According to German folklore, nutcrackers were given as symbols of good luck and protection. And who couldn’t use a little of that right about now?
Inspired by Alexandre Dumas’ lighter adaptation of the E.T.A. Hoffmann story, the ballet was set to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and originally choreographed by Marius Petipa, for its 1892 Moscow premier.
Though critically well received, The Moscow Imperial Theatre’s Nutcracker didn’t enjoy great success at first, and the acrimonious dynamic between the composer, and his Sugar Plum[p] Fairy, Antonietta Dell'Era, is legendary.
But the fantastical story of Marie (here Clara), her battle with the Mouse King and her journey to the Land of Sweets, endures.
The ballet’s ascendency, to a place of such beloved recognition and lore, is a testament to this music, and to the power of this incredible, indelible story.
After hopping the pond in ’44, with a performance by the San Francisco Ballet, and in ’54, with George Balanchine’s version in New York City, this ballet has delighted generations. The Nutcracker has become a no-miss holiday tradition for many, and as keepers of the torch, the Eugene Ballet Company’s sturdy production twinkles and delights as ever: There is much to love about EBC.
What a delight to enjoy live music.
Brian McWhorter’s Orchestra NEXT and the Cantible Collective, under direction of Chris Dobson, elevate the effort from enjoyable to resplendent.
Live music feels a salve these days, and McWhorter is clearly enjoying bringing terrific live music to audiences. He makes the work approachable, connected, inspiring audience members not to distance themselves from the music, but to enjoy it as though they are taking part in the making of it, through McWhorter’s irrepressible energy and spirit.
And not enough can be said about Toni Pimble’s choreography.
Have I seen this Nutcracker before? Sure, more times than I can count. But it works, and watching it, all I could think was “generous.” There is something inherently humane in Pimble’s eye for detail. Her deep passion for technique and perfection is there, and exacted by her dancers, but Pimble creates something so much more than that. This work is an invitation to audience members to access dance, many for the first time, or for the only time all year. Pimble stewards this art form, holds it, keeps it, with each moment of comic timing, every lush pathway or relationship, every lift, nod, gesture.
Pimble’s artistic acumen and vision stands shoulder to shoulder with giants.
Hats off to the production design team, sets, costumes, props, and lighting: They successfully create Clara’s mysterious and ever-changing world. This show is pure fantasy, yet it’s rooted in glorious, rich detail. The dance shines against an immersive and thorough backdrop.
On to the performances:
Isaac Jones lends a mischievous zip to Drosselmeyer, a character who can come off as a little scary to the younger set. Not Jones’ interpretation, though: His uncle is fresh and lively, with a bouncy, impish quality.
As Hans/the Nutcracker, Reed Souther lends cartoon pilot good looks, and tremendous energy and technique. Souther’s a pleasure to watch, strong and relatable, with terrific acting chops.
As Clara, Yoshie Oshima shines, an incandescent depiction of youth on the cusp of maturity, of hope, and strength. Clara’s a tough cookie! She has a really weird night! And Oshima is up for it: Infusing each step, each gesture, with meaning and connection. She seems fragile and doll-like one moment, and achingly sanguine the next. In her hands, we don’t love Clara. We are Clara.
Yuki Beppu as the Sugar Plum Fairy, and Hirofumi Kitazume as her Cavalier, are compelling and vibrant. They come along in act two as a kind of tonic, a pure, powerful expression of beauty. Even the tiny kids seated next to me couldn’t look away: They were simply transfixed. It’s like watching real damn fairies.
Children from the Eugene Ballet Academy add an element of genuine “Aw” to the effort, from baby mice to angels to Bon Bons and Party Goers: This show is special because there are so many kids involved.
And as an ensemble, EBC glows. Too many shout outs to mention, but the whole smorgasbord in the Land of Sweets – coffee, tea, cocoa, etc - delights.
Can it be “Nutcracker” season again next week? Please?
The Electoral College voted Donald Trump in as president today.
At least Saturday Night Live can still make us laugh.
And Trump hates it and hates that you watch it.
Eugene Service Station, the social services hub on Highway 99N for homeless men and women in the Eugene-Springfield area, has temporarily closed due to lost power in the winter storm, and is seeking donations of warm clothes, blankets and sleeping bags to assist the needy in the meantime.
