an urgent council, and set off on a quest to try to save her forest from destruction by humans. I never finished that story, mostly because I could not imagine a solution—how could a tree nymph and some forest animals stop the men with their bulldozers and chain saws?
Estrella haunts me now, prodding me to return to her story and persevere to the ending. Since those long ago days of my childhood, the pace of forest destruction has only increased.
According to National Geographic, if the current pace of deforestation continues, the planet’s rainforests could “completely vanish in a hundred years” (italics mine).
The fate of the northern boreal forests is no less dire. The Canadian boreal forest, an area more than 14 times the size of California, is being scraped away relentlessly for tar sands oil production, as well as being steadily logged.
In the first 13 years of the 21st century, according to a report from the World Resources Institute and Global Forest Watch, “Canada lost more than 26 million hectares of forest, mainly in its boreal region. More than 20 percent of the boreal forest region (more than 150 million hectares) is now covered by industrial concessions for timber operations, hydrocarbon development, hydroelectric power reservoirs, and mineral extraction.”
A hectare is equal to about 2.5 acres. The scale of this deforestation boggles the mind. In fact, I think one of the reasons this vast destruction is continuing is because it’s so hard to wrap our minds around it. Outside of photos, very few of us tree lovers ever see a fresh clear-cut or a mine. We don’t see what passes for “reforestation,” the planting of millions of trees in straight lines, with herbicide sprayed below them to prevent “weeds” from growing, and not an animal or bird or butterfly in sight.
Yet so many of us love birds and butterflies and animals. We put out our bird feeders in the winter and ooh and ahh over a sighting of a deer or a bobcat.
How can we be so loving on the one hand, and so callous on the other? How can we allow the relentless logging and scraping and dozing and burning to go on???
We seem to live with constant cognitive dissonance, whereby we know what’s going on, but resolutely shut out the knowledge. At least, that’s what I do. I know that every time I get in my car I’m being part of the problem. But I continue driving, nevertheless. We all do.
Human beings are profoundly social animals. The more I think about our behavior, the more I see our resemblance to ants, bees and termites. Especially ants, who are also wizards at reshaping the environment to suit their own needs. But no other species on Earth destroys its own habitat—and knowingly, at that!
A long, long time ago, the Earth was an anaerobic environment; there was no oxygen in the atmosphere. Then the plants came along and started turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, paving the way for all of us oxygen breathers who followed them.
Without the plants—without the algae, grasses, trees and all the other carbon-dioxide breathers—the Earth would become uninhabitable for us, just as it became uninhabitable for the anaerobic creatures millions of years ago.
So when we’re thinking about the trees, we owe them some gratitude. Some reverence and respect.
I love trees because they seem majestic and wise to me. They live a long time, far longer than humans, and they exist both above and below ground in ways I can hardly begin to fathom. They are also patient and resilient. When you cut down a tree, its roots still feed the soil, and if left alone (ie, no herbicides), it will soon regenerate, calmly sending up hundreds of new saplings to take the place of the one who fell. It has time. There is no rush.
It’s human beings who are in a rush, all the time. In a rush to “harvest biomass,” policy code for cutting down forests. In a rush to figure out how to “manage ecosystem services,” ie, learning how to cut down, replant and cut down again at the fastest possible rate.
All this rush is sending us pell-mell off the cliff of climate change. We know this, but try not to think about it. It’s so much easier to go along with the flow of our dominant, fossil-fuel-based, wood-hungry culture than to try to resist. Especially when it seems like that’s what everyone else is doing too.
Charles Eisenstein says that “enlightenment is a group activity,” meaning that it’s almost impossible for us humans, social creatures that we are, to change our mind-sets alone.
What’s truly exciting about our time is that now, we are more networked and communicative than ever before, just like our cousins the ants and the bees. Our Internet has made group enlightenment (otherwise known as social change) possible at a speed and a scale never before possible for humans.
It’s no longer possible for us to simply not know when millions of acres of forest are being clear-cut. That kind of innocence is gone, and with knowledge comes the responsibility to act, to live up to our values. Happily, there are some potent actions going on right now on behalf of the forests and the waters—the lifeblood of our planet.
Not surprisingly, it’s indigenous peoples, the ones who have stayed closest to the land throughout the whole horrendous onslaught of “Western civilization,” who are leading the way.
If you haven’t been following the protests at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where a massive pipeline project is underway, please inform yourself. The powers that be are trying to muzzle the media there, but that always backfires in the age of social media, doesn’t it.
I’m also heartened by the response to the Million Trees Campaign started by Treesisters, an organization inspired by the Pachamama Alliance, which was itself sparked by visits with the Amazonian Shuar people who were reaching out to northern allies to try to save their forests.
Treesisters is funding local reforestation projects, focusing on the tropical rainforests that are so essential to the stability of the climate worldwide. Currently they are half-way to their goal of funding the planting of 1 million trees in the coming year—you can join in here.
Estrella the tree nymph is never far from my mind these days, her great love for the trees and forests fueling her implacable determination to change the hearts and minds of the human beings that would destroy them.
One day I will finish her story. And I hope I can find my way to a happy ending.