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Earth is Cooked: How the Juliana v. U.S. case could change the game

Picture this: A child is blowing a large bubble using only a wand and the air provided from his lungs.

Now the bubble keeps growing larger and larger until finally…POP! The bubble disappears due to constant increasing air pressure within the confines of the bubble.

Now, what would happen if this phenomenon was scaled up? Scaled way up? On a planetary sized level! As a matter of fact, let’s take that bubble and call it with Earth. How much pressure would Earth have to experience in order to “pop”?

What would be the effects of such a “pop”? To tell you the truth, I have no idea and I have no intention of finding out. Neither do the plaintiffs of the potential landmark case Juliana v. United States.


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Born in the environmentalism hotbed of Eugene, Oregon, Juliana v. United States was filed in 2015 by kids in order to stop the United States from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They argue that fossil fuel usage is causing climate change, jeopardizing their future, and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. The lead plaintiff, Kelsey Juliana, is a University of Oregon student leading the charge along with 20 other plaintiffs with ages ranging from 11 to 22 years old.

Julian Olson, the mastermind behind this collection of children and young adults is an Oregon lawyer and the Executive Director of a non-profit organization called “Our Children’s Trust”. She also believes that the Earth is Cooked. She recruited the plaintiffs from environmental groups across the country with a mission to “secure the legal right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for the benefit of all present and future generations.” This collective and their mission sounds quite impressive, but wait till you hear about the body of evidence they have amassed to support their case.

To document the U.S. government’s involvement in climate change, Olson and her organization created a timeline that details which U.S. administrations had knowledge about the relationship between climate change and burning fossil fuels. This timeline stretched as far back as 1965, right in the middle of the Lyndon B. Johnson administration. Each administration since then, regardless of party affiliation, was aware of the threat of carbon dioxide emissions. The government has always known that the Earth is Cooked.

Our Children’s Trust was able to compile roughly 36,000 pages and over 50 years of evidence. Of course, they will be using this evidence in the case against the U.S.

The lawsuit created states that the government has proven to be lackluster in its dealings with climate change; failing in its responsibility to protect the nation’s forests, air, water, and coastlines. 

Additionally, this lawsuit petitions that the judicial branch forces the government to create a plan that would cut off fossil fuel usage by the middle of this century.

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Late 2016, after months of legal proceedings, a U.S. federal judge DENIED the U.S. government its motion to dismiss the case. Additionally, the judge ruled that the lawsuit could proceed to trial. No federal judge has ever made that decision.

In what is a potential landmark decision, Judge Ann Aiken wrote,

“Exercising my reasoned judgment, I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.”

Moreover, the significance of this decision is that a court has never recognized the constitutional right to a clean and stable environment.

Certainly, the youth have put down their bubble wands and picked up legal scales. Children of this generation no longer live in a bubble; they are proactive and ambitious like never before, and this is just the beginning.

The future is bright with these children at the helm. The best action we can take is to support this effort, for the betterment of ourselves, the country, and the world.

Picture this: A child is blowing a large bubble and the air provided from his lungs. Now the bubble keeps growing larger and larger until it releases from the wand. It sets sail for an unknown course and floats away into the never-ending horizon.