“We really need warm clothing right now,” says Paul Neville, the director of public relations at St. Vincent de Paul’s. “We’re asking people to donate.” St. Vinnie's also administers Egan Warming Centers and the Dusk-to-Dawn homeless camping programs, and provides warm clothing and other items to homeless people using those programs.
According to a press release, “St. Vinnie’s retail thrift stores throughout the region are issuing vouchers for clothing and other items to homeless individuals.” This means that unhoused people can go to St. Vincent locations to get free supplies.
The cold weather has made travel difficult, but Neville asks that the public bring warm clothing to any St. Vincent drop-site or location. “Our preference is to donate to the Seneca store, but that depends on road conditions,” Neville says, but certainly not if it is too dangerous. The Seneca St. Vinnie's is at 705 S. Seneca.
St. Vincent serves meals to 200 homeless individuals every day, and provides 80,000 showers a year, according to Neville. “The demand always surpasses out ability to meet those needs,” he says, but donations can help.
Those interested in volunteering with the Egan Warming Center can attend the new volunteer orientation and training on Saturday, Dec. 17 from 9:30-11:30am at First Christian Church 1166 Oak St. in the chapel.
Ballet Fantastique warmed up a cold, rainy winter’s evening with its latest offering, “The Book of Esther: A Rock Gospel Ballet”, featuring the UO Gospel Singers and live original Persian rock music led by Gerry Rempel and band.
The design team shines here, with rich, illustrative costumes by Donna Marisa Bontrager and Allison Ditson, which transport, from the first moment the dancers enter from the back of the house, carrying warmly lit lanterns.
The gospel music is a soothing and stirring undercurrent, and the choreographers, Donna Marisa and Hannah Bontrager conceive of using these performers artfully, arranging their entrance and spacing cleverly, seamlessly, so that the singers become an integral part of the whole.
Hats off to Andiel Brown, UO Gospel Choir director, as Mordecai in this production. Brown’s voice is compelling and clear, his gestures relatable and connected. He even has a couple of lifts! Bravo.
As Esther, Leanne Mizzoni dances with a precise, yet earnest approach. Her delicate, lyrical quality is tempered by her strength, and as Esther traverses through this narrative, we see Mizzoni’s determination grow.
A strong duet ends Act One, danced to music by Byron Cage: The pairing exudes a longing, a sinuous connection between Mizzoni and King Xerxes, played here by Justin Feimster.
Feimster anchors the men’s roles. He is physically grounded, convincing, with great acting chops.
As the antagonizing Haman, Gustavo Ramirez throws out a ton of passion, but one wonders if choreographically, there wasn’t something left in his back pocket. (Ramirez dances the hell out of what he’s been given, I just would have liked him to be a bit more of a baddie.)
The ensemble works together nicely, and as a narrative, this classic tale delights, especially with BFan’s musical choices, and a thoughtful and judiciously interwoven narration adding dimension.
At times, group dance work has a predictable rhythmic and patterning cadence, leaning heavily on the 4/4 power of gospel. Set to jazz, BFan’s choreography slips and slides and works over and under the beat, but here, especially in Act Two, the movement at times sacrifices organic dynamic intensity for adherence to the musical phrase.
But we quibble. Will most notice the technical dance structures, and see them repeating? Probably not.
BFan sets a remarkable course here: Taking an ancient story, making it new and fresh, and presenting it for all audiences.
“The Book of Esther” is a story for the ages, and a timely one at that.
According to the website corpcounsel.com, "The University of Oregon has asked its general counsel, Kevin Reed, to look into whether the school's athletic department is violating university free-speech policies by allegedly threatening to pull the credentials of reporters who try to speak directly with student athletes."
Corporate Counsel, a publication that specializes in "addressing the needs of the nation’s in-house attorneys and executives," writes that the issue arose when the Daily Emerald reported three incidents of violence over two years allegedly committed by Duck football tight end Pharaoh Brown.
According to a Nov. 28 Emerald story about the UO Senate calling for an investigation of athletic department for possible free speech violation, the Emerald reporter, Kenny Jacoby "had called kicker Matt Wogan for comment, following a prearranged interview in which Wogan declined to speak on the issue. The department’s policy states that all requests for interviews with players must go through the athletic department, and by calling a player directly, the Emerald knowingly violated that policy."
