Parents & Grandparents Fasting for The WA Climate Kids: Fighting for their Future

July 14th, 2016

24 people have fasted for 3 days in advance of today’s public hearing on Washington’s Department of Ecology Inadequate Draft Clean Air Rule! Please come and speak out! Current information is available from this Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/WAClimateKids/

Here are various news media articles about the fasting and today’s events:

On Twitter look for:

You can also get some updates and pictures from:

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

King County Judge Makes Historic Ruling Against Washington State in Climate Change Case

Sydney Brownstone reported the following article in the April 29th, 2016, edition of The Stranger SLOG:

A King County Superior Court judge has reversed a ruling that gave the Washington State Department of Ecology the opportunity to decide when to cut statewide greenhouse gas emissions. Because of a lawsuit filed by eight Washington State kids, Judge Hollis Hill has ruled that the threat of climate change is so urgent that the state must be placed on a court-ordered deadline to hold polluters accountable now.

The decision was the first of its kind. Earlier this year, Judge Hill found that the state had a constitutional responsibility to protect its citizens—including the children who filed the lawsuit—but that dictating an additional greenhouse gas rule-making process wouldn’t be necessary. After all, in July of last year Governor Jay Inslee had directed Ecology to come up with a rule to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

One of the plaintiffs, 10-year-old Adonis Piper, showed off his notes at a court hearing. Photo Credit: Sydney Brownstone
One of the plaintiffs, 10-year-old Adonis Piper, showed off his notes at a previous court hearing. Photo Credit: Sydney Brownstone of The Stranger

That changed when Ecology withdrew the draft rule in February of 2016 in order to take more time to confer with stakeholders. When that happened, the kids’ lawyer, Andrea Rodgers, asked the judge to change the earlier ruling in favor of the state based on two criteria: one, that the state had misrepresented the facts, and two, that extraordinary circumstances deemed it necessary.

Judge Hill didn’t think that Ecology committed fraud or misrepresentation by committing to a rulemaking process and then withdrawing a draft rule later. But she did agree with the kids’ lawyer that climate change constituted extraordinary circumstances.

“Ecology doesn’t dispute that current science establishes that rapidly increasing global warming causes an unprecedented risk to the earth, to the land, sea, and atmosphere, and all living plants and creatures,” Judge Hill said. Then the judge used Ecology’s own words to demonstrate the “extraordinary” circumstances, reading back a quote from 2014 warning of “serious economic and environmental disruptions.”

Judge Hill continued:

The reason I’m doing this is because this is an urgent situation. (…) These children can’t wait, the polar bears can’t wait, the people of Bangladesh can’t wait. I don’t have jurisdiction over their needs in this matter, but I do have jurisdiction in this court, and for that reason I’m taking this action.

Now the state must come up with a rule to cut greenhouse gas emissions by the end of 2016. In addition, it must make recommendations to the legislature next year to update the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals based on the most current science.

In order to demonstrate how climate change posed an immediate threat to Washington citizens—and how the state had failed to protect them from it—lawyer Andrea Rodgers cited the Quinault Indian Nation’s plan to relocate its ancestral village of Taholah away from the coastline because of rising sea levels. “People think that this is something that’s going to happen down the road when our friends, and our family, and our people in Washington are literally being relocated,” Rodgers said.

As for the judge’s ruling on extraordinary circumstances, “It’s not climate change that’s the extraordinary circumstance, it’s that this agency hasn’t done what it’s legally obligated to do for almost 30 years,” Rodgers told me after the courtroom let out. “And [Judge Hill] recognized that a court has a responsibility to step in and protect the rights of young people that are being harmed by climate change. This is world-changing and it’s amazing.”

The kid plaintiffs and their friends inside the courtroom were similarly stoked.

“I think it’s our biggest victory so far,” 12-year-old Athena Fain said.

“I mean, [Ecology] are our ‘elders,’ so to speak, and they’re supposed to guide us and help us, and it kind of feels like we’re guiding them to help us,” 14-year-old Gabe Mandel added. “So we’re totally thankful that amazing Judge Hollis Hill ruled in our favor.”

