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Middle schoolers used as legal pawns to fight climate change

Eight middle school “climate activists” in Washington State are working in conjunction with the Western Environmental Law Center to sue the state “about why the state Department of Ecology should reduce carbon emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.”

If Washington fails to do this, they argue, it could lead to “intergenerational inequalities.”

Wow, only in their early teens and they already have contemporary college-speak down pat.

EAGnews.org reports:

The group petitioned the Department of Ecology for the change, but the department declined. The response prompted the lawsuit, and Hill ordered the Department of Ecology to reconsider, but the request was essentially ignored.

Gov. Jay Inslee intervened and held a conference with several of the students, who “asked him to direct Ecology to promulgate a rule,” Rogers said, and the governor later requested the department enforce the 2008 limits. But Rogers and company weren’t satisfied, and decided to press their case in court.

“The leadership needs to say, ‘We’re taking action that is grounded in science,’” Rodgers said. “Unless and until Ecology says that, then these kids will keep fighting.”

Assistant Attorney General Kay Shirey, who was representing the state, told the court Ecology is currently updating emissions rules, and argued that “eliciting the fundamental rights of future generations is legally immaterial,” Seattle Weekly reports.

Shirey also pointed out there’s no legal mandate for the state to listen to the kids, according to King 5.

Students, on the other hand, believe that if Washington doesn’t change its polluting ways, the world will flood.

“If we don’t do this, catastrophic things are going to happen,” 13-year-old Gabe Mandell argued. “I mean, cities are gonna be flooded, states are gonna be flooded, countries are gonna be flooded, Bangladesh is gonna be completely underwater, the ocean’s gonna be acidified. And climate change is going to cause a huge monetary downfall! There’s really no reason to be for climate change.”

Young Mandell added, “We’re going to live in this world. It’s our constitutional right to have clean air and clean water.”

He might want to ask his civics teacher about that last part.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.