Corporate Counsel reports that "asked about an investigation, Reed confirmed that university president Michael Schill asked him 'to conduct a review. I wouldn't describe it as an investigation. I understand my brief is to report to the president regarding whether our rules governing the rights of speech of our student athletes and the rights of access of the press to our student athletes are consistent with university policy, law and best practices.' He said he expects to report back 'sometime after the first of the year.'"
Four area state legislators will be holding a town hall next Wednesday evening at University of Oregon. Come meet the politicians you elected!
What: State Legislators Town Hall with Rep. Phil Barnhart, Rep. Paul Holvey, Sen. Lee Beyer and Sen. Floyd Prozanski
When: 6:30 pm Dec. 7
Where: Crater Lake South Rm at UO’s Erb Memorial Union, 1228 University Street
Janie Coverdell traveled from Eugene to Standing Rock in September to participate in the Sioux tribe's protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline. She recently returned to Cannon Ball, North Dakota, and is sending Eugene Weekly updates from the frontlines.
Coverdell, who is posting video on YouTube of events as Tlingit Girl, was present Nov. 20 when police began to shoot water at protesters in the below-freezing temperatures, as well as rubber bullets and tear gas. One protester, 21-year-old Sophia Wilansky, was severly injured and might lose her arm.
The Associated Press reports that Wilansky's father, Wayne Wilansky says his daughter was inured by the police: "There's multiple witnesses and my daughter, who was completely conscious, said they threw a grenade right at her."
Coverdell was in the thick of the Sunday night protests. She tells EW, "Unarmed women fell to their knees telling police they loved them and were praying for their generations, too. A police officer walked up and used high-pressure pepper spray right in their faces while their hands were in the air."
Coverdell says, "I followed police and called them out every time they approached peaceful protectors and as I drew attention to them for harming unarmed people the police would actually back off."
Coverdell says she was tear-gassed and sprayed with something else as well, adding that her stomach and throat are still not better. You can find her GoFundMe raising money for the trip to the protest here. She will continue to send updates.
Illustration by Trask Bedortha
Welcome to my blog. I plan to use this space to share updates on recent columns, corrections, short topics and occasional news about what I am doing in my garden.
This picture of Iris tenax appeared (in B/W) along with my column on drought-tolerant irises. In that article I listed a couple of sources for the iris species I discussed. Shortly after the column appeared in print, a friend told me about another source: Wild Ginger farm in Beavercreek, OR.
This nursery lists many varieties of Pacific Coast hybrid iris and a few selections of Iris tenax (Oregon iris). They are open only by appointment. Call 503-632- 2338, or visit their website (wildgingerfarm.com) to view a plant list or make contact by email. By the way, the tiny white flowers around the iris in this picture are those of a native alumroot, Heuchera micrantha.
I got mine from Doak Creek Native Plant Nursery on Doak Creek Road, Eugene. I have found this coral bells relative to be very adaptable and easy to grow.
In Moses(es) last night at White Bird Dance in Portland, Reggie Wilson/Fist and Heel Performance Group took the audience on a journey across time and space, exploring the intricacies and indelible spirit of culture and people, through movement and song.
“Why do we lead? How do we lead?” asked Wilson in the post-show talkback. “ And why do we follow?”
I have to admit, weary from the post-election sobriety and facing an uncertain future, I was ready to live for the next four years in the lobby of PSU’s Lincoln Hall, as the cheerful dance audience assembled there represented the joyful diversity that I think the world should embrace.
I’ve followed reviews, and seen snippets of this work on video, but what a glorious opportunity to see it in real life. And timely.
There was something prescient and cathartic in the telling, something crystal clear. Through his work, with a big heart, keen intelligence and pitch-perfect study, Wilson offers solace, sojourn, and a way forward:
Exploring the African diaspora and the human global diaspora, Moses(es) interweaves popular religious iconography and storytelling, about Moses himself, with a bedrock narrative about the African American experience.
The stage opens with the curtain pulled back, seeing the skeleton of the theater for what it is. Project into that rigging a timelessness, a place that isn’t presentational or artistic, but raw, and everywhere. The hollow scaffolds and dangling ropes, the bins and boxes: This could be a ship, a plantation, a city or a citadel.