A spokesperson from the Department of Ecology stressed that the state was already taking climate change seriously. “We’re already working on an aggressive schedule trying to put this policy in place, and we’re going to stay on that schedule,” Ecology spokesperson Camille St. Onge said. “It’s our top priority as an agency. We understand how vital it is to protect our air, and our water, and our land for future generations.”

UPDATE: Governor Jay Inslee released a statement on Judge Hollis Hill’s ruling.

Below:

This case is a call to act on climate, and that call is one that has been a priority for me since taking office. Our state is helping lead the way on climate action in our country.

It appears the court is essentially reaffirming the need to do what we’ve already committed to doing, which is putting a policy in place by the end of the year that reduces carbon pollution in Washington state.

In a way it is gratifying that the court has also affirmed our authority to act, contrary to the assertion of those who continue to reject action on climate change and ocean acidification. Hundreds of people have participated in the creation of our state’s Clean Air Rule and the draft will be out in just a few weeks. People can also view the webinar held earlier this week in which over 500 people participated.

I’m fully committed to making sure we do our part to protect our air and water for our children in the years ahead.

Our Heroic Movement was Featured on the Front Page of the Seattle Weekly

On Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 the Seattle Weekly published Sara Bernard’s wonderful front page article on our Seattle chapter of Plant For The Planet! Read it online and also listen (via SoundCloud) to Ambassadors Joey and Grace discuss challenges they face in getting policymakers to take action on climate change, and the frustrations they feel. The text of the article is as follows:

It’s a Friday night at the Good Shepherd Center in Wallingford, and Joey and Grace, ages 9 and 11—tiny, wiry, and ebony-haired—are tumbling over each other to tell me what they know about climate change. Their introduction to the concept is pretty difficult to pinpoint, though, since it’s always been there, “like all those other facts,” says Grace.

“It’s just, like, a regular thing,” adds Joey.

Still, for my benefit, the siblings cast their minds back to the old days, when they knew about climate change, but they didn’t know that much about it.

“We knew it was caused by people burning oil and gas, but we didn’t understand what it meant,” offers Grace.

“We didn’t know how it works, we didn’t understand the effects, we didn’t understand how fast it was happening,” Joey says at a rapid clip. “We thought it happened in, like, 150 years, the big effects?”

“Something like that,” says Grace.

But now they’re aware that “the big effects are already somewhat happening,” says Joey. “There’s natural global warming . . . but this isn’t natural.” And then, with some gravitas: “If we don’t make some big changes by 2020, it won’t matter how much we try to help after.”

They share their feelings about that.

“Frustration . . . anger.”

“Frustration . . . annoyance. And kind of like . . . nobody getting it!”

“And a little bit this desperate need, like, ‘We need to do something! Why won’t you understand that?! Whyyyy?!’ ”

We’re at the tail end of a monthly meeting of the Seattle chapter of Plant for the Planet, an international environmental club with 34,000 young members in 50 countries who have collectively planted more than 14.2 billion trees. There are snacks and games, as you’d expect at a kid meeting—muffins, cookies, carrot sticks, a swift round of hide and seek, some dashing about and shrieking and breathless laughter.

But mostly it’s quite serious. Moderated by the group’s 13-year-old president, Gabe Mandell, the young activists are celebrating the myriad climate wins of 2015—Shell is out of the Arctic! Obama vetoed Keystone XL!—and planning their next tree-planting workshops and retreats, as well as discussing the climate news of the day, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a controversial trade agreement that could allow multinational corporations to skirt carbon policies.

