Listen in at Oregon Country Fair in July 2018, at the Community Village Stage. Our Children’s Trust and the youth plaintiffs who are suing the federal government for the fundamental right to a livable planet speak about the upcoming rally at the courthouse. Hear comments by the plaintiffs, by the community engagement manager of Our Children’s Trust, and an interview with Kelsey Juliana, the lead plaintiff.
Our Children’s Trust at OCF July 2018
Transcription by Jade Rainsong
Being aware is not enough. If you’re aware you have the responsibility to take action, and if you see that your actions are not making enough results, you need to figure out a way to do more. So that’s my challenge to you today.
(Kelsey:) Hi everyone, I just want everyone to have a second to breathe, just take a little breath for me, because the reality is in this time we just all need to listen to some music, we can get out a little angst, we can get our funk out, and just breathe because this stuff that we’re doing can be a little bit daunting and can be a little bit scary.
(Kelsey:) You know, we got this request from Judge Akin on Friday at 4:57 and we’re gonna be in court Wednesday at 2:00. Do you know what? That’s okay, because we’re in this together and it’s things like this that build community and it’s things like this that get us in the courtroom and you and the streets and you and the courtroom and us in the streets and it keeps it going. So I just want to say thank you everyone I grew up in this village.
I used to tell jokes on the stage with Frog and it means so much to have the fair come out and support this amazing work. This is a Federal case. There are people who are inspired by this and following legal actions in their countries around the world: Philippines, Bangladesh, India, Canada, and yet, this case is happening 30 minutes from here. You have the opportunity to be in the courtroom watching history in the making. How amazing is that? Is that logic? Because they’re out there and Country Fair and I heard something called Fair magic. So anyways, bring your magic. Thank you.
So anyways, thank you all for being here. We really want to see you in the courtroom on October 29. And you know, I started this work when I was 15 years old by suing the governor of Oregon. I remember when I was maybe 16, 17 a judge told me “at the end of the day what I hear at the dining room table from my granddaughter about her concerns about the work that her friends are doing as young people to make sure that their voice and their issues are represented in front of government, that does matter.”
So you showing up matters and that is what we have been told from the judge. So please show up. October 29th is the first day of several weeks eight to ten weeks of trial but this Wednesday you can be there in the courtroom with us Wednesday at 2 p.m. Get there early, and let’s do this.
Next I’d like to introduce you to Jacob from just down the road in Roseburg.
(Jacob:) Hi everybody, I’m Jacob. I started this lawsuit, or I joined this lawsuit, when a company from Jordan Cove wanted to build a natural gas pipeline. Anyone of you heard of Jordan Cove? Okay. You need to look it up. This is going through Oregon. And it’s mostly southern Oregon but it affects all of us all of our Rivers.
It will be the biggest climate emissions polluter in the state of Oregon if it is built and it will basically counteract everything that we’re trying to build in Oregon. And so that’s why it was actually crossing about a mile out from my family farm and that’s how I first got involved to fight this pipeline and then I realize that these pipelines are happening all over the United States and that our government was actively abetting and supporting and subsidizing these industries.
And so that’s a little about about how I joined. I live on an organic farm close to Oregon, about 600 acres of beautiful wild lands and orchards and gardens. And so nature and protecting the environment has been a very dear value of mine all throughout my childhood and growing up. I’m so thankful to Cynthia for bringing us here.
Thank you to the Oregon Country Fair for supporting us. It’s very. Somewhat rare unfortunately that you have such a large gathering and it’s an enormous opportunity have such a large gathering of people that deeply care about these values and that are so aware of the value of protecting the environment protecting our common planet but being aware is not enough. If you’re aware, you have the responsibility to take action.
And if you see that your actions are not making enough results. You need to figure out a way to do more. So that’s my challenge to you today. I know you guys are all aware of this. I know you guys care about this, and so we all need to step up to the plate because we’re living in very in very troubling times. But at the same time it’s a really great opportunity for all of us. So thank you for being here today. Thanks.”
Okay, everybody. We need to get a nice warm Oregon welcome to a very special young woman that came all the way from Louisiana to be with us here today. That’s Jaden.
(Jaden:) Hi, my name is Jaden, and I’m from Louisiana. And I think this climate just being here is very important for me because in Louisiana I joined this case when I was around 10, 12 years old because that was two years after the BP oil spill happened, where in the Gulf of Mexico where I live I live by the south I live in Southern, Louisiana and brain, Louisiana and country has always been a part of the problem here because there’s one not always we recently had flooding and more and more. Ah, sorry, we’ve been having more and more flooding in Louisiana and frequent flood warnings. Every time when it rains really hard we get we get alerts on our phones and everybody still traumatized from the flood in last August.
So I think it’s very important cuz I wanted to show that no matter where you’re from. If you’re from Oregon or from Louisiana where were very conservative where everybody is a trump supporter and so like that you can still fight you can still believe in what you want to believe in and even if you’re a little even if you’re young or too young to be doing this, you can have your own opinion and you can speak out and that’s why I think it’s important for me to be here and for all of you guys to be listening. Thank you very much.