Crumpled Mylar tinsel is strewn about the stage in wild ellipses, and Wilson himself stuffs it into a big, red suitcase, as dancers move to their places.
At one moment, dancers create a low level shape, nestled downstage, their heads facing the audience, they’re packed together in a crowded, comforting tangle that seems regimented and prescribed. My mind leaps to the etchings I’ve seen of the slave ships, with human beings commoditized for expedient shipping, like cargo.
Later, dancers move with a hieroglyphic precision, delving into the shapes and stasis of stained glass, or reliefs. They seem like superheroes, bigger than life, projecting outwards an image of transparency and hope.
Wilson transforms dishtowels – dishtowels – into a riveting depiction of slavery itself, repeating the patterns and rhythm of the folding, brushing, snapping of endless labor.
A large cloth cracks like a whip.
At another moment, the dancers move in downstage diagonals, creating a parted line for one dancer to leap through, briskly, in a moment of faith.
In Wilson’s choreography, we see a tremendous development of language and reason, but there’s ease to the telling of this story, too. His facility draws on a deep methodology into modern dance, but his effervescent structure lends a tip of the hat to the postmodernists.
One of the most stirring moments finds a reimagining of “Wading in the Water” – made famous by Alvin Ailey’s ‘Revelations’ – but within its slow, aching tempo, Wilson explores violence, and accountability.
Wilson is never overt or ham-fisted. And his company, stellar performers all, bring a lush and exquisite range to the effort, compounding every alchemic reaction with their own humanity.
The piece builds, warmly, with invitation to project into it our own thoughts and dreams.
Wilson says he was inspired by mathematical fractals, “The way something looks at a small scale is the same as at the larger scale,” he says.
It’s a perfect metaphor for the cutting up of culture, the scattering of home and peoples, all over the world.
In the post-show conversation, Wilson takes us to a salient moment in the Moses myth:
“Moses parted the seas, and his followers found themselves walking through the sand, with walls of water on either side.”
What must that have felt like?
Maybe we’re all still finding out.
Press release is below.
City Council Renews Commitment to Safe, Inclusive Community
Council Resolution Opposes Acts of Hate, Intolerance and Encourages Reporting
Following one of the most divisive general elections in our country's recent history, with news reports of incidents of hate and bias occurring in other cities, Eugene officials have heard from members of vulnerable communities who are frightened and concerned for their safety.
To make clear its continuing commitment to a safe, welcoming community, at its meeting tonight the Eugene City Council unanimously approved a resolution stating, in part:
· The City Council is committed to making Eugene a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community for everyone.
· The City Council is committed to standing together with the people of Eugene in opposing hate and bias activities and acts of intolerance committed against our neighbors.
· The City Council is committed to report incidents of hate and bias and will build upon partnerships with community organizations to track and respond to these incidents.
The full resolution is attached and also copied below:
Hate and Bias Incident Reporting and Response
The City of Eugene actively implements its Hate and Bias Response Plan, including responding to and tracking incidents, providing support to victims of incidents and producing an annual Hate and Bias report.
Although staff have seen no noticeable increase in recent days in reports directly to the City’s Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement office or the Eugene Police Department, they have heard of local incidents from partner agencies.
The City of Eugene’s Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement (HRNI) encourages community members experiencing discrimination, hate or bias to report these incidents. According to the Department of Justice only 25-42% of all hate and bias crimes are reported.
To report such crimes or incidents, people may call either the Office of Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement or the Eugene Police Department. HRNI provides community members an opportunity to report incidents and offers opportunities for support.
To file a report, community members may:
· Stop by the HRNI office at 99 W. 10th Ave., Suite 116,
· Call 541-682-5177, or
If a person is experiencing immediate danger, they should call 911. People may also report incidents or crimes to the Police non-emergency line: 541-682-5111.
RESOLUTION NO. 5174
A RESOLUTION DECLARING THE CITY OF EUGENE’S COMMITMENT TO BEING A WELCOMING, INCLUSIVE, AND SAFE COMMUNITY FOR EVERYONE
The City Council of the City of Eugene finds that:
A. As the Mayor and City Council of the City of Eugene, we are united in our commitment to serve the people that we represent after the culmination of one of the most divisive general elections in our Country's history.