These are the kids, aged 8 to 14, who’ve trained to become “Climate Justice Ambassadors”—the official title of every member of Plant for the Planet who participates in a day-long “Academy”—giving ebullient speeches to their peers at school and at climate events. They’ve shown up at Shell, Keystone, oil train, and Gates Divest protests; they’ve testified at climate conferences and hearings; they’ve urged the Seattle City Council to put warning labels on gas pumps. They’ve also spent time with Governor Jay Inslee and former Vice President Al Gore and been featured in the HBO documentary Saving My Tomorrow; they’ve planted 11,000 trees and started a state-level challenge to plant a billion. They’ve co-hosted workshops and trainings all over the Puget Sound area and inspired the creation of a Plant for the Planet chapter in Portland. They’re about 375 strong since their inception in early 2013, with a few dozen active members. And eight of them were plaintiffs in a highly publicized lawsuit petitioning the Washington State Department of Ecology to develop a carbon-emissions rule for the sake of their fundamental rights—a lawsuit that they almost won.

“A lot of the times when I hear bad things about [climate change], I start to cry, and I feel pretty depressed,” says Sierra Gersdorf-Duncan, an 11-year-old fifth-grader so gripped by the crisis of ocean acidification that she’s been interviewed for a Philippe Cousteau documentary on the topic. But that kind of climate despair, she says, in herself and others, is “what we need to change. We have to tell them, ‘You’re right, these terrible things are happening, but we can do something about it.’ ”

If you, like Sierra, are 11 today, you were born not long before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans. Then, nearly every year of your existence, the world has seen epic climate-related disasters: Hurricane Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan, massive flooding in Pakistan, Pacific islands slipping underwater, Alaskan villages toppling from coastal bluffs, endless drought in California, and catastrophic wildfires in Washington. Every year seems to surpass the last as the “hottest year on record”; 2015 just beat out 2014 for the highest global average temperatures ever recorded, and 15 of the planet’s 16 hottest years occurred after 2001.

Also, if you are 11, you were born just before the release of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which marked a sea change in public perception around the concept—in this country, anyway—making “global warming” and “climate change” household terms as well as the stuff of political debate. More recently, you saw one of the largest international summits ever convened on this or any topic, and President Obama has been making climate speeches almost since you could speak.

By some accounts, we are beyond predictions and have entered the age of climate consequences. The entire lifetime of today’s children falls into that age. In 2050, the year that some of the more dire climate scenarios could begin to unfold, an 11-year-old will be 45.

“It affects us personally,” says 9-year-old Joey. “Most grownups will not be around long enough to see the big, awful effects I was talking about. For us . . . we’ll be middle-aged. We’ll be fully alive and have to worry about it.”

The kids’ passion has made an impact on the local climate movement. Put onstage, they frequently pull grand, tearful statements—and sometimes actions—out of our elected officials.

“Everything stops when the kid opens their mouth,” says parent and activist Michael Foster, creator of Plant for the Planet in Seattle. He’s taken these kids to a slew of climate events, he says, and without fail, when the kids speak, adults listen. “Whoever is sitting on that panel, behind that table, doodling their notes on their pad . . . The pencils go down. They make eye contact. They are paralyzed, not breathing, until that kid finishes.”

Kids speaking up for themselves, for the planet they’ll inherit—it’s effective. 350 Seattle has been known to call these kids their “secret weapon.” But it’s not just some cheap ploy to fill out a climate agenda: The weapon works because the kids care, too.

Tim Deppe, a Climate Ambassador who just turned 10, says all the bad stuff he hears about climate change doesn’t make him sad. “Not sad, no,” he says. “Passionate.”

The journey to Plant for the Planet in Seattle began with a single Google search.

In late 2012, Foster trained with Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps, and since his children were in fourth and sixth grade at the time, he figured he’d do a slide show for their science class. But the talk he’d prepared was pretty grim, and he wasn’t going to just slap on some sweet nothings at the end. “I cannot end a talk with, ‘But we’re gonna build a whole bunch of windmills, so you guys are going to be all right,’ ” he says. “That’s such a lie.”

So he plugged “children save the world” and “climate” into a Google search bar and the top hit was a video put together by a German wunderkind named Felix Finkbeiner, who at age 9 decided that the best way to get around the climate crisis was to plant trees. Today the 17-year-old has been named the 2015 “European of the Year” by Reader’s Digest, addressed the United Nations, and launched a global organization with the goal of planting a trillion trees by 2020. (There are about three trillion trees on the planet today, but we’re still losing an estimated 15 billion every year to agriculture and development.)

