13 Youths 'in a Position of Danger' Sue Washington State Over Climate Crisis
By Andrea Germanos
A group of 13 youths have filed a lawsuit against the State of Washington for breaching its constitutional and Public Trust obligations.
Why? Failure to act on climate change.
In their suit (pdf), filed Friday in King County Superior Court, the plaintiffs, aged seven to 17, say the state, Gov. Jay Inslee, and several state agencies have created and propped up fossil fuel-based energy and transportation systems, thereby fueling greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and the climate crisis. In so doing, they have created "unconstitutional conditions"—depriving the young people of their rights to a healthful and pleasant environment, and their rights to life, liberty and property.
The climate-fueling actions, the suit says, have put the young people "in a position of danger with deliberate indifference to their safety in a manner that shocks the conscience."
The state's current GHG reduction limits "are not consistent with what the scientific consensus says is needed to stabilize the climate system," the suit states. Rather than take action to address climate change, the suit says the state and the agencies "have acted with shocking deliberate indifference and abdication of duty to address this crisis." That's despite fact that the defendants were aware of the impacts of the climate crisis "[s]ince at least the late 1980s, well before these plaintiffs were born."
The youths were forced to bring the suit "because the fossil fuel-based energy and transportation system created, supported, and operated by the defendants, and the systematic, affirmative aggregate actions which make up and support that system, severely endangers plaintiffs and their ability to grow to adulthood safely and enjoy the rights, benefits, and privileges of past generations of Washingtonians due to the resulting climate change."
The suit lists the specific dangers the climate crisis is causing the plaintiffs.
For 17-year-old James, for example, a member of the Quinault Indian Nation, his coastal village of Taholah has to be relocated because of sea level rise. "This critical loss of his place-based heritage, a heritage that dates back to time immemorial, is irreplaceable, and permanent," the suit states. The traditional clamming activities he takes part in are also becoming limited because of climate change impacts including algal blooms, ocean acidification, and warming waters. Increasingly severe storms have also had an impact on his family, causing power outages. All these impacts, the suit says, are causing mental and emotional stress, and without meaningful action to address the climate crisis, the impacts are set to worsen.
A plan for state-level energy and transportation systems that support a healthy climate system is feasible, the suit says:
"A zero-CO2 energy and transportation system for Washington state can be achieved by 2050 without acquiring carbon credits from other states or countries. In other words, actual physical emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels can be eliminated with technologies that are now available or under development.
Experts have already concluded the feasibility of, and prepared a roadmap for, the transition of all of Washington's energy use (for electricity, transportation, heating/cooling, and industry) to a 100 percent renewable energy system by 2050. In addition to the direct benefits of avoiding a destabilized climate system, this transition will reduce air pollution and save lives and costs associated with air pollution.
Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Aji Piper, for one, is optimistic.
"I feel hopeful because of this lawsuit, like grass tips emerging from thawing snow. This is my state government's chance to rise up and take responsibility for their actions. This is also a chance for my government to use real science in the policy they create. This lawsuit gives the Washington state government a chance to take the lead and commit to the citizens it serves and the lives it must protect," he said in a statement.
The lawsuit is being supported by the Oregon-based nonprofit Our Children's Trust, which has other similar state-level legal actions underway as well as the landmark Juliana v. United States, in which Aji Piper is also a plaintiff.
A trial date for the new lawsuit, Aji P. v. State of Washington, is set for Feb. 19, 2019.
Historic Youth Climate Lawsuit Against Trump Poised to Advance https://t.co/qXYZXUwKg6 @OpenSecretsDC @DeSmogBlog @SunFoundation— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1513126206.0
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
By Andrea Germanos
Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska's Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened "lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem" and death to the area's Indigenous culture.
<div id="da98c" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="478a197b7c59c92787c92bec92f1ac39"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1331662923710693376" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Bristol Bay forever, Pebble mine never. #NoPebbleMine #SaveBristolBay https://t.co/CBQ9zuy8A5</div> — Save Bristol Bay (@Save Bristol Bay)<a href="https://twitter.com/SaveBristolBay/statuses/1331662923710693376">1606328156.0</a></blockquote></div>
- Pebble Mine Threatens One of the Last Great Salmon Rivers ... ›
- The Pebble Mine Is Too Toxic Even for the Trump Administration ... ›
- Trump Admin Reverses Obama-Era Restrictions on Pebble Mine ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
OlgaMiltsova / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Gwen Ranniger
In the midst of a pandemic, sales of cleaning products have skyrocketed, and many feel a need to clean more often. Knowing what to look for when purchasing cleaning supplies can help prevent unwanted and dangerous toxics from entering your home.
