Why Youth Are Marching and Suing Over Climate Change Inaction

NWF   |   May 7, 2011

Starting today, and for the next week, young people throughout the world will be conducting a series of marches and demonstrations to assert their standing on the crucial threat of global climate change.  The IMatter March events are scheduled from May 7 to 14 in many places in the U.S. and in many international locations.

The message behind this effort is clear and compelling:  Since we will inherit this world, iMatter was created to reach across regional, ideological, and ethnic borders, to empower youth to organize, and be heard on the issue of global climate change. We are not only the generation who will suffer most from its consequences. We are also the generation who will bring about the change needed to create a sustainable and just society that values nature and future generations as much as short term interests.”

The Imatter March and the folks behind it, make the point that today’s generation of leaders should act as trustees for future generations instead of largely ignoring the problem and simply passing it on to those who will have to live with the consequences.  The IMatter March is an important step but is only one way young people are asserting their rights.  Youth climate activists in all 50 states and D.C. announced they are suing the U.S. government in order to create an “atmospheric trust,” arguing that public trust law should protect the atmosphere for people and future generations.

As a nation, Americans have always hoped to leave each generation a little better off than the one that came before.  But, the Imatter Team are letting us older folks know we are falling short in a way that will cause more harm than any parent would ever wish upon a child.   The IMatter impetus comes from 16-year old Alec Loorz who was the youngest graduate of former Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Project training.  NWF wrote the curriculum for the Gore trainings based on the Inconvenient Truth book and film and got to know Alec on his way to becoming so passionate about the need to protect the planet and give his generation a voice.  

To learn more, visit the Imatter March website and look through the many marches that are planned for May 7-14.  If you don’t see one near you, the Imatter Team asks you to consider organizing a march yourself – large or small.  The stakes on this one are very large indeed.

Published: May 7, 2011