As America goes to the polls today, there are early indications that young people are voting in record numbers.
As US Today just reported “A surge in early voting totals in key states across the nation suggests that 2018 could be the year that young people finally show up for a midterm election.” Some estimates put the youth turnout rates up by 125 percent compared to 2014.
Whatever happens in the mid-term elections today, there is another way the youth will be heard, especially on climate.
Last Friday, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s request to prevent a lawsuit, known, Juliana v Gov., brought by 21 youths who are seeking to hold Trump and his administration to account for failing to act on climate change. It is being described by some as the Trial of the Century.
The lawsuit had been scheduled for trial on October 29th in Eugene, Oregon, but the Trump Administration managed to secure a last minute “stay” order from the Supreme Court to delay the trial.
To coincide with the proposed trial, according to 350.org, there were over 90 demonstrations and marches across the US–and several globally in Copenhagen and Uganda. The demonstrations used the #LetTheYouthbeHeard.
According to CNN, the administration had asked the court to halt the lawsuit, saying it was “misguided” and a “radical invasion of the separation of powers.”
But last Friday, the Supreme Court rejected the Trump administration’s request. And so the legal action moves forward. It is an historic case. The youths argue that by neglecting to properly address climate change, the government is depriving them of rights to life, liberty and property while also failing to protect essential resources. The case was originally brought under the Obama Administration.
Their lawyers contend: “These young Plaintiffs, mere children and youth, are already suffering irreparable harm which worsens as each day passes with more carbon dioxide accumulating in the atmosphere and oceans”.
Last Friday, in response to the judgement, Julia Olson, executive director and chief legal counsel for Our Children’s Trust and and co-counsel for the youth plaintiffs said: “The youth of our nation won an important decision today from the Supreme Court that shows even the most powerful government in the world must follow the rules and process of litigation in our democracy.”
Previously one of the plaintiffs Kelsey Juliana, from Eugene, Oregon had outlined: “This will be the trial of the century that will determine if we have a right to a liveable future, or if corporate power will continue to deny our rights for the sake of their own wealth”.
Meanwhile, President Trump has given an interview with “Axios on HBO” regarding climate change where he disavowed his own scientists and government on the issue.
When questioned on climate change and shown a copy of the National Climate Assessment, a federally mandated report. In response Trump said: “Is there climate change? Yeah. Will it go back like this, I mean will it change back? Probably.”
Trump’s climate ignorance is another reason why we must #LettheYouthbeHeard.