Planting trees: It’s a simple concept for kids to grasp, and it’s one possible solution to climate change, since forests are huge carbon banks—they absorb planet-warming CO2 while pumping out oxygen. It also gives children something to hold onto in the face of “all this gloom-and-doom Al Gore stuff,” Foster says. He folded Finkbeiner’s video and call to action into his science-class presentation, and it was a total hit. Kids cheered, teachers wiped their eyes. “I was like, ‘Oh my God,’ ” he recalls. “‘I’ve got to do this slide show more.’ ”

Foster has since presented to about ten thousand kids in Seattle, by his estimation, and gotten on the phone with Finkbeiner, who chastised him for not having started a Seattle chapter of Plant for the Planet sooner. He’s also been a major connector for climate activists working with kids, as well as for local politicians—he’s brought Mayor Ed Murray as well as House Speaker Frank Chopp and representative Jamie Pedersen (D-Seattle) to various Plant for the Planet events. His two daughters were also the named plaintiffs in Zoe & Stella Foster v. Washington Department of Ecology, the kids’ climate-change lawsuit. It was one of many state-level lawsuits filed by Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children’s Trust—a way to force action on climate change through the courts by using a legal principle called the “public trust doctrine” (and a secret weapon called “children”). Getting on board with that, Foster says, was easy: He stumbled across an Our Children’s Trust video and recognized a Carkeek Park landmark behind Andrea Rodgers, one of the attorneys working on the cases, who, it turned out, lived in Seattle. He called her and said, “ ‘I need to talk to you.’ And she said, ‘Is this Michael Foster? I need to talk to you!’ It’s a pretty small network of climate activists working with kids around the country.”

The kids got their final day in King County court last November; they’d been petitioning the Department of Ecology to create a carbon-emissions rule based on the best available climate science since summer 2014. While they lost their case in the end, Judge Hollis Hill nevertheless created a legal precedent that thrilled climate activists: the idea that the Washington state constitution should in fact protect the atmosphere for future generations. According to Judge Hill’s ruling, the only reason she dismissed the kids’ case was because the Department of Ecology was already developing a similar rule. Notably, Ecology is developing that rule because Governor Jay Inslee ordered it to last summer—11 days after he spent 90 minutes listening to five of the kid plaintiffs asking him to do just that.

Meanwhile, Senator Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale), chair of the Energy, Environment, & Telecommunications Committee, has sponsored SB 6173, a bill that would overturn Ecology’s ability to make a carbon rule without the help of the legislature. The proposed rule, said Ericksen in a statement, “gives manufacturers a perverse incentive to leave the state of Washington.” The bill passed his committee and is now in the hands of the Rules Committee, which may send it to the Senate floor for a second reading.

“The problem is we’re fighting a propaganda war,” says 11-year-old Grace. “Who can get people to listen more—the oil corporations or people like us?”

She sighs, acknowledging that there are plenty of other problems in the world that she feels sympathetic to, but that we don’t have a spare planet on which to solve those problems. “Honestly, if we don’t do something about climate change now,” she says, “we’re not going to have a chance to worry about the rest of it.”

According to Michael Foster, climate change is a “time crime.” We’re stealing the future from our children by burning fossil fuels with abandon, and we won’t really know it—we won’t know quite how much we’ve stolen—for decades.

It is also, in his view, kind of like second-hand smoke. “I grew up in Texas at a time when everybody smoked everywhere,” he says. “I remember everywhere I went stank, and that’s just how it was. It was like sucking on a tailpipe, just cigars and whatever, all the time. And the idea that I could be a kid in a world of people who are just smoking around me, everywhere, all the time, and know what they’re doing to me? That’s crazy-making.”

That’s why he wants to create an infrastructure for these kids—give them a platform so that “grownups take them seriously, and so they’re not feeling so crazy and isolated and alone with the knowledge that they have.”

