Our Kids And Our Climate Deserve A Day in Court
Digital Day of Action: March 1, 2022
Day of Hashtags: #YouthvGovAK and #KidsNotCarbon and #HearOurYouthAK and #ClimateInOurCourts
Quick Talking Points:
- The Alaska Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Sagoonick v. State of Alaska was wrong. Alaska’s kids have the right to be heard by their courts!
- The Supreme Court is there to protect all Alaskans so why won’t it let Alaskan youth be heard?
- The climate crisis is getting worse and our state government is knowingly taking actions that contribute to this, harming our children.
- Our courts must act now to protect Alaska’s children from being harmed by the actions of their own state government!
- It is the job of Alaska’s courts to protect the constitutional rights of all Alaskans - including our children!
What is Happening & Why Take Action?
In 2017, 16 young Alaskans filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against their state government. In Sagoonick v. State of Alaska, the young plaintiffs asserted that Alaska’s fossil fuel energy policy, and the State-authorized fossil fuel development and ensuing greenhouse gas emissions that result, have caused and contributed to Alaska’s climate crisis, placing the youth plaintiffs in danger and harming their health, safety, homes, culture, and Native villages in violation of Alaska’s Constitution.
On January 28, 2022, in a split 3-2 decision, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled against the young plaintiffs, shutting the courthouse doors on these young Alaskans who are seeking to protect their constitutional right to a safe climate. On February 7th, the youth plaintiffs filed a petition for rehearing of their case, asking the Court to reconsider its decision and allow their case to go forward. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled on February 25th to deny the petition for rehearing. Now the young Alaskan plaintiffs and their attorneys are considering their next steps for securing legal protection of their constitutional right to a safe climate in Alaska.
This was not a landslide decision. Climate justice in Alaska’s courts is in sight!
The decision on January 28th was very narrow, with three justices ruling against the young plaintiffs and two justices dissenting, the latter two effectively ruling in favor of the youth. We need to tell Alaska’s courts NOW that it is their duty to hear the claims of young people who are being harmed by their own government. It is the duty of our courts to protect the constitutional rights of young Alaskans. Let the youth be heard!
By participating in this digital day of action, you’ll join Alaskans statewide who are expressing their solidarity with the young plaintiffs in Sagoonick v. State Alaska as they consider their next steps for holding the Alaska state government accountable for its role in causing and worsening the climate crisis.
Let’s act collectively on March 1st to demand climate justice in our courts! Your voice is important! Your friends’ voices are important. Spread the word!
How and When to Join the Digital Day of Action:
Some tips on shooting your video or photo message of support:
- Hold the phone horizontally, for landscape framing.
- Pay attention to surroundings and the background noise, if you have a favorite trail or place outside with a great view, that would make a perfect location. Minimize background noise and movement: people walking in and out of the background, cars driving by, or feet tromping through the snow.
- You don't need to walk and talk, be still. This helps minimize loud breathing and background noise. Make sure the camera holder (if second person) is as still as possible and not breathing into the mic.
- Ideally, you would be facing into the brighter side of the sky, so the camera/camera person has their back to the sun/light source. This ensures you are not a silhouette on camera. Make sure their shadow isn’t on you!
- Having trouble getting through your whole script? Short and sweet messages will be easier to remember and get in one take!
- The frame should come just a bit over your head, so your eyes are about ⅓ of the way down the screen. The bottom of the frame should end just above where your elbows are, or mid-torso.
When to get your content out:
- If you would like to be part of a larger video project, please get us your videos or photos by Monday at 11 am AKT. You can send them directly to [email protected]
- If you would like to use your social platforms to support this (which we encourage) please feel free to share out your images or videos on March 1 using the following hashtags: #YouthvGovAK and #KidsNotCarbon and #HearOurYouthAK we also encourage you to reshare our posts that day!
Signage or Social Post Short Text:
- A safe climate is a constitutional right.
- It’s time our laws protect our people and not just our oil.
- Our Youth Deserve to have a Future in our state.
- Our Kids and our Climate deserve their day in court.
- Alaska's Courts: Hear Our Youth!
- Climate Justice for Alaska’s Youth!
- We grew up in climate crises. Let them grow in climate justice
- The fight for climate justice in Alaska’s courts is not over!
Simple Shareables for Your Social
Short Script Ideas for Video
Feel free to use your own voice and share your unique perspective!!
In 2017, 16 Alaska Youth filed a lawsuit asserting that Alaska’s fossil fuel energy policy, and the State-authorized fossil fuel development and ensuing greenhouse gas emissions that result, have caused and contributed to Alaska’s climate crisis, placing the youth plaintiffs in danger and harming their health, safety, homes, culture, and Native villages in violation of Alaska’s Constitution. In January, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled three-to-two against these young Alaskans, shutting the courthouse doors on them and denying them the opportunity to be heard by our courts.
In the five years since they filed their case, climate catastrophe after catastrophe has riddled our state. When will the future of young Alaskans be a priority? When will our youth be heard? The Courts are the only branch that can decide whether we have a right to a liveable climate. The fight for climate justice in Alaska’s court is not over. We demand climate justice in our courts TODAY.
A safe climate is a constitutional right and our courts must listen to our youth. As Alaskans, we are at the frontline of this climate crisis. Young Alaskans have lived their whole lives knowing the climate reality and they deserve to have opportunities to live and thrive in our state and imagine a future for themselves here.
Unless we start recognizing the roles of our policies and our extractive industries in this climate crisis, our young people won’t have a viable future here. We are in a climate crisis and it is time our courts protect the rights of our youth, not just our oil. We demand climate justice in our courts TODAY.
The Court and Climate Timeline 2017-Now
- October 2017- Youth file lawsuit demanding that courts protect their constitutional rights, ending government actions that cause the climate crisis and harm Alaska’s children
- January 2018- Alaska has its warmest December on record.
- February 2018- no ice at all observed in the Bering Strait.
- March 2019- Open Water along Iditarod trail.
- June 2019- Swan Lake fire burned 170K acres.
- July 2019 Alaska temps 20-30 degrees above average temps. July 4th all-time high temps set across the state.
- July 2019- warming oceans kill salmon before they can spawn.
- August 2019-McKinley fire burns 3k + acres.
- September 2019- Massive seabird die-off in Bristol Bay.
- November 2019- residents of Newtok relocate because of erosion.
- January 2020- Swan Lake fire discovered still burning.
- August 2020- Southeast salmon harvest worst on record.
- September 2020- Arctic sea ice cover lowest since modern record-keeping.
- December 2020- Cook Inlet Oil Spill-8000 gallons.
- September 2021- Massive seabird die-off in Bering Strait.
- December 2021- The highest recorded temperature in Kodiak 67 degrees.
- January 2022- Loss of 718K square miles of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean.
- January 28, 2022: Court Denies Young Alaskans Access to Justice- 3:2 decision.
- February 7, 2022: Petition for Rehearing Filed.
- TODAY- You can take action to let the Supreme Court know: Our youth deserve a voice. Our climate deserves a chance.