Utah youth group could save us all

Our Children’s Trust, a group of attorneys and parents of teenagers, has filed lawsuits in several states on behalf of their state’s young citizens claiming that “the state’s fossil fuel development policies serve no legitimate government interest but promote extraction over the broader public good.”  Utah is now one of the states where these lawsuits have been filed, joining Oregon, Montana, North Carolina, Washington, Alaska, Florida and Virginia.

A Salt Lake Tribune article on the lawsuit reports “One Utah plaintiff who enjoys sports and the outdoors, identified as Dallin R., said he experiences the impacts of poor air quality, excessive heat, drought and “the fear of living in an unrecognizable world.” Smoke from wildfires, which are proliferating in the West, is exacerbating his respiratory symptoms and keeping him indoors.

For an entire month in 2020, he was immobilized, unable to walk more than a few feet without losing his breath. He is also harmed by the lengthening allergies seasons, also driven by climate change.” 

Our youth deserve a brighter future than what they’re currently experiencing, and the legislature is on the wrong track, with plans to increase fossil fuel extraction through projects like the Inland Port and Uinta Basin Railway

UPHE provided pro bono consultation for the childrens’ attorneys, and we celebrate their efforts as well as the families that provided plaintiffs for the suit. The allegations in the lawsuits are correct. “The past and continuing development of Utah’s fossil fuels presents an existential threat to Utah’s youth.” The climate crisis is all too real, and casts a dark, dangerous shadow over the future for the world’s youth, including those in Utah. It is undeniably already causing widespread destruction from extreme weather events, rising sea levels, shrinking glaciers, increased wildfires,  mass migration of people, jeopardizing water resources and agricultural production in many places throughout the world, including Utah and the western U.S.. We salute Our Children’s Trust and are proud to have helped in the suit.

Read more about their lawsuit and efforts to improve the future here.

Smog rests over the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Today’s youth deserve clean air to breathe. Photo by E P Kosmicki