Sure, it’s often people like Foster who’ve put that knowledge in these kids’ heads in the first place, but they live in this world too, and they’re listening. 11-year-old Sierra is very, very worried about the ocean’s dying diatoms, for example, but explains that Plant for the Planet “gave me a thing to do about it. The effects [of climate change] are very depressing, but once you get involved, it doesn’t seem that hard because you have all these other people supporting you.”

While some of the kids are interested in science or enjoy being mini-celebrities—it is nice, as former Planet for the Planet president Wren Wagenbach told me, to have somebody “listening to you, for once”—they often have very strong emotional connections to the issue, too. Last summer, 12-year-old Jenny wrote Governor Inslee a letter describing her attachment to a lake and a waterfall in a forest in China: She’d go every year to visit family, but one year when she returned, the forest had been cut down and turned into oil-slicked pavement.

For Grace, it’s about compassion. “If someone’s upset or hurting or angry, it’s like it’s coming off them in waves and I feel it too,” she says. “But it’s not just people I’m actually in direct contact with . . . it’s like, every hurricane, every flood: It hurts.”

It’s not just guilt, then, that makes climate-caring adults lose themselves in the kids’ speeches. It’s also because they’re kids—so optimistic, so emotionally raw, so guileless. They put things in simple terms; they force us to interrogate our own assumptions; and they are utterly convinced that this is a problem we can fix.

Foster paraphrases a sentiment that he heard both Governor Inslee and Al Gore express at a fundraising luncheon in December 2014, following a three-minute call-to-action speech delivered by then-9-year-old Abby. “It’s not because we’re doing this for her,” he says, and he is crying now. His voice trembles. “It’s because she embodies the spirit of who we have to become.”

Adds Foster: “It’s speaking truth to power, and saying, ‘You need to be over here with me. You need to be a little more like me. You need to be a little more bold, a little more courageous. You have to do the impossible.’ ”

As I wrap up my conversation with Joey and Grace, Grace insists several times that I include one very important piece of information in this article. “We need funding,” she says. Planting trees, alas, isn’t free. But “it’s only one dollar per tree! It’s not much!” I promise to mention it. Parents grab their kids’ things, someone plays a riff on the piano, tiny hands grab extra cookies and tiny sneakers squeak as a dozen or so children skip off into the wet night.

Just outside the door, Gabe Mandell reels off some of the intricacies of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. “Do you want me to tell you the two worst things about it?” he asks, then launches into an explanation of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision, which would allow corporations to sue governments over laws they find too restrictive in private trade tribunals, and if they establish the tiniest subsidiary in a country that has lax carbon or public-health laws, they can opt to abide by those laws, instead of the countries they do most of their business in.

He then takes care to remind me—although, at this moment, I’m quite convinced—that this is not just kid stuff.

People “look at us and they just see a bunch of kids planting trees, or whatever,” he says, exasperated. “I think we really need to get it out that we are an organization that is dedicated to fighting climate change! We’re doing things. We’re not just a bunch of kids getting together on a Friday. We’re a bunch of kids getting together and trying to do solutions that many grownups aren’t.”

Sara Bernard writes about environment and education, among other things, for Seattle Weekly. She can be reached at sbernard@seattleweekly.com or 206-467-4370. Follow her on Twitter at @saralacy.

Washington Court Recognizes Constitutional and Public Trust Duty to Protect the Atmosphere for Present and Future Generations

Attorney Andrea Rodgers, right, with some of the plaintiffs in a climate lawsuit before a meeting earlier this year with Gov. Jay Inslee. Photo Credit: Our Children’s Trust

From Our Children’s Trust on 11/20/2015:

Late last night, eight Washington youth received a groundbreaking ruling from Judge Hollis Hill in their climate change lawsuit. In this landmark decision, Judge Hill declared “[the youths’] survival depends upon the will of their elders to act now, decisively and unequivocally, to stem the tide of global warming…before doing so becomes first too costly and then too late.