Okay, we have another special guest right here from Eugene, Oregon, and that is Avery.
(Avery:) Hi. I joined this lawsuit when I was about 10 and at that time I was very… I’ve been concerned about climate change and the effects that it’s had mostly on animals. I’ve grown up an only child and so like I’ve spent a lot of time with my pets and animals my backyard and so I was always kind of concerned. And then when I was about 10, I was asked if I wanted to be part of the federal lawsuit and I didn’t really know what that meant, so I was a little…just not knowing and so I accepted and here we are 3 years later, but I mean it definitely has been the best decision of my life because like I’ve met so many incredible people I didn’t know like we’re even out there, but now I do, and I know that there’s they’re not the only ones so yeah. This lawsuit has been pretty incredible.
So yeah, we are hoping that you guys will come to the courthouse on Wednesday. We really need as many people as we can.“
(Cynthia:) Before they Meander down to spoken word, which can take a long time if it’s up here if they’re as you well know. I wanted to remind you one more time that we brought Our Children’s Trust to the Fair not only because it exemplifies our commitment to the environment, but we are the 50th anniversary task force and instead of reliving the past which we want honor and review the 50th Anniversary task force decided to leap forward. We need to go to the future and its representative by youth and they are going to take us to where we need to go and that includes every young face here. It’s just not people really old like me.
You have to commit. You really do. It’s the kids from Parkland High School and Parkland. That’s kids everywhere. It is your job. You just can’t be satisfied to go about your life. When you walk out of these gates. You have to help. It’s beyond this fair and you have to stay at it because as it’s pointed out over and over again, these are very perilous times in every way. Our National Parks are at stake, our oceans are at stake, the Arctic is at stake. Everything is at stake and we have to do it now and I can’t tell you how much I love you and hope for you and we’re going to support you every way we can. Which includes if you know people with money they can give it to our children’s trust tax-free. It’s a non-profit foundation, you can even send them five dollars and we’re going to be working to raise significant money for them, hopefully, and their costs on an annual basis are big. They’re bringing plaintiffs in from all over the country. They have expert witnesses. This is not a small deal to sue Donald Trump and the Department of Justice. So, thank you very much.
Big round of applause for Cynthia. She’s been amazing and getting us here and getting us these venues and getting all of the Oregon Country Fair to support us. So again, you guys you can find us on Wednesday at the Federal Courthouse. You can find us on Facebook and follow along there. There’s an event page for a trial. We’re going to be having rallies all over the country on the first day of trial.
So if you’re here visiting, but you live somewhere else they’ll be ways to plug in going forward. Thank you so much.
(Karen:) Hey Kelsey, when you have a minute can we interview you for Fair Family Radio?
So Kelsey, you’re one of the plaintiffs in this incredible, Just this trial is amazing and it’s going it’s a federal trial. I heard you saying up there on stage all about how this is like the most important trial of probably our lifetimes and it’s happening right here in Eugene. That’s so exciting.
(Kelsey:) Yeah. It’s really amazing. This is a phenomenal federal case that is happening in small Eugene, you know and every time we go to court you get to witness it in the Eugene courthouse.
(Karen:) And do you have any idea why they just sprung this on you last minute that you have to suddenly go to this trial next week? Is this just more shenanigans or what’s going on?
(Kelsey:) Yeah, you know, I think it is basically the defendants have been putting on us as many legal tactics as they can to either delay or completely dismiss this trial. And the reality is that they’ve since we first filed in August of 2015, they been attempting to dismiss this case on, you know standing, and we’ve won every time we’ve gone to court, you know, we do have a right to hear this case. Yeah, and so once we got confirmation from 2 judges including the highest federal district judge in this Courthouse, you know they then have been just trying to implement other delay tactics like the writ of mandamus and I think that this is oral arguments hearing where we’re a little bit….I’m not sure why I know that my lawyers like, you know, it’s very last minute, right and it’s actually I’m not necessarily sure if it’s the defendants but rather judge Ann Aiken who’s wanting to really actually start looking at the merits of the case and figuring out what legal arguments we are even going to bring to trial. Yeah, and so we’re just going to be doing that work on Wednesday, which is very short notice.
(Karen:) Right. Well, thank you so much for doing this work. And how did you get involved? You said you got involved really young and what drew you into this?
(Kelsey:) I got involved… Well, I got involved in climate work when I was 10. I was in fifth grade and I grew up with parents who very fortunate to have grown up in a family that you know spoke about climate change from just dinner conversation and we talked about, you know, what it means to be a considerate person for the planet and people. And a really important part of this case is we were talking about climate change
I mean that’s an environmental catastrophe but the effects are very much on society, not just animals and natural systems. And so when we talk about this case, this is a constitutional rights violation case.”
(Karen:) So you as young people have a right, we all have a right, but you’re fighting for our right in court for a clean healthy climate, a livable climate for the entire human race and every living system on the planet.
(Kelsey:) No, we are we are this is this is so much about every facet of society. It’s about the endangered species and it’s also about, you know, our health. I mean can we safely, you know, live in community without toxic water and toxic air? And really climate change affects every facet of our social and natural systems.