B. In alignment with City Council’s goal of creating a safe and welcoming community, we are firm in our resolve to ensure that all people residing in, visiting and passing through the City of Eugene are safe. We choose to be a leader in promoting human rights and social justice and equity, public safety and social well-being.
C. The City of Eugene has a long standing history and commitment of supporting many communities who are experiencing hate, bias and discrimination and the City Council has adopted Ordinances and Resolutions that demonstrate this commitment, including:
1. Human Rights Municipal Code provisions, EC 4.613 - 4.655 (adopted in 1971, with the most recent amendment adopted in 2014 which made it unlawful to discriminate based on gender (Ord. 20523))
2. Resolution 5073 (adopted 2012) Support of a Statement of Principles for Immigrant Integration
3. Resolution 5142 (adopted in 2015) A Resolution Declaring the Urgency of the Housing and Homelessness Crisis
4. Resolution 5148 (adopted in 2016) A Resolution Declaring the Second Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day
5. Resolution 5150 (adopted in 2016) A Resolution Supporting the Oregon Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
6. Resolution 5154 (adopted in 2016) A Resolution Declaring the City of Eugene’s Commitment in Protecting Refugees
D. We believe in and are committed to continue our work to build a community that is welcoming, inclusive, just and safe for everyone.
E. We welcome all people and recognize the rights of individuals to live their lives with dignity, free of discrimination and targeting because of their age, faith, race, national origin, immigration status, gender identity, ability, ethnicity, housing status, sexual orientation, economic status or other social status.
F. We are committed to treating all people fairly, and to fully embracing the unique contributions of all Eugene residents regardless of age, faith, race, national origin, immigration status, gender identity, ability, ethnicity, housing status, sexual orientation, economic status or other social status.
G. We strongly condemn bias, intimidation, harassment and other acts that are based on age, faith, race, national origin, immigration status, gender identity, ability, ethnicity, housing status, sexual orientation, economic status or other social status.
H. We are committed to ensuring that all members of our community are free from acts that are rooted in fear, ignorance, prejudice, and hate.
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF EUGENE, a Municipal Corporation of the State of Oregon, as follows:
Section 1. The City Council is committed to making Eugene a welcoming, inclusive, and safe community for everyone.
Section 2. The City Council is committed to standing together with the people of Eugene in opposing hate and bias activities and acts of intolerance committed against our neighbors.
Section 3. The City Council is committed to its mechanisms the community can use to report incidents of hate and bias and will build upon partnerships with community organizations and local agencies to track and respond to these incidents in the City of Eugene's annual Hate and Bias report and at the direction of the City of Eugene's Hate and Bias Response Plan.
Section 4. This Resolution is effective immediately upon its passage by the City Council.
The foregoing Resolution adopted the 14th day of November, 2016.
Following the Nov. 8 election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, universities, schools and other institutions are responding to the fears of hate and bigotry. Today, Oregon State University President Ed Ray sent out this missive:
Faculty, staff and students,
Many members of our university community are experiencing a range of significant, heartfelt emotions following Tuesday’s election.
Several faculty, staff and students have shared with me that they fear for their future and the futures of family members and friends, especially people from diverse backgrounds and identities. Other members of our community are expressing joy about political change. Each of these emotions is personal and powerful.
As members of our university community, we must care for each other and support one another despite the turmoil of the moment. If you are in need of assistance or would like to talk to someone about what you are experiencing, and are a Corvallis student, please visit the Student Affairs Student Resources website at http://experience.oregonstate.edu/resources. OSU-Cascades students should visit http://osucascades.edu/student-wellness. Employees needing assistance may utilize the OSU Employee Assistance Program by confidentially calling 1-800-433-2320 at any time or by calling the Human Resources Department at 541-737-3103.
I ask you to join me in looking ahead.
At this moment of national transition, we reaffirm that Oregon State’s mission of inclusive excellence in teaching, research, and outreach and engagement has not changed. OSU’s mission to promote economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world remains essential, and we will not realize our vision for the future unless we find common ground with those around us and unless we persist in this effort.
Since its founding, this country has overcome division and uncertainty by people coming together to address challenges, by respecting differences, and by demonstrating compassion and leadership.