The court confirmed what the Washington petitioners and other young people we work with across the nation have been arguing in the courts, that “[t]he state has a constitutional obligation to protect the public’s interest in natural resources held in trust for the common benefit of the people.”

Gabriel Mandell, a 13-year-old Washington petitioner reacts to Judge Hills decision:

“It’s incredible to have the court finally say that we do have a right to healthy atmosphere and that our government can’t allow it to be harmed. This ruling means that what the Department of Ecology does going forward in its rulemaking has to protect us, the kids of Washington, and not just us, but future generations too, like my children and those to come. Now they can’t decide to protect short-term economic fears and ignore us because we have constitutional and public trust rights to a stable climate!”

The court also validated the youths’ claims that the “scientific evidence is clear that the current rates of reduction mandated by Washington law. . . cannot ensure the survival of an environment in which [youth] can grow to adulthood safely.” The judge determined that the State has a “mandatory duty” to “preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality for the current and future generations,” and found the state’s current standards to fail that standard dramatically for several reasons.

This Washington decision establishing constitutional public trust protections for the atmosphere, together with the decision earlier this year doing the same in New Mexico, evidences a wake-up by the judiciary that our collective right to a habitable future is at stake and must be protected by the courts before it is too late.

Read our full press release.
Thank you for your continued support and for enabling us to secure this important decision and more to come!

Help get 2 USA Ambassadors to the Plant For The Planet international conference in Germany!

Climate Change For Families (Plant-for-the-Planet in Seattle, USA), a 501(c)(3) organization, needs your financial help to defer the $4,000 cost of the airplane tickets for Climate Justice Ambassadors 14-year old Aji & 14-year old Wren, along with their adult advisor Michael Foster, for their upcoming trip to Germany to participate in the May 17 to 25th International P4tP conference to finalize the Youth Climate Plan prior to the Paris December 2015 G7 summit. Yes, it is unusual for P4tP Seattle to take such a trip. But we’re now in “crunch time” to save Mother Earth, and it is extremely important that these Climate Justice Ambassadors attend and have input towards shaping/controlling their future. They are the only 2 Ambassadors representing North America at this conference. As Michael Foster says: “We’re only doing this to save the world!” Thank you for your generosity.
Climate Change For Families is a tax-exempt, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Our tax ID number: 46-5636361
Donate now at http://bit.ly/1F8V2q8!

Plant for the Planet Stepping Up

By Gary Piazzon

Children of Plant for the Planet
Fighting For Their Future

They are everywhere: lobbying their representatives, participating in UU Voices presentations in Olympia, introducing Governor Inslee and other prominent officials, presenting to the Seattle City Council and of course, planting trees.  It is just getting started!  These children mean business.

We hosted our first Plant for the Planet academy on Whidbey Island Saturday, 3/28/15 and it was a great time. We certified 15 Climate Justice Ambassadors who join 300 in the USA and 340,000 worldwide. This international, UN sponsored program is just getting started in the US.  Like most other aspects pertinent to this über issue we in the USA have been late adopters.  Boo on us.

The children had an exciting day. They learned about the Climate/Ocean crisis, climate justice, how to speak in public, provide positive feedback to their peers and work together. The weather was wonderful. We planted 11 Garry Oaks in the luscious, dark chocolate earth, found lots of worms, a gorgeous garter snake, the bones of a deer, and petted the resident baby goats. We even celebrated a birthday! We now have the nucleus for a club and will be meeting monthly to strategize how best to get our message to the community and for another academy in the Fall.

You can see images of the event on the CREATe and Climate Change for Families websites.

The goals of PFTP are to:

  • Certify 1 million ambassadors
  • Plant 1 trillion trees
  • Keep fossil fuels in the ground
  • Promote global justice and equality

Why so many trees? Trees absorb CO2. Scientists at NASA have determined this is the number of trees needed to stabilize the climate. A trillion trees may seem like a lot. It amounts to 150 per person on the planet. Huge, but that is where we are. Even that is insufficient to get where we need to be. We must also decrease CO2 pollution by 6% per year. Economists agree that the best way to do that is to tax polluters, i.e. the coal, oil and natural gas industries and provide that money to people so they can make wise choices. So, let’s all “Stop Talking and Start Planting!” and get our legislators to pass a carbon tax like those that make the economies of Germany and British Columbia so strong.

