Youth activists in the U.S. and around the world are using June 1 as a day of action to support a landmark court case that could affect the climate crisis, holding coordinated press conferences to draw attention to the litigation.
The case, Juliana v. United States, was first filed in 2015 by now-college student Kelsey Juliana and 20 other youth plaintiffs. The lawsuit demands the government act to protect the climate and environment for the future by making the right to a stable climate constitutionally protected.
The next hearing on the case will be Tuesday, June 4, at the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Saturday's conferences will announce new tactics in the fight against climate change, building on a growing youth movement that's pushing for change on a global scale. In a statement, 19 year-old Katie Eder, the national leader of the June 1st campaign and the executive director of Future Coalition, a group leading coordinating efforts, put the push for climate justice into a generational context.
"Climate change is the most pressing issue for our generation," said Eder. "We're supporting the Juliana plaintiffs as they fight for our future in court by fighting alongside them in our communities."
In a press release, Future Coalition laid out the program for Saturday's events and the broader context of the Juliana case.
Apart from announcing new local initiatives, climate activists will use their press conferences to share stories of how the climate crisis has impacted them personally. They will also urge people to stay informed by tuning in to a pivotal hearing in Juliana v. U.S. on June 4, which will be live-streamed. At the June 4 hearing, the Juliana plaintiffs will argue why their lawsuit should be allowed to proceed to a trial — and if the case wins at trial, a court could order the government to create and implement a plan that would help slow down the climate crisis — a historic win for our future and our planet.
Emery Kiefer, campus program coordinator for the Al Gore-led Climate Reality Project, told The Guardian that youth activists are "becoming more and more involved and understanding the nexus of climate policy and the importance of elections and campaign," a shift that's leading to change as more and more people take the next generation seriously.
"Youth are an important catalyst for change because they're the ones that people are finally starting to listen to," said Kiefer.
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