Typically, you expect an environmental activist to be dressed in all-organic clothing, maybe even Birkenstocks. Whatever it is they are wearing, you at least imagine that they are adults, as in over the age of 18.
But apparently the concern over global warming stretches across many generations; now teenagers are taking on the environmental cause.
In an unusual case filed in San Francisco yesterday, several teenagers are suing the federal government, claiming it has not taken seriously enough its obligation to protect the Earth's atmosphere from global warming.
Similar lawsuits are being heard on this very issue, yet what makes this
claim unique is the fact that teenagers are pursuing it -- a move
that clearly underscores the effect global warming has on all
The plaintiffs include Madeleine W., a 15-year-old from San Francisco,
who cofounded the Environmental Action Committee at her middle school.
Her mother, Janet Wallace, is representing her. Also named in the lawsuit is 16-year-old Zoe J., who lives in San Francisco. Other plaintiffs include the organizations Kids vs. Global Warming and WildEarth
According to the claim, the plaintiffs accuse the feds of not maintaining and protecting the "public trust," or the Earth's natural resources. The teens are not telling the federal government how to do its job, but rather to do its job, which they say is to protect, preserve, and restore the atmosphere to balance.
If the government does not take action, "our children and our children's children will suffer," the claim states.
For more than 200 years, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels have caused an increase in atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping gases. It's these gases that prevent heat from escaping the Earth, thus making it rapidly and unsuitably warm. Sea levels are rising, oceans are warming, and glaciers are melting -- all because of human-induced global warming.
"Human lives are already being lost because our federal government has failed to address destruction of our natural resources," according to the claim.