Thursday, July 13, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley led 13 Senators in the introduction of a resolution to protect the fundamental rights of the nation’s children to a safe, habitable environment in the face of climate chaos’ increasingly destructive effects.
This resolution is also cosponsored by Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Peter Welch (D-VT).
The resolution was also introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA-07).
The Children’s Fundamental Rights and Climate Recovery Resolution recognizes that the current climate crisis disproportionately affects the health, economic opportunity, and fundamental rights of children, and demands that the United States develop a national, comprehensive, science-based, and just climate recovery plan to meet necessary emissions reduction targets. This resolution comes as a group of young Americans, including Oregonians, are pursuing action through the landmark climate case Juliana v. United States.
“Every child around the world deserves a healthy and prosperous future, but this reality is threatened by the increase of climate disasters, including catastrophic wildfires, extreme hurricanes, and frequent heat waves and droughts,” said Merkley, a member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. “I applaud the young activists in Oregon and elsewhere who are taking matters into their own hands with immediate and decisive steps to stand up for themselves and future generations, address the climate crisis, and tackle environmental injustice.”
This landmark push for climate rights aligns with the historic civil rights movement, which is once again being led by the nation’s courageous youth. In Brown v. Board of Education, children fought for their constitutional rights and sought a court order to desegregate schools. The plaintiffs in Juliana v. United States are similarly fighting for their constitutional rights to a safe climate, so that their generation and future generations can flourish. An additional parallel is evident as today’s youth demand racial justice and environmental justice, two issues especially intertwined given the disproportionate impact of climate chaos on Black, Indigenous, people of color, and frontline youth communities.
The lawmakers’ resolution affirms a steadfast commitment to the principles underpinning Juliana v. United States, the landmark constitutional climate lawsuit brought by 21 young Americans, and youth climate organization Earth Guardians, who are suing the executive branch of the federal government for creating a national energy system that causes climate change.
Senate resolution text can be found here.