Young Evangelical Activists Face a Key Climate Barrier: Their Elders

By Bekah McNeel
August 23, 2023

In the year 2050, when today’s 3-year-olds will be 30-year-olds, climate scientists expect the height of the slowly unfolding climate disaster to have arrived. The specifics vary slightly, but most experts warn that some regions will face extreme drought while others are entirely flooded with sea level rise. Dangerous heat and humidity — as some regions of the U.S. have faced this summer — combined with poor air quality will make it dangerous to be outside for a growing portion of the year in many places.

That bleak future was at the heart of a history-making win for young climate activists, as a Montana judge ruled earlier this month that the state has violated the 16 youth plaintiffs’ constitutional rights. The judge found that by allowing the fossil fuel industry to operate without concern for the effect of greenhouse gas emissions, the state was violating the youth’s right to a clean and healthful environment, which in turn denied them their rights to equal protection, dignity, liberty, health and safety, and public trust.

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