NEWPORT –– Newport High School junior Josue Sanchez fears his descendents won’t enjoy the same planet he and his peers do if climate change runs unchecked.
“This is a real issue,” said the 16-year-old. “If we don’t try to solve it, it might be too late.”
“Perhaps my great-great-grandchildren won’t be able to enjoy the park,” he said. “I want people to be more informed about recycling and putting out less waste.”
His fellow student, Noelle Vertner, agreed.
“Future generations aren’t going to have the same earth to live on,” she said. “Everybody needs to start taking it more seriously.”
Sentiments like these prompted the pair and a half dozen others to stand on the corner, signs waving as motorists honked their car horns as they drove by.
The small group of local activists took to the intersection of Highway 101 and Highway 20 in Newport Sunday to rally in support of the children in the now three-year-old case Juliana vs. United States, brought against the Obama administration in 2015 to sue the federal government for inaction on climate change.
“I am in support of the lawsuit against the federal government,” said Cyndi Karp, a Waldport resident and city council candidate who organized the rally. “There is a lack of action on climate change.”
The lawsuit was brought against the government by the organization Our Children’s Trust, and lawyers from the organization are representing the 21 children in the case. At the time the lawsuit was filed, then-18-year-old Kelsey Juliana said the federal government’s actions curbing the effects of climate change result in “sustained exploitation and consumption of fossil fuels,” and the government “needs to immediately and aggressively reduce carbon emissions, and stop promoting fossil fuels, which force our nation’s climate system toward irreversible impacts.”
The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon on International Youth Day in 2015.
The trial was scheduled to begin on Monday, but the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay last Friday, temporarily postponing the beginning of the trial until a later date. Our Children’s Trust called for a nationwide rally at federal courthouses around the country to protest the delay over the weekend.
Absent a federal courthouse in Lincoln County, local activists settled for one of the most conspicuous spots in town to raise awareness and demonstrate their support of the kids in Juliana vs. United States.
“This is the most important issue we have right now,” said retired construction worker Jacqueline Danos. “This is the most important trial happening right now. I want to see this trial--there’s no disputing climate change.”