Our Children's Trust

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Our Children's Trust (OCT) is an American nonprofit organization based in Oregon that has filed several lawsuits on behalf of youth plaintiffs against governments, arguing that they are infringing on the youths' rights to a stable climate system.[1][2][3][4]


Our Children's Trust, was created by attorney Julia Olson to help formulate legal cases that could be taken against states and the federal government that would charge them with mitigating climate change under the public trust doctrine.[5] Olson established the non-profit with advice and assistance from Mary Christina Wood, director of the Environmental and Natural Resources Law Program at the University of Oregon, who had been studying the concept of the public trust doctrine and established the idea of "Atmospheric Trust Litigation" to take legal action to make governments responsible for actions related to climate change.[6][5] Part of OCT's inspiration was from Oposa's work in the Philippines. Since 2011, OCT has been filing various state and federal lawsuits on behalf of youth, though most of these have been dismissed by courts, as courts generally have not ruled that access to a clean environment is a right that can be litigated against.[7][8][5] Such cases are also generally dismissed as lawsuits cannot be initiated by "generalized grievances", and require plaintiffs with standing to sue and can demonstrate concrete harm that the government has done, and that the courts can at least partially redress the harm by order of the court.[9] Further, cases cannot be brought to court if they deal with a "political question" which cannot be resolved by actions of Congress and the President.[9]

Juliana v. United States[edit]

Juliana, et al. v. United States of America, et al. is a lawsuit filed in 2015 that is being brought by 21 youth plaintiffs against the United States and several of its executive branch positions and officers, also formerly including President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama. The plaintiffs, represented by the non-profit organization Our Children's Trust, include Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the members of Martinez's organization Earth Guardians, and on behalf of future generations represented by climatologist James Hansen. Some fossil fuel and industry groups were also initially named as defendants but were later dropped by a judge at their request.

The lawsuit asserts that the government violated the youths' rights by allowing activities that harmed the climate and sought the government to adopt methods for reducing carbon dioxide emissions. The lawsuit is at the leading edge of an area of environmental law referred to as "atmospheric trust litigation", a concept based on the public trust doctrine and international responsibility related to the government's control over natural resources in the interest of public benefit. While previous lawsuits in a similar vein have been dismissed by U.S. Courts, Juliana v. United States gained attention in 2016 when U.S. District Court of Oregon Judge Ann Aiken upheld the idea that access to a clean environment was a fundamental right, allowing the case to proceed. Since then, the government has sought to dismiss the case for various concerns, which has delayed the case's hearing at the district court level. The case is currently awaiting rescheduling of the District Court trial following the Supreme Court's dismissal of the government's request to stay the trial.

This material has been copied from the first paragraph of the case's main article.

Lawsuits against US States[edit]

The following lawsuits have been filed by Our Children's Trust against some U.S. states:[10]


  1. ^ "Mission". Our Children's Trust. Retrieved 2018-11-13.
  2. ^ Powell, Andrea. "Meet the Kids Trying to Put the Government on Trial for Its Climate Policies". Pacific Standard. Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  3. ^ "Our Children's Trust Climate Case Delay – Eugene Weekly". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  4. ^ "Our Children's Trust Case Still Delayed, May Be Appealed – Eugene Weekly". Retrieved 2019-01-06.
  5. ^ a b c Powell, Andrea (October 29, 2018). "Meet The Kids Trying To Put The Government On Trial For Its Climate Policies". Pacific Standard. Retrieved November 18, 2018.
  6. ^ Wood, Mary Christina (2008). "Atmospheric Trust Litigation, in "Climate Change: A Reader" (2011)" (PDF). Carolina Academic Press.
  7. ^ Schwartz, John (October 23, 2018). "Young People Are Suing the Trump Administration Over Climate Change. She's Their Lawyer". The New York Times. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  8. ^ Scott, Katy (July 24, 2018). "Can 'climate kids' take on governments and win?". CNN. Retrieved October 23, 2018.
  9. ^ a b Epps, Garrett (October 24, 2018). "The Government Is Trying to Silence 21 Kids Hurt by Climate Change". The Atlantic. Retrieved October 24, 2018.
  10. ^ "Pending State Actions". Our Children's Trust. Retrieved 2018-11-13.

External Links[edit]

Official website