Bill Moyers and the Children’s Crusade

By Jim Carey

Another of thousands of studies was released two weeks ago in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study, led by Rutgers University earth scientist Robert E. Kopp, noted that the “worsening of tidal flooding in American coastal communities is largely a consequence of greenhouse gases, primarily from the burning of fossil fuels. Oceans are rising at the fastest rate in 2,800 years, making life miserable in places like Miami Beach, Charleston, SC, and Norfolk, VA. The findings are yet another indication that the stable climate in which human civilization has flourished for thousands of years, with a largely predictable ocean permitting the growth of great coastal cities, is coming to an end.”

Meeting and Film
Occupy SMA presents:
Bill Moyers and the Children’s Crusade
Mon, Mar 7, 1pm
Quinta Loreto Hotel
Loreto 15
No charge

Yet the G20 governments continue to spend 500 billion dollars annually to support that fossil fuel industry. These scientists are asking us to imagine what could be accomplished with 500 billion dollars annually on sustainable renewable energy sources. They added that “in the absence of human emissions, the ocean surface would be rising less rapidly and might even be falling.”

The children of the US and Mexico are imagining just that. Since 2011 dozens of teenagers 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 local, state, and federal legislatures 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 our discussion. Our events are free.

 

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