Since 2015, 21 young people aged 8 to 20 have been engaged in Juliana v. the United States, a lawsuit over climate change.

The plaintiffs argue that the federal government has not taken sufficient action to battle catastrophic climate change and that the dire future of the planet infringes on their constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

They contend that the government has known for decades how carbon dioxide pollution and the greenhouse effect affects the Earth, yet has failed to take action to save future generations from those effects.


BREAKING: Youth seek to obtain testimony from Rex Tillerson in climate lawsuitRead the full press release here: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/s/161229RexTillersonDepoPR.pdf

Posted by Our Children's Trust on Thursday, December 29, 2016

In fact, these kids say, the government has actually taken actionable steps to make climate change worse and has "failed to protect essential public trust resources."

As Earth Guardians — a youth-led environmental group and organizational plaintiff in the lawsuit — states, "We're holding the federal government accountable for putting our future at risk and refusing to act on climate change."

The government, under both Obama and Trump, has made multiple attempts to get the lawsuit tossed out.

Juliana v. U.S. was filed during the Obama administration and has carried over into Trump's tenure. Both administrations have attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed before it reached trial, and unsurprisingly, fossil fuel industries have attempted to join in the effort.

However, the court system rejected the government's appeals to drop the case in April 2016, November 2016, and June 2017. A judge also issued an order in June 2017 that removed the fossil fuel defendants from the case.

BREAKING: U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken presided over a telephonic hearing yesterday to discuss new motions the...

Posted by Our Children's Trust on Thursday, May 24, 2018

Still, the government persisted, with a "drastic and extraordinary" attempt to have higher courts intervene in those judges' decisions. Though ultimately unsuccessful, their actions succeeded in delaying the original scheduled trial date of Feb. 5, 2018.

However, an appeals court again ruled in favor of the kids, finally giving them their day in court.

In a final plea in summer 2018, the government tried again to get a higher court to intervene and put a swift end to the lawsuit, claiming that letting the case go to trial would be too burdensome on the government and would unconstitutionally pit the judicial and executive branches of government against one another.

But on July 20, three judges in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to allow the case to continue, stating that such arguments were better decided in court. The kids and their lawyers are scheduled to begin trial on Oct. 29 in a federal court in Eugene, Oregon.

Once again, young people are engaging in civic action to make change in their world. Hallelujah!

Suing the federal government may seem like an extreme move, but climate change is an undeniably urgent reality — one this young generation will bear the brunt of.

Thankfully, kids and teens keep proving over and over that they are ready and willing to take collective action to protect their future, no matter what obstacles lie in their path. It takes gumption and diligence to speak truth to power, and these youth seem to have plenty of both.

Go, kids, go. Millions of your fellow citizens will be rooting for you in October.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

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It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.

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