Sources:

Planet for the Planet Seattle Explained:

http://www.seattlechannel.org/videos/video.asp?ID=4071325

The inspiring back story: Now We Children Save the World

Presentation to the Seattle City Council- PFTP (begins at about at about 45:00) http://www.seattlechannel.org/mayor-and-council/city-council/city-council-all-videos-index?videoid=x21710

Images from the Academy Saturday 10/25/14 with the Mayor Ed Murray:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/w1t9du8qyvmk86u/AADP2mplzkauRedr7OWF7iyja?dl=0

Introducing Governor Inslee:

https://climatechangeforfamilies.com/2014/12/19/abby-introduces-governor-inslee/

April 3, 2015, 3:20 pm

Citation

Piazzon, G. (2015). Plant for the Planet Stepping Up. Retrieved from http://www.nwuujn.org/view/article/551ee5e50cf24df50709ffc3

Teen: Label Gas Pump Nozzles

Warning labels on gas nozzles are a great way to start local campaigns all over the country. Something so dangerous should have a fancy ad promotion too, paid for with carbon taxes…

Imagine great clouds of giant Greenhouse Gas dino-monsters, rising up from underground, cooking Earth in acid oceans, poison air and coal-black storms, blazing forests. The creatures lay eggs in gas nozzles. We collect more eggs every time we buy gas. Ignition zaps the eggs to life, so the tailpipe can set them free!

“Yes, Admiral. I’m on my way.” Fresh from his daily cardio at the gym, our hero (Clooney) jumps into his armored black SUV to go fight the monster horde! He inserts the key and sees a flashing red “WARMING” label, while a computerized voice alerts softly, “Fuel ignition imminent.”

“GASOLINE!!” He screams a G-rated curse, all rapid-reflexes, grabs keys, leaps free just in time, hurls keys slo-mo high into sky. A kid on a bike stops next to him. “That was too close.” He gets up from the pavement “Next time, I’ll check the label.” A big pile of abandoned key fobs in foreground, as he walks away. “We hold the keys.” His keys land on top. The End.

In a sequel, he sees the “WARMING” label during a limo ride to the airport.

Click here to watch Global News video report.

Posted from The Globe and Mail

Teen takes fight for gas nozzle labelling to West Van council

Emily Kelsall displays a gas pump nozzle with an environmental warning sticker she developed, as traffic passes by at the north end of the Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver, B.C., on May 9, 2014. (Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)

Emily Kelsall displays a gas pump nozzle with an environmental warning sticker she developed, as traffic passes by at the north end of the Lions Gate Bridge in North Vancouver, B.C., on May 9, 2014. (photo, Darryl Dyck for The Globe and Mail)

A 16-year-old is betting that motorists will take note when their hands pull back on gas nozzles bearing graphic reminders of what fossil fuels are doing to climate change, and she’s persuaded councillors in West Vancouver to investigate the idea.

If local officials find they have the authority to require service stations to install the warnings, the posh district would be the first Canadian municipality to join a national campaign started by a former Toronto lawyer who has spent his savings advocating the idea.

“I am another teenager who is scared for my future,” began Grade 10 student Emily Kelsall, who equates the gas nozzle campaign to the warning labels on packs of cigarettes.

The warnings would be placed on the plastic sleeve of gas nozzles where many stations now place ads. A mock-up label shows a caribou and calf walking in the snow with a warning that climate change could lead to the extinction of 30 per cent of the Earth’s species.

Local councillors have voted in the past to oppose Kinder Morgan’s proposed doubling of its Trans Mountain pipeline. District Councillor Nora Gambioli said the labels would answer a perceived lack of climate-change action by Canada’s senior governments.

“At the federal and provincial levels they are incapable of addressing the issue of climate change. They just don’t have the gumption to do it,” she said. “If we have the finding that we have the jurisdiction, this will be very exciting.”

