Who Has the Youth, Has The Future, Part II (Kids vs. Global Warming Goes to Court)

17 year-old Alec Loorz and a handful of other young people are suing the government. A whole bunch of federal agencies and many states. The legal theory behind the cases is at once common-sense and quite novel: The atmosphere is a “public trust” for future generations, and protecting it is an obligation to future generations.

“The legislative and executive branches of our government have failed us,” Alec said in a recent interview with the New York Times. People have been trying to push for real change at the legislative level for a long time, and nothing has worked. That’s why we’re going after it through the judicial branch of government.”

Before diving my take on how these suits are are connected to the two Supreme Court cases that address emissions of greenhouse gasses, the EPA’s authority over regulating this under the Clean Air Act, and the calls for eviscerating the EPA by GOP leaders in Congress, and politicians seeking the GOP presidential nomination, here are two videos introducing Alec — one when he was 13, and the other last year, when he was 16. (The first is 9 minutes long, and the second one almost 8 minutes. Stay with them if you have the time; it’s worth it.)


Alec Loorz at 13:


Alec Loorz at 16, being introduced by James Hansen:




About Scott Brophy
Scott Brophy is a philosophy professor whose work is focused on the intersection of philosophy and public policy, especially on environmental issues, law, and education. He has also taught philosophy of science, logic, and the history of philosophy. He has served as a consultant for educational programs and schools throughout the U.S. and abroad, and as an adviser to several philanthropic foundations.

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