Bill Moyers and the Children’s Crusade

By Jim Carey

While new polls show that two thirds of Americans support the United States joining a binding international agreement in Paris to curb growth of greenhouse gas emissions, the Republican House and Senate just approved resolutions disapproving of policies put forward by the Environmental Protection Agency to limit carbon emissions at new and existing power plants. Without a doubt there is a total disconnect between this fossil-fueled, lobbied Congress and what the vast majority of scientists are telling us about climate change.

Film
Bill Moyers and the Children’s Crusade
Mon, Dec 14, 1pm
At Occupy San Miguel Meeting
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Loreto 15
No charge

The G20 governments spend 500 billion dollars annually to support that fossil fuel industry. The only hope is that Americans will force our government to take a serious look at the work of Mark Zachary Jacobson, the professor and director of Stanford’s Atmosphere and Energy Program. He and his colleagues have developed detailed proposals for converting the energy infrastructures of New York, California, and Washington states to 100 percent wind, water, and solar power by 2050. Recently, they have expanded their work to a 50-state plan which is posted on the website of The Solutions Project. Imagine what could be accomplished with 500 million dollars annually!

The children of the United States are imagining just that. Since 2011, children from 8 to 18 years old have been filing lawsuits under Our Children’s Trust. At the heart of these lawsuits is the “doctrine of public trust,” which states that the government is the trustee of the natural resources that support our survival. The beneficiaries of this trust—which cherishes the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we live on—are the present and future generations. These young people believe that the Constitution guarantees the inalienable right of citizens to clean air, pure water, and the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic, and esthetic values of the environment. This “doctrine of public trust” is inherent in the social contract that governments make with their citizens.

This “atmospheric trust litigation” is outlined in University of Oregon law professor Mary Christina Wood’s book, Nature’s Trust—Environmental Law for a New Ecological Age. The demand is to bring down carbon emissions to avert catastrophic climate change. The remedy is to have the court order and sanction the legislatures (local, state, and federal) to do their constitutional job now before we pass the crucial tipping point of the planet’s destruction.

Her interview with Bill Moyers brings to mind what Reinhold Niebuhr said: “Nothing that is worth doing can be achieved in our lifetime; therefore, we must be saved by hope. Nothing which is true or beautiful or good makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore, we must be saved by faith. Nothing we do, however virtuous, can be accomplished alone; therefore, we must be saved by love.” Join the discussion. Our events are free.

 

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