The Teenager Suing the US Government over Climate Change

Denver International Airport Alaska terminal they head off to Eugene Oregon there’s no time to really just suit the American government I mean like 200 years overdue for suing the United States they’ve done a lot of terrible in last 20 years my name is Judas cotton Athene I’m a 15 year-old climate warrior spokesperson for my generation and I’m suing the United States government for violating my constitutional right to health the atmosphere when you see a headline of a newspaper that says you suing Obama or kids suing Obama or teenagers rallying to sue the president for climate change like that’ll get a lot of attention hello my name is your best couple Matthew I’m six year old boy my name is Jessica and I’m an 11 year old earth guardian they’ll have to listen to us they’ll have to make change I guess one of the differences you could say between me and her average trips in your own case that I’ve put every ounce of my existence and to pursuing that message I stand before you today representing my entire generation climate change is a human rights issue we need you to take action at cop21 before it’s too late who will stand with me now he was telling me that basically he is from the generation that has the most at stake in climate change the attention I’m getting around this movement is I mean the greatest thing that could happen ‘shit Eska has definitely been unusual since he was young when he was six in he saw the Leonardo DiCaprio movie the 11th hour he literally like cried all night and he said I need to talk to people and that was at six years old but I guess I’d never thought it would probably get to this level one of the most important things that has kind of influenced my life and my work is just connection to indigenous culture in my father’s culture in Aztec Mexico City the indigenous people in Mexico City the traditional language now walk my name’s shoot this cut means turquoise mirror and now watch well since I could walk I was learning the traditional dances since I could speak us learning the language of our people and with that just a lot of teachings of understanding that every little thing around us is alive and it’s vibrant and that is worth fighting for we are the stewards of this land we were put here on earth to protect and preserve and live in balance with nature and those kind of teachings is where the deepest of my roots lie as far as what influenced me to become an activist and a spokesperson and a change agent for sure basically the whole environmental thing it’s just a part of our family and our lifestyle it’s definitely different I think been the way a lot of kids are raised it’s just natural it’s not like anything like for me it’s not anything unusual or out of the ordinary it’s like who wouldn’t want to you know protect and take care of the earth my mom started earth Guardians in 1982 throughout the generations of her six kids we’ve all picked up the torch in a different way I’m the youth director of Earth Guardians I decided to kind of keep the momentum going that’s just one small local crew of 15 kids the met that pesticides out of our parks all in Boulder Colorado got fracking banned for his last six years here in Boulder County we are working to empower young people to give them the voice being excited and inspired and doing what we’re passionate about whether that’s film whether that’s hip-hop know that sport are using those things to change the world around us the thing that sucks is that the United States we have contributed to climate change we were one of the biggest polluting countries in the world and we are suffering at least there’s so much power and there’s so much profit to be made out of digging dead decomposed plant and animal matter out of the ground we look around in my backyard we are the front of a war zone for fossil fuel extraction what happens is when they frack they shoot millions of gallons of water toxic chemicals and sand mixed together to the fraction the shale beneath the ground and then when it comes all back up they got a separated they take the oil in the gas and they take it off the ship Internet age energy but the contaminated water that comes back up is considered dead wat there’s a well pad right there off to the left that tan cylinder that’s in the ground that’s holding toxic waste water it’s not like huge it’s not like the tar sands it’s not like a huge oil refinery it’s it’s almost it’s very hidden they’re really good at hiding it a lot of it is underground everything that happens with fracking has happens on the ground there was a fracking well pad here this water would surely be contaminated by all different types of benzene ethyl benzene toluene xylenes what we need to do is love water not oil that’s the motto love water not oil because water is life right terima over Kenny’s processing yes we did a direct action against the County Courthouse and we held the courthouse for about 34 minutes all the kids so the earth Guardian crew we started an open-mic chant and everybody in the audience was chanting messages about renewable energy and about banning fracking the County Commission is that we’re all in their seats talking about fracking they actually left they were escorted out by the police and then the youth the earth Guardian crew went up on there actually took all of their seat which was a really powerful demonstration and we were up there until the police kicked us off obviously was very informal but it worked we have five communities all along this side of the Continental Divide that we ban fracking more to come this fracking wellhead right here this is a recreational area right and off of these tanks is every single year tons of hydrocarbon vapors toxic volatile organic compounds everybody that makes a profit off of this industry is afraid of what we have to say is afraid of this being on camera is afraid of this getting out to the public is afraid of the power that we have I mean in Colorado the movement