And so what we’re doing in court is advocating and fighting and really trying to up ensure that our rights that are already guaranteed are granted to us are upheld. But this case is so intersectional and intergenerational, and that intergenerational part is through the public trust, right? We are we are asking that the courts recognize that atmosphere this all-encompassing system, that truly everything underneath is connected to. We’re asking that the courts recognize that as something that needs to be protected for this generation and every generation down the line to help the public trust.
(Karen:) Fantastic, great work. We’re so happy you’re here. And is there one last closing thing that you want to say for everybody to hear about that they should know how they can plug in or what you need from the public?
(Kelsey:) What I would say is that everyone who’s on this case is on this case because we are speaking on behalf of ourselves and we are advocating for our needs. And we are using the courts as one medium of utilizing our voice and and demanding the future that we want to have a we have a right to have. But anyone can do what they can to do the same thing anyone can speak up and utilize what medium they can whether it be through radio, whether it be through music as we heard Kiran on stage, you know, he writes about these issues and he writes demanding action from others.
So take action, whatever that means whatever that, however that speaks to you. You know, I’ve heard almost half the shows I’ve heard at this Fair, I’ve heard people say ‘do what you can to do good.’ You know, this is how I’m taking action. I’ve heard musical acts talking about our indigenous rights and our natural rights and are you know, social rights. And it’s really inspiring to see people truly kind of doing what we’re doing and what we hope everyone to do– just take a stand however that feels right for you and however you access to do so right on fight for what you can.
(Karen:) And how old are you Kelsey?
(Karen:) Wow. You’ve been at this long time. Thank you on behalf of everybody.
(Kelsey:) Thank you so much, Karen and Fair Family Radio.
(Cynthia:) “…Clear environment and saving this environment and planning it for other people into the world and they’re very thankful all of us and you have an obligation to go back into the community and do the same thing.
And one of those ways is going to be to support them. You’ll hear more about it. But just quickly before you get a legal update and you hear from these plaintiffs their ages 8 to 21. They’re 21 plaintiffs.They’re based in Eugene. They are our people that they’ve come together all over the country.
Their lead counsel is from Eugene. Corey, staff attorney and communication directors from Eugene. They are our people and we have to support them. You have a job.With that, I think turn it over to Corey so he can give you a legal update and introduce the plaintiffs. We love them and I’m going to come back to you and maybe some do something out in the world to them.One last thing, and Corey is going to beat it down on you. About 10 days ago the Trump Administration, the Department of Justice, filed a meaningless hearing demanding that they go to a trial unexpectedly, a hearing, excuse me, on Wednesday. July 18th, that’s this Wednesday. They need people to show up at the federal courthouse. But you know what?One o’clock, Federal Courthouse, surprise hearing, it is really important, but guess what else happened? Friday night, this past Friday night, the Department of Justice, the Trump Administration
filed for summary judgment– meaning to get rid of the entire case –after all this time. They’ve been winning, winning, winning. They want to slam down, get rid of them forever. The federal circuit court judge accepted the summary judgment for no reason at all. So next Wednesday we have to show up because they could be trying to get rid of the entire case which goes to trial for real October 29th this year.so we can’t let them think that we don’t care.Next Wednesday. You’ll hear more.Bye. ”
(Corey:) “Thank you so much Cynthia. Like Cynthia said, my name is Corey. I’m the community engagement manager with Our Children’s Trust. I just want to give you a couple seconds background on this case, but like Cynthia mentioned,We have a big, big, big hearing here in Eugene on Wednesday, July 18th, just next week. And we want to see everybody out there. We want to pack the courtrooms. We want to everybody cheering for the plaintiffs when they show up there and they walk in the doors for a two o’clock hearing. We are meeting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. So these people right here, these amazing young people, they’re suing for your right to a safe and stable climate system
This case is about a transportation energy system that’s been formed and perpetuated this country for several decades and they’ve done that knowing that burning those fossil fuels was going to hurt your future. These plaintiffs are not asking for money. They’re just asking for the court to order the executive branch to put in place a recovery plan so we can stabilize our climate.And guess what? Like Cynthia said, they’ve been successful so far.
Judge Ann Aiken,here in Eugene, two days after the after Trump was elected on November 10, 2016 said‘You do have a fundamental right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life.’ That’s the first time ever in American jurisprudence that fundamental right has been articulated by the court. It’s a big deal and it’s sent us to trial.Trial is set for October 29th of this year right here in Eugene. That means the trial of the century is going to happen in your backyard, but the defendants, they of course do not want this trial to happen. That’s why they file these motions. They are trying to get the trial the case kicked out before trial can start.
So it’s really important that we all come out on Wednesday, and we show the judge, we show the federal government,we show everybody else that we care. So make some art. Come see us at the front porch at 2:30 and come see us on Wednesday at the federal courthouse.Now without further ado, I’m really happy to introduce Kiran, who’s gonnaget us started with a song of his own and then you’ll get to meet the rest of the plaintiffs. Thank you.”
(Kiran) “He asked will you help students take that I don’t know what that means. But I think I like to try cuz I’m worried about the pipeline’s across the river…”