Teens Speak Up…and Win!


Teens Speak Up…and Win!

by Amy Lignor


Although it is a worldwide belief that all teenagers do in 2016 is play on their cell phones and pretend the rest of the world doesn’t matter, this is a belief that’s actually very misguided. When questioning whether or not teens have a care in the world about the state of their world, such as if’ll be living in a healthy one, the answer just so happens to be yes.


To prove that fact, just last week in the state of Massachusetts, a group of teenagers sued the Massachusetts state government over its absolute failure to address “the threat of climate change.” Sued…and won a major victory that is not the first in this area. In fact, it is just the latest addition in a very long line of victories teens have experienced while fighting for the health and well-being of the planet.


A Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court Judge ruled in favor of these plaintiffs, stating that the Department of Environmental Protection was not doing its job and making good on its goals and promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The agency was ordered to produce and implement new and more stringent regulations that would lead to the mass-based reductions in greenhouse gases that the state legislature already asked for and signed into law back in 2008. Called the “Global Warming Solutions Act,” this law stated that greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced 25% below the levels shown in 1990 by the year 2020; and 80% below by 2050.


A plaintiff just seventeen-years of age showed how important this was to him and his peers by issuing this statement: “This is an historic victory for young generations advocating for changes to be made by government. The global climate change crisis is a threat to the well-being of humanity and to my generation that has been ignored for too long.”


This verdict comes after another group of teenagers in Washington State sued, asking their government officials to alter science-based emission regulations. It was ruled that the “urgency of climate change and the government’s responsibility to protect citizens require that the state’s Department of Ecology be held to a deadline.”


But that’s not all… Heading into Eugene, Oregon, a group of teen plaintiffs numbering twenty-one were victorious when the U.S. District Court there denied motions made by both the federal government and companies operating in the fossil fuel industry to dismiss a lawsuit over climate change and basically “dismiss” the harm it brings to the planet. These plaintiffs were angry; they stated their constitutional rights were being violated by the never-ending failure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


Our Children’s Trust is the nonprofit group backing these plaintiffs in all three states, as well as other states with pending lawsuits brought by teenagers against various governments, focusing on their own state’s lack of direction when it comes to stopping the horrendous effects of climate change. This organization believes that the trend of YA plaintiffs stepping forward to speak up and out about their own rights is not going to end anytime soon. And…it shouldn’t. After all, the rights of these young plaintiffs to demand people in power get off their behinds, open their eyes, and fix the horrific issues causing our planet to die and thus ruining the future for our children, is what America is all about.


As it is with most things in the political realm, the “laws” signed and the “vows” made are not kept a great deal of the time. But it is incredibly rewarding to see that the next generation has no trouble putting down those cell phones to fight for their health and welfare. We need to stand behind them to make sure that all voices – no matter how young they happen to be – are heard.

Source:  Baret News


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