#youthvgov Solidarity vigil: Monday Oct. 29 at Athens County Courthouse

Climate Trial of the Century:

Young Americans v. Climate Criminals

Call to Action:

Athens Courthouse: Stand in Solidarity

Monday Oct. 29, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Please bring climate messaging signs. See graphics at www.dropbox.com/…/k6q4yc1l2sdgj63/AADSu8gxouIvJNd1x51WGIzMa….

Why? On October 29, 2018, 21 young people were to take the government to court, suing the executive branch of the U.S. government for violating their constitutional rights by knowingly causing and perpetuating the climate crisis for over 50 years. Although the trial of Juliana v. U.S. has now been delayed due to a temporary stay issued by the U.S. Supreme Court last week, no one can put a pause on the #youthvgov rallies. The Athens vigil, like rallies around the country, will proceed.

While Trump and his fossil fuel cronies continue to contribute to the biggest crisis of our time, ordinary people across all 50 states — led by our youth — are rising up to demand bold action to protect our climate, our communities, and our collective future.

On October 28th and 29th, youth climate leaders will lead rallies at courthouses across the U.S. We in Athens will gather at Athens Courthouse Monday between 11:30 and 12:30 in solidarity with the courageous youth at the forefront of building a fossil free world that works for all of us.


Why now?  The 5th amendment protects our rights to life, liberty and property. What’s more important to our rights than breathable air, drinkable water, and a livable planet? #youthvgov is seeking constitutional and public trust protections for a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations.

Youth are demanding a science-based National Climate Recovery Plan––a plan that would end the reign of fossil fuels and lead to a just transition to 100% renewables for all.

When young people win this case, they are asking the court to order the executive branch to create a national Climate Recovery Plan grounded in the latest and most accurate science, to transition our energy system to 100% renewables, and to draw down CO2 from over 400 ppm to below 350 ppm.

Intensifying hurricanes sweeping the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, wildfires engulfing communities across the West, and extreme weather across the U.S. is already happening at just 1 degree celsius of warming. Time is not on our side when it comes to action on climate injustice.

Despite our federal government’s regressive actions and rhetoric, recent reports from the administration recognize the reality of climate change, even acknowledging the petrifying truth that we’re now on track for 3.8 degrees Celsius of warming. They argue that since the current track is so bad, we may as well do nothing to fix it. We won’t stand for that, and neither will our youth.

The best defense is a good offense. #youthvgov brings in the crucial question: who is responsible for fixing climate chaos? Our nation’s youth, who have done the least to contribute to the problem, or the U.S. government who has done more than any other nation over time to cause the climate crisis? There is a feasible, viable, available science-based climate recovery plan that will keep our climate system safe. Such a plan would inform how we build a fossil free world, one that works for all of us with no fossil fuel projects, 100% renewables for all, and holding accountable those most responsible for the climate crisis.

For far too long, our government has bowed to fossil fuel interests that have influenced politicians and rigged our political system for their own profit. But together with the judicial branch, we can shift the ground away from fossil fuels to a renewable energy world that puts our communities first.

The U.S. District Court in Juliana v. U.S. has already determined that the U.S. Constitution protects the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life. With internationally renowned experts testifying in support of the case, the youth expect to win by proving that the actions of their government violated that constitutional right, and that a science-based national climate recovery plan will help remedy the climate crisis.

Background: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report this month saying that not only are global consequences of climate disruption going to be worse than predicted, but they are starting sooner: “Without a radical transformation…, the world will hurtle past the 1.5 degree Celsius target of the Paris climate agreement by the middle of the century… Failing to cap global warming near that threshold dramatically increases risks to human civilization and the ecosystems that sustain life on earth.”  [1] We are hurtling toward the tipping point and the ominous spread of droughts, famines, mass migration, and regional war.

The group that has been supporting the suit since it began is Our Children’s Trust [2].  For 3 years, they have persevered through legal obstacles and attempts by government attorneys to have the case dismissed.  They refused to bow down, and now the case is scheduled to go to trial on Oct.29 at the federal court in Eugene, Oregon. Their legal strategy is based on two key points:

  1. A) The recognition that climate disruption – if left unabated – will have a severe impact within the lifetime of the younger generation of today; and
  2. B) The recognition that our legal system has long honored what is called the “public trust” – the concept that there are certain natural resources to which all citizens must have access to if they are to be able to exercise their Constitutionally-ordained right to pursue “life, liberty, and happiness”.  Clean air and water and a healthy atmosphere are examples of such key resources, and defined as being part of “the commons”.  The “public trust doctrine” holds that government has a legal obligation to protect “the commons” on behalf of all its citizens.

Our Children’s Trust is calling for people all around the country who care about our future to hold public rallies in support of the youth filing the lawsuit on both Oct.28 and 29.

A SOURCE OF HOPE – As we witness the Trump administration dismantle efforts to reduce greenhouse gases while we approach the tipping point of no return, it is difficult to hold onto hope.  But climate activists are fighting back by organizing at the local level and achieving restraints on carbon emissions at the state and city level that the federal government has failed to implement.  This trial represents another major source of hope. It is a rare opportunity to force the Trump administration to confront not only the overwhelming scientific consensus that severe climate disruption is happening but also the frightening consequences that will befall humanity if this global crisis continues to be ignored. As the stakes could not be higher and opposition from the trump-industry side is horrific, this is the “climate trial of the century.” 

Let’s show the government that it has a duty to listen to our country’s youngest citizens, and to prepare and implement a Climate Recovery Plan to protect our basic and most fundamental rights! These brave youth who represent our planet’s future need us to stand with them for all our sakes.


  1. ipcc.ch/pdf/session48/pr_181008_P48_spm_en.pdf
  2. ourchildrenstrust.org and on fb and twitter: #youthvgov