The U.S. government tried to stop these kids' lawsuit over climate change. It didn't work.

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.

Canva

As millions of Americans have raced to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, millions of others have held back. Vaccine hesitancy is nothing new, of course, especially with new vaccines, but the information people use to weigh their decisions matters greatly. When choices based on flat-out wrong information can literally kill people, it's vital that we fight disinformation every which way we can.

Researchers at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, a not-for-profit non-governmental organization dedicated to disrupting online hate and misinformation, and the group Anti-Vax Watch performed an analysis of social media posts that included false claims about the COVID-19 vaccines between February 1 and March 16, 2021. Of the disinformation content posted or shared more than 800,000 times, nearly two-thirds could be traced back to just 12 individuals. On Facebook alone, 73% of the false vaccine claims originated from those 12 people.

Dubbed the "Disinformation Dozen," these 12 anti-vaxxers have an outsized influence on social media. According to the CCDH, anti-vaccine accounts have a reach of more than 59 million people. And most of them have been spreading disinformation with impunity.

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Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
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Meanwhile, outbreaks across South America, Africa, and Asia continued, as the highly contagious virus continued to kill three out of every 10 people who caught it, while leaving many survivors disfigured. It took a renewed commitment of resources from wealthy nations to fulfill the promise made in 1959.

Forty-one years later, although we face a different virus, the potential for vast destruction is just as great, and the challenges of funding, personnel and supply are still with us, along with last-mile distribution. Today, while 30% of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, with numbers rising every day, there is an overwhelming gap between wealthy countries and the rest of the world. It's becoming evident that the impact on the countries getting left behind will eventually boomerang back to affect us all.

Photo by ismail mohamed - SoviLe on Unsplash

The international nonprofit CARE recently released a policy paper that lays out the case for U.S. investment in a worldwide vaccination campaign. Founded 75 years ago, CARE works in over 100 countries and reaches more than 90 million people around the world through multiple humanitarian aid programs. Of note is the organization's worldwide reputation for its unshakeable commitment to the dignity of people; they're known for working hand-in-hand with communities and hold themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"As we enter into our second year of living with COVID-19, it has become painfully clear that the safety of any person depends on the global community's ability to protect every person," says Michelle Nunn, CARE USA's president and CEO. "While wealthy nations have begun inoculating their populations, new devastatingly lethal variants of the virus continue to emerge in countries like India, South Africa and Brazil. If vaccinations don't effectively reach lower-income countries now, the long-term impact of COVID-19 will be catastrophic."

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