This is the 56th presidential election in our nation’s history and every transition of leadership has occurred peacefully. The need for us to support each other, celebrate our diversity and promote the success of every member of our community and America remains unaltered. This is at the core of who we are and how we need to go forward.
On Wednesday, I saw impressive, moving and peaceful evidence of this America among us as dozens upon dozens of OSU students gathered in the Memorial Union quad throughout the day, and where approximately 400 students and community members marched through the evening on campus to call for an end to hate and to focus on our common humanity.
Let each of us help and serve one another. Let each of us help bring America together, while we count on and challenge all of our country’s leaders to do the same.
Going forward, I encourage you to stay engaged in our nation’s political process and lead your own lives in ways that reflect our common values as a community.
I am here to help, care and, with you, lead forward.
Edward J. Ray
Zoie Gilpin was just leaving a meeting of the Black Student Union Nov. 9 on the University of Oregon campus when she came across three people painting themselves in blackface.
She says, "One person laughed and directed a comment at me saying, 'Sorry that my friends are racist,' followed by more laughing. I said, 'Do you think this is funny?'"
Gilpin who The Oregonian says is biracial tells EW that he replied, "Yes, I do [think it's funny]. I don't actually think that my friends are racist; we are doing this for fun." And she says he continued to laugh about it, so she began to record the video that she subsequently posted on Twitter and was shared by Malia Thomas in a public Facebook post.
Gilpin says, "I'm infuriated. We were just discussing how we need to stick together as a black community" at the BSU meeting and "as soon as I leave, I run into this situation."
She adds, " It's not fair that we as a minority have to face this or any discrimination at all, let alone multiple times in a row. Blackface is just a thing now? And that's okay?"
She says the incident has been reportd to the campus police.
Below is the statement from the UO on the incident.
Dear Campus Community,The University of Oregon has been made aware of an incident involving young people wearing blackface on campus this evening. The use of blackface is patently offensive and reinforces historically racist stereotypes. While there is no evidence that the individuals who wore blackface are part of the UO community, it has no place in our society or at the UO.We commend the members of the UO community who have expressed themselves through a series of peaceful demonstrations today that were respectful of other members of our community. In addition, the students who witnessed this incident, showed great maturity and judgment in their reaction to it.The incident has been reported to Student Life and the UOPD, which has doubled their patrols on campus this evening. The UO is committed to fostering a campus culture that values diversity, equity, and inclusion. We continue to be focused on supporting our students and providing a welcoming, safe, and respectful environment.Sincerely,Dr. R. Kevin MarburyInterim Vice President for Student Life
Walking home from the BSU meeting and there are 3 kids participating in black face and found it so humorous. This is wtf is wrong. pic.twitter.com/3Lrf4jOFU0
— zoiejaxon (@zoie_jaxon) November 10, 2016
What gives us hope and how do we resist the results we fear from a Trump presidency?
Send us your events, your ideas your activism. Resistance is not futile. As we wrote in slant this week:
We are in shock at the dawning of a Trump presidency and all that we stand to lose: Roe v. Wade, civil rights, immigration reform, media freedom, minority representation, climate change, the list goes on. The path to resistance becomes clear. Don’t circle the wagons; don’t snipe at the Bernie voters. It’s time to listen to the anger of those who elected Trump as well as to the thoughts and fears of those who are most hurt by the policies Trump has said he will put into place. We won’t give in to hate and despair. We will reassess and move forward to create the nation we want to be.
Jezebel has been compiling "A List of Pro-Women, Pro-Immigrant, Pro-Earth, Anti-Bigotry Organizations That Need Your Support." And we'd love to hear from you of organizations locally who are in that fight.
Locally, here are some ideas for hope and activism.
• South Eugene High School students marching Nov. 9 to say hate and fear do not represent them.
• Protest Trump in Eugene! 5 pm Nov. 10, starts at Erb Memorial Union on the University of Oregon campus and goes to Kesey Square (aka Broadway Plaza, 10 E. Broadway) downtown.
• Vigil for Hope and Respect starts at 5 pm Nov. 10 at Kesey Square
• Protest Trump March Monday, Nov. 14, 5 pm, Island Park in Springfield.
Our Children's Trust gives us a ray of hope after Donald Trump won the presidential election — and promptly appointed a climate denier to his Environmental Protection Agency transition team.
