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Oral Arguments for Youth’s Landmark Climate Change Lawsuit

On Tuesday, April 7, oral arguments will be heard in court about a climate change lawsuit brought by local youth, which argues that Oregon "is failing to meet its carbon emission reduction goals and is not acting to protect Oregon’s public trust resources and the futures of these young Oregonians."

The full press release is below and some opportunities for activism from 350 Eugene are:

2:00 Children’s Tribunal, featuring Oregon youth and Mayor Kitty Piercy  Students / youth "testify" during Children's Tribunal, saying to "judges" [the crowd!] what they want to protect. 

2:00 – on Selfie Stations: Participants make photo petitions to Governor Kate, asking her to work with--not against--Oregon’s youth plaintiffs and protect the climate for Oregonians. We’ll tweet photos to her. Postcards available to decorate and send.

2:30 – 3:30 Silent Vigil HELP US ENCIRCLE THE COURTHOUSE:  Everyone invited to join circle of silence to honor the significance of this case; our fervent hope that judge takes right action; and to dramatize the silence to come for all living things if we don’t protect the climate. Our circle symbolically protects what’s happening inside—a potent bid for environmental justice.

People hold signs depicting everything at stake.

PLEASE bring poster / sign / photo / depicting something or someone you love and want to protect in Oregon. Or dress up as that thing without a voice (as otter / cloud / flower / river / democracy, etc).
We will hold these posters during our silent vigil. 

When hearing ends (estimated at 3:30):  Julia Olson, OCT Executive Director reports on proceedings

Press release from Our Children's Trust:

Oral Arguments for Youth’s Landmark Climate Change Lawsuit Held in Eugene at Lane County Circuit Court 

 

WHAT: Two Eugene youths’ climate change case, Chernaik v. Brown, will be argued before Judge Karsten Rasmussen and in front of national news media at Lane County Circuit Court. Oregonians from across the state are coming to support these young women in their fight for state action on climate change. Supporters will also be participating in a special climate change tribunal and silent vigil, organized by the 350 Eugene chapter, outside the courthouse. 

WHEN: Tuesday, April 7, 2015, Court hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. PST 

WHERE: Lane County Circuit Court, 125 East 8th Avenue, Eugene, Oregon 97401

WHY: Kelsey and Olivia brought their case against Gov. Kitzhaber (now Gov. Brown) and the state of Oregon because the state, by its own admission, is failing to meet its carbon emission reduction goals and is not acting to protect Oregon’s public trust resources and the futures of these young Oregonians. The youths ask the court for a declaration of law that the state has a fiduciary obligation to manage the atmosphere, water resources, coastal areas, wildlife and fish as public trust assets and to protect them from substantial impairment resulting from the emissions of greenhouse gases in Oregon and the resulting adverse effects of climate change and ocean acidification. In its initial motion in the case filed in January, the state renounced any obligation to protect these public resources, arguing that the public trust doctrine only prevents the state from selling off submerged lands to private interests. Kelsey and Olivia’s lawyers say that the governor is flat wrong in her defense of the case.  

Last summer, in a nationally significant decision in their case, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the circuit court must decide whether the atmosphere is a public trust resource that the state of Oregon has a duty to protect. Kelsey and Olivia were initially told by Judge Rasmussen that they could not bring the case, but the Court of Appeals overturned that decision, and Kelsey and Olivia will have their case heard in Lane County Circuit Court once again.

Kelsey and Olivia are represented by Crag Law Center, Liam Sherlock at Hutchinson, Cox, Coons, Orr & Sherlock, P.C. and the Western Environmental Law Center. Kelsey and Olivia’s lawsuit was filed with the help of Our Children’s Trust, an Oregon-based nonprofit orchestrating a global game-changing, youth-driven legal campaign to establish the right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate. The legal effort advances the fundamental duty of government today: to address the climate crisis based on scientific baselines and benchmarks, and to do so within timeframes determined by scientific analysis. 

Short documentary films of Kelsey and other young people taking legal action can be seen at www.ourchildrenstrust.org/trust-films

Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization advocating for urgent emissions reductions on behalf of youth and future generations, who have the most to lose if emissions are not reduced. OCT is spearheading the international human rights and environmental TRUST Campaign to compel governments to safeguard the atmosphere as a "public trust" resource. We use law, film, and media to elevate their compelling voices. Our ultimate goal is for governments to adopt and implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans with annual emissions reductions to return to an atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm. www.ourchildrenstrust.org/