In between classes and final exams, they’re suing the government. #ChangeMaker

By Alexandra Lim-Chua Wee
April 09, 2018
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Credit: Courtesy of YouthVGov / Instagram

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At first glance, these teens seem pretty average. They want to spend spring break on the beach. They like sports, reading fiction novels, and hanging out in coffee shops. But talk to any one of them and you'll quickly realize they're more than "just kids."

All 21 of them-barely even in college-are plaintiffs in a federal constitutional climate lawsuit against the United States government.

Initially filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon in 2015, the lawsuit, Juliana vs. U.S, makes the claim that "through the government's affirmative actions that cause climate change, it has violated the youngest generation's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property."

The plaintiffs, ages 10 to 22, come from all over the country, from New York and Florida to Washington state. Backed by eco-advocacy group, Our Children's Trust, these youth have spent the last three years in and out of courts, waiting through motions to dismiss and appeals. They've rallied, marched, given Ted Talks, and spoken with the press. They've become family. And through both unyielding support and criticisms, they've shown no signs of backing down. In fact, they're just getting started.

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