Iquote from the judge...federal case.

Youth Take Their Case to the Courts:

Protect Our Planet. 

Kids vs the U.S. Government...and the Fossil Fuel Industry

"We can't vote.  We can't afford lobbyists.  We can only trust that our leaders will make good decisions on our behalf.  But, when they make decisions like favoring oil company profits over our safety, then we need to hold them accountable."  Alec Loorz, founder of iMatter

Youth from Kids vs Global Warming (iMatter), working with the non-profit group, Our Childrens Trust, and pro-bono attorneys around the country, have sued the federal and state governments of the United States to secure climate recovery plans that will restore the balance of Earth's climate systems. 

The plaintiffs are asking the judges to rule that the atmosphere is a common resource, a public trust, shared by all, and hold the government to its responsibility to protect it for all generations.

LATEST UPDATE FEDERAL LAWSUIT

TRUST Campaign:  The Plaintiffs Speak Out

OiMatter worked with producers of an award-winning film series following the stories of nine of the youth plaintiffs involved in state or federal legal actions.  Their stories are important vehicles to opening the hearts and minds of judges, lawmakers, legislators, and society in general to the reality that the climate crisis is not just a political or even environmental issue.  It's a human rights issue because our futures are threatened by our ongoing fossil fuel addiction.

The nine part series, co-produced by WITNESS.org, Our Children's Trust, Montana State University and in partnership with iMatter, features young people who are impacted by the climate crisis...and are doing something about it.  The films are used to promote the creation of a comprehensive climate recovery plan and to inspire youth to tell their own stories.  Because we are the generation most affected...and the one who will lead the way to recovery.

Stories of TRUST:  Fighting for Climate Recovery series of short documentaries

Watch their stories as a way to encourage youth storytelling in your community.  The youngest generation has the moral authority to awaken action.

Recent Screenings:

Oct. 14-19
Wildscreen, Bristol, UK
TRUST Alaska

Oct. 17- 20
Show Me Justice Film Festival, Warrneburg, Missouri
TRUST Alaska 

Oct. 19 – 21
Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, California
TRUST California and TRUST Massachusetts 

Oct. 18 – 20
Unspoken Human Rights Film Festival, Utica, NY
TRUST Arizona

Full List of Screenings

Plan Your Own Screening:

Screen a couple or all ten films in your school, church, community and raise awareness about the reality that the climate crisis impacts the youngest generation most.  Included in each screening package are fundraising tools, discussions guides and advocacy actions that can be taken.  Help young people in your community tell their stories in terms of the climate crisis to help them inspire others to prioritize their future.  More information here.
Download Screening Guide Order a DVD

co-produced by:

Why a Group of Youth Sued the United States Government

Social change has historically happened when street actions like marches, boycotts and protests are coordinated with legal actions that enable equitable laws to be put into place.  The Montgomery Bus Boycotts were started to support the federal lawsuits challenging the states ability to segregate buses.  Once the Supreme Court case was won, the boycotts ended.  

In a similar manner, the iMatter campaign combines street actions with landmark legal actions. Climate change is more than an environmental or political issue.  It is a human rights issue. The future health and survival of the youngest and future generations are at stake.  It is also a legal issue.

The government has a legal responsibility to protect the atmosphere as a public trust, for all generations.  Youth from the iMatter network across the country have taken legal action to demand that the courts recognize the atmosphere as a commons that needs to be protected.  


 

The lawsuits require the government to put Climate Recovery Plans into place that reduce carbon emissions by at least 6% per year, the rate needed to restore balance in the atmosphere, and massive reforestation. This is the prescription developed by top climate scientists led by Dr James Hansen, climatologist with NASA.  More about the Science supporting the lawsuits.

A courageous, and just, decision to stand with the youth plaintiffs would mean that the government, working with civil society, engineers, and businesses, must create climate recovery plans reducing carbon emissions by 6% per year. This would be the transition to a sustainable economy that activists and climate conscious representatives have been trying valiantly to change for decades. It would also mean the end of the corporate fossil fuel industry dictating our future.

Students from Boston Latin School Petition Their State EPA

E​she Sherley, 18, and her former classmates at Boston Latin School filed a Petition for Rulemaking just days after the worst hurricane to hit the Northeast.

Read Full Update  

Akilah's Lawsuit NOT Dismissed in New Mexico.  

 

Akilah Sanders-Reed, 18 year old plaintiff from New Mexico, will be traveling back from her college in Minnesota next year to testify before the New Mexico court 

Read Full Update  

Texas Judge Declares Atmosphere is Part of Public Trust

Eamon Umphress is 16 years old and a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the State of Texas to protect the atmosphere, where the judge issued a favorable ruling for the planet​

Read Full Update  

Federal Lawsuit Awaits Judge Watkin's Reconsideration.  

 

Alec Loorz, 18, and five other youth filed a Motion to Reconsider after the federal judge granted the Fossil Fuel Industry and US Government's motion to dismiss. After three months, they still have 

Read Full Update  

Download Legal Documents

Prelminary Injunction

Appelate Opening Brief for Youth Appelants

Federal Complaint

Fossil Fuel Industry Intervenes

Judge Grants Motion to Dismiss

Petition for Reconsideration



Meet Some of the Lawyers

Meet Some of the Scientists

Julia Olson, Our Children's Trust

Julia is the Executive Director of Our Children's Trust, the non-profit behind the Atmospheric Trust Litigation.  She is an environmental attorney out of Eugene, OR.​  Link to OCT

Dr. James Hansen, Climate Scientist

Dr Hansen's directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in NYC and is an Adjunc Professor of Earth Sciences at Columbia University .​  Link to Dr Hansen's bio

Phil Gregory, Cochett, Pitre & McCarthy 

Phil is a trial attorney out of San Francisco, CA who has tried many high-profile environmental cases including suits against BP and the US government after the Gulf Oil Spill.​  Link to CP&M  

Dr. Pushker Kharecha, Climate Scientist

Dr Kharecha, also a scientist at GISS, studies the interrelationship between the global climate and carbon cycles.​  Link to Dr Kharecha's bio

Tom Beers, Montana Trial Attorney

Tom is also a trial attorny out of Montana who specializes in the insurance bad faith and product liability.​ He is motivated to win this case for the sake of his grandchildren. 

Lise Van Susteren, MD Psychiatrist

Dr. Van Susteren specializes in the psychological effects of climate change and co-founded the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate.​  Link to Dr Van Susteren

Learn More About the Lawsuits Learn More About the Science