1. Fragrance – Avoid It<p>One of the fastest ways to narrow down your product options is immediately eliminating any product that promotes a fragrance, or parfum. That scent of "fresh breeze" or lemon might initially smell good, but the fragrance does not last. What does last? The concoction of various undisclosed and unregulated chemicals that created that fragrance.</p><p>Many fragrances contain phthalates, which are linked to many health risks including reproductive problems and cancer.</p>
2. With Bleach? Do Without<p>Going scent-free should have narrowed down your options substantially – now, check the front of the remaining packaging. Any that include ammonia or chlorine bleach ought to go, as these substances are irritating and corrosive to your body. While bleach is commonly known as a powerful disinfectant, there are safer alternatives that you can use in your home, such as sodium borate or hydrogen peroxide.</p><p>While you're at it, check if there are any warnings on the label – "flammable," "use in ventilated area," etc. – if the product is hazardous, that's a red flag and should be avoided.</p>
3. Check the Back Label<p>Flip to the back of the remaining contenders and check out that ingredient list. Less is more, here. Opt for a shorter ingredient list with words you recognize and/or can pronounce.</p><p>You may notice many products do not have ingredient lists – while this doesn't necessarily mean they contain toxic ingredients, transparency is key. Feel free to look up a list online, or stick to products that are open about their ingredients.</p>
4. Ingredients to Avoid<p>We already mentioned that cleaners containing fragrance or parfum, and bleach or ammonia should be avoided, but there are other ingredients to look out for as well.</p><ul><li>Quaternary ammonium "quats" – lung irritants that contribute to asthma and other breathing problems. Also linger on surfaces long after they've been cleaned.</li><li>Parabens – Known hormone disruptor; can contribute to ailments such as cancer</li><li>Triclosan – triclosan and other antibacterial chemicals are registered with the EPA as pesticides. Triclosan is a known hormone disruptor and can also impact your immune system.</li><li>Formaldehyde – Causes irritation of eyes, nose, and throat; studies suggest formaldehyde exposure is linked with certain varieties of cancer. Can be found in products or become a byproduct of chemical reactions in the air.</li></ul>
Cleaning Products and Toxics: The Bottom Line<p>Do your research. There are many cleaning products available, but taking these steps will drastically reduce your options and help keep your home toxic-free. Protecting your home from bacteria and viruses is important, but make sure you do so in a way that doesn't introduce other health risks into the home.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.ehn.org/how-to-shop-for-cleaning-products-while-avoiding-toxics-2648130273.html" target="_blank">Environmental Health News</a>. </em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649054624#/" target="_self"></a></p>
JasonOndreicka / iStock / Getty Images
Twenty-five years ago, a food called Tofurky made its debut on grocery store shelves. Since then, the tofu-based roast has become a beloved part of many vegetarians' holiday feasts.
By Jessica Corbett
A leading environmental advocacy group marked Native American Heritage Month on Wednesday by urging President-elect Joe Biden, Vice President-elect Kamala Kamala Harris, and the entire incoming administration "to honor Indigenous sovereignty and immediately halt the Keystone XL, Dakota Access, and Line 3 pipelines."
- Climate Crisis: What We Can Learn From Indigenous Traditions ... ›
- 10 Organizations Honoring Native People on Thanksgiving ... ›
- Biden Vows to Ax Keystone XL if Elected - EcoWatch ›
Returning the ‘Three Sisters’ – Corn, Beans and Squash – to Native American Farms Nourishes People, Land and Cultures
By Christina Gish Hill
Historians know that turkey and corn were part of the first Thanksgiving, when Wampanoag peoples shared a harvest meal with the pilgrims of Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts. And traditional Native American farming practices tell us that squash and beans likely were part of that 1621 dinner too.