The federal government and fossil industry argued that the lawsuit put forth by 21 youth plaintiffs shouldn't go forward. But the youth won in court and the case will go forward.
The full press release is below.
Victory for America’s Youth – Constitutional Climate Lawsuit against U.S. to Proceed
Federal Judge Ann Aiken rejects U.S. government and fossil fuel industries motions to dismiss
Eugene, OR – Today, the federal court in Eugene, Oregon decided in favor of 21 youth plaintiffs in their “groundbreaking” constitutional climate lawsuit against President Obama, numerous federal agencies, and the fossil fuel industry. U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken completely rejected all arguments to dismiss raised by the federal government and fossil fuel industry, determining that the young plaintiffs’ constitutional and public trust claims could proceed. Now, the 21 plaintiffs, who range in age from 9-20, are preparing for trial in what is believed to be a turning point in United States constitutional history.
In determining the complaint to be valid, Judge Aiken’s ruling contained these passages:
“Federal courts too often have been cautious and overly deferential in the arena of environmental law, and the world has suffered for it.”
“Although the United States has made international commitments regarding climate change, granting the relief requested here would be fully consistent with those commitments. There is no contradiction between promising other nations the United States will reduce C02 emissions and a judicial order directing the United States to go beyond its international commitments to more aggressively reduce C02 emissions.”
“[The defendants and intervenors] are correct that plaintiffs likely could not obtain the relief they seek through citizen suits brought under the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, or other environmental laws. But that argument misses the point. This action is of a different order than the typical environmental case. It alleges that defendants’ actions and inactions - whether or not they violate any specific statutory duty - have so profoundly damaged our home planet that they threaten plaintiffs’ fundamental constitutional rights to life and liberty.”
“My generation is rewriting history,” said Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, a 16-year-old plaintiff and youth director of Earth Guardians. “We’re doing what so many people told us we were incapable of doing: holding our leaders accountable for their disastrous and dangerous actions. I and my co-plaintiffs are demanding justice for our generation and justice for all future generations. This is going to be the trial of our lifetimes.”
“This decision is one of the most significant in our Nation’s history,” said Julia Olson, counsel for the plaintiffs and executive director of Our Children’s Trust. “This court just gave the youth of this country the critical opportunity to protect their futures. In what will be the trial of the millennium, these young plaintiffs will prove that their federal government, in cooperation with the fossil fuel industry, has knowingly put them in grave danger, trading their futures for present convenience and gross profits for a few.”
“It’s clear Judge Aiken gets what’s at stake for us,” said 17-year-old plaintiff Victoria Barrett, from White Plains, New York. “Our planet and our generation don’t have time to waste. If we continue on our current path, my school in Manhattan will be underwater in 50 years. We are moving to trial and I’m looking forward to having the world see the incredible power my generation holds. We are going to put our nation on a science-based path toward climate stabilization.”
“Based on our Constitution, Judge Aiken correctly determined we have properly claimed the federal defendants are responsible for harm caused by climate change and these young plaintiffs may challenge the government’s wholly inadequate climate change policies in court,” said Plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel Philip Gregory, with Cotchett, Pitre, & McCarthy, LLP of Burlingame, CA.
“This is a critical step toward solution of the climate problem, and none to soon as climate change is accelerating,” said Dr. James Hansen, guardian in the case for all future generations, and world-renowned climate scientist. “Now we must ask the Court to require the government to reduce fossil fuel emissions at a rate consistent with the science.”
The young plaintiffs sued the federal government for violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, and their rights to vital public trust resources, by locking in a fossil-fuel based national energy system for more than five decades with full knowledge of the extreme dangers it posed.
This federal case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.
Our Children's Trust is a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100. www.ourchildrenstrust.org/
Earth Guardians is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with youth chapters on five continents, and multiple groups in the United States with thousands of members working together to protect the Earth, the water, the air, and the atmosphere, creating healthy sustainable communities globally. We inspire and empower young leaders, families, schools, organizations, cities, and government officials to make positive change locally, nationally, and globally to address the critical state of the Earth. www.earthguardians.org
Counsel for Plaintiffs include Philip L. Gregory, Esq. of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy of Burlingame, CA, Daniel M. Galpern, Esq. of Eugene, OR, and Julia Olson, Esq., also of Eugene, OR.