Transportation is one of the largest single sources of greenhouse gases in the district, accounting for 44 per cent, the district says.

While a majority of the council voiced support for the project, municipal spokesman Jeff McDonald speculated it doesn’t have the authority to pass the rules.

Rob Shirkey, the man responsible for first proposing the idea of labels on gas nozzles, says the question of jurisdiction will soon be answered.

Six law students at the University of Victoria are helping him put together a document outlining how local governments in British Columbia could enact the idea. He has produced a brief in Ontario defending the authority of local governments to enact the labels there.

“I would be surprised if we had less rights and drastically different rules from the municipal act in Ontario,” Ms. Gambioli said.

While she and her fellow councillors wait for an answer on whether they can act, a much larger question looms for what would happen if they passed the bylaw. “The gas companies are going to come after us,” she said.

Mr. Shirkey called a legal challenge a “near certainty,” adding that “big oil has deep pockets.”

The community is drawing inspiration from Hudson, Que. In 1991, the small bedroom community outside Montreal was the first in Canada to ban pesticides. The ban split the community when it was passed and chemical companies sued. By the time the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favour of the town’s ban a decade later, local leaders had the backing of supportive locals.

In their decision, the justices wrote that municipal bylaws could regulate practices allowed by federal laws. The ruling enthusiastically endorsed the idea that local politicians have a special role to play in safeguarding the health of their constituents, The Globe and Mail reported at the time.

Ms. Kelsall heard the gas nozzle idea on the radio while she was being driven to school. Months later, she faced Mayor Michael Smith as she addressed council on May 5. For three decades, Mr. Smith operated a petroleum distributor in Metro Vancouver and had been the only voice on council to vote against a motion opposing Kinder Morgan’s project. Now he was responsible for giving Ms. Kelsall the time to present her proposal to council.

“The mayor is coming around,” Ms. Gambioli said with a chuckle. “He made a fortune in oil and gas. He has grandkids now, so I’ve seen a softening in his dialogue.”

from The Globe and Mail

Radio: NPR “On Point” plays Ambassador speeches, Guest Jared Diamond

Ambassadors steal the show, “Jared Diamond Speaks to the Young on Environmental Challenges” the APRIL 4, 2014 episode of NPR’s On Point with Tom Ashbrook.

Listen here:

OK, so the Ambassadors are not the guests; but they are briefly featured voices of a generation, and Jared Diamond is good company! The celebrated author of Guns, Germs, and SteelThe World Until Yesterday and Collapse talks about a new adaptation of an old favorite, The Third Chimpanzee, now retitled:

The Third Chimpanzee for Young People: On the Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond

Audio clips of Ambassadors Zoe and Isaac figure prominently in the discussion. The lively broadcast explores how humans, and in particular young people growing up with a dangerous changing climate, might respond to our greatest challenge.

History professor and bestselling author Diamond begins this interview, “the current generation is the first generation that faces the risk of the whole world being messed up.” As a parent, the author had to answer to his own children when their school assigned one of his books for class. He says historically young people have regularly faced overwhelming threats to civilization; but children now grow up worrying about the end of all civilizations.

After playing clips from Ambassadors’ speeches, Jared Diamond suggests that young people who understand what is happening to their future can have a powerful influence on how families respond.

The Ambassador audio clips come from Zoe’s speech before the Governor’s Climate Legislative Executive Workgroup in Seattle and Isaac’s speech to the Power Past Coal Rally in downtown Portland.

Be forewarned: after hearing Jared Diamond, you might have to break down and buy the book. It sounds perfect for families who face this crisis together. Although you’ll find no simple answers and only a 50-50 wager on how humans will turn out, Diamond sounds genuinely hopeful for a History professor who has devoted his life to studying the end.

Superheroes Around The World

Use Your Power for Earth Hour and everyday!

We are the generation that changes the world, because we have to. Everything that comes after us will be different because of what we do today.

Thanks for being superheroes with us!

 

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