On the day Greta Thunberg gave her emotion-filled speech at the United Nation’s (UN) Climate Summit, another historic event involving the Swedish activist and 15 other youthful climate hawks—representing 12 countries--took place. The filing of the first-ever legal complaint about climate change to the UN’s Committee on the Rights of the Child. The communication is titled Sacchi et al. vs. Argentina, et al.
Like the plaintiffs in the case of Juliana vs. US, the young petitioners—all ranging in age between 8 and 17—are seeking to protect themselves and future generations from the harsh consequen-ces of global climate change. Impacts like extreme droughts and rising sea levels that most of the world’s scientists have been warning of for decades; warnings that have gone mostly unheeded in terms of needed state actions.
The Republic of the Marshall Islands, home to three of the petitioners, formally declared a National Climate Crisis on September 30, 2019. A low lying archipelago in the southern Pacific Ocean, portions of the Marshall Islands were the site of 67 nuclear weapons tests by the United States, including the 15-megaton Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb test that produced significant fallout in the region.
Having survived those tests, the Marshall Islands now face the prospect of being uninhabitable by 2050—swallowed by the waters that have sustained its populations for hundreds of centuries. Its 29 atolls average only 6.5 feet above sea level.
This marks the addition of a new audio feature on the Civil Notion site, which I'm calling A Piece of My Mind.
In this first episode, I examine the alchemistic role of the climate youth movement in turning base political words into precious political will.
A year ago, there was no debate in Congress about climate change. Now conservative Repub-licans are being forced into a dialogue they had hoped to avoid about a problem they've been unwilling to admit even exists. The Democrats, for their part, have embraced climate change as a central theme of their 2020 political campaign. What’s changed is the entrance of the youth climate movement onto the scene.
Lead image courtesy of Jean Beaufort/public domain
Joel B. Stronberg
Joel Stronberg, MA, JD., of The JBS Group is a veteran clean energy policy analyst with over 30 years’ experience, based in Washington, DC.