Young people across the country to hold day of action on Saturday highlighting lawsuit as youth-driven climate movement grows
Students in Austin, Texas, want you to veg out. Kids in Westport, Connecticut will screen a film. And in rural North Carolina, activists will draw on a toxic spill to commemorate the environmental justice movement.
All of these rallies will be part of an international campaign on Saturday to spotlight environmental issues. Their message: I Am Juliana.
The slogan refers to the landmark court case in Oregon in which 21 youths are suing the United States government over climate change.
Named for Kelsey Juliana, a 23-year-old activist and college student, the case was filed in 2015 and is headed back to court on Tuesday. The campaign to raise its profile dubbed #IAmJuliana or #AllEyesOnJuliana is the brainchild of Our Childrens Trust, the organization behind the lawsuit, and Future Coalition, the not-for-profit network forged to empower youth after the Parkland shooting.
Whats unique about the campaign is what it signals: the infrastructure behind the youth climate movement is growing, decentralizing, and gaining momentum, all while activists set sights on the 2020 election.
While Saturdays events are designed to raise the profile of the Juliana case, they double as training exercises. Offering speaking and organizing opportunities to young leaders, the aim is to build skills through press conferences, local actions and, yes, vegetarian picnics. Events take place in 100 American communities and in Italy, Nigeria and Pakistan.
Many of the groups tied to the effort are youth-led and recently galvanized over the urgency of climate action: US Youth Climate Strike, Sunrise Movement, Our Climate Voices. Other environmental groups supporting the effort, however, are well known, deeply resourced, and packed with adults who now see the kids as the vehicle for change: Greenpeace, Sierra Club, 350.org.