that’s built up around fracking is amazing as it is you know putting bands in different cities and counties moratoria they know how powerful we are that’s why they’re afraid of us honestly does not look very good more forces does it the color of the tortilla should tough cutter yeah it looks like it’s a mix of yellow and blue corn so it’s like green corn tortilla it’s just definitely gives a kind of like a green you know yellow and blue eggs right right so have you got what you need for the courtroom clothes-wise I don’t know I’m watching everything right now do you still fit your nice shoes no you never even wore them one time so they’ve never been more I think I tried them on they’re so they’re so hard yeah look at this thing still inside like is there paper inside of it no God well easily fit me more we should definitely give these to somebody who will appreciate them it’s 5:22 a.m. and route to Eugene Oregon we’re gonna go be a part of this federal lawsuit it’s pretty historic you don’t hear about kids still in the government every day these these moments are when we remember it for sure and when we’re successful whole world’s gonna realize how much power that a group of youth have the demanding action with demanding solutions and we’re demanding them to honor our rights so far they failed so we gotta get them to go gonna do the right thing the problems that kind of pushed me to engage in this federal lawsuit looking everywhere and hearing these stories from other young people and just looking around the world that there’s so much that’s falling apart because of the climate disaster that we see but I also got involved with this lawsuit because I saw hope and I saw optimism that really excited me and even just being here amongst these incredible young people that’s you know that’s you know feeding the fire that you know feeds this movement might you test I saw this idea there’s so much hoping in the idea that we can actually make change like in the civil rights movement when young people like us decided they were gonna take a stand of that made so much of the difference in that movement and I decided that all of us together can make the same impact in the same change these 21 kids her awesome it’s it’s really amazing they’re all different ages that come from very different backgrounds some of them are just meeting each other in person for the first time but they feel such a tight bond with one another it’s an incredible group of young people so Teske has such an enormous weight on his shoulders because he’s a visionary I think he’s just this incredibly aware inspired wise young person and it is a great weight that he carries at the age of 15 this is the most important case I’ve ever argued about core questions of survival and whether our Constitution will endure for these kids we sued the United States of America and our claim is that since the late 60s the federal government knew that climate change was causing serious harm and that that harm wouldn’t manifest itself until the second or third decade of the 2000s well that’s where we are right now and lo and behold it is manifesting itself the federal defendants have known for decades that the harm is going to be inflicted on future generations well some of those generations are now alive they’re the plaintiffs in this case it’s great to see that there’s hundreds of people on their way already here to support us and we want this to reach the world you want everybody to see this and everyone to then take action to be inspired to take accident we’re fighting we’ve worked really hard to do here in sessions odds or keys you know in what world is the government partner up with the oil companies to fight the children like that doesn’t happen every source of enormous pollution in our country is operating under a permit issued by the US government they are doing everything to cause the infringement of these plaintiffs constitutional rights to personal security to life what better time to be alive and now because we are the generation that will get to change everything generations rewrite history the pen is in our hands and we are writing history today we will stand up to the industry but will stand up to our government remind them that our future mattered more than profits thank you the defendants primary approach was to mischaracterize with the plaintiffs are seeking and then try to attack that mischaracterization and it’s you see this with the fossil fuel industry all the time and i think i think the court understood that today i think that we presented really strong arguments you’re 15 and I have 30 years on you so if I can take any of this burden off of your plate if I can help you I’ve seen a lot of young people fall into apathy and hopelessness because the problem is so enormous this threatens every living person on the planet like the thought of that really freaks a lot of people out and you know I don’t blame them it’ll be up to our generation my generation not to save the planet but to lead the movement but we need every single generation to help tell these stories to help offer the wisdom of the elders it’s all about ground the movement we got to do everything that we can you know it’s not really a choice anymore because if we want human race to continue we need to be active and we need to fight for what we believe

Maurice Vega

100 Responses

  1. I like that young people are getting more concerned and are stepping up. He is however completely wrong… Suing the government over climate change.. He's travelling on something that is destroying the earth.. bit hypocritical. He's travelling on something that was built by years and years of technological advancements which produced these deadly gases. He obviously doesn't understand that us "destroying" the earth is necessary for development. Most of these people are thinking of the next 20-30 generations and believe they might be in danger but they don't realize that taking action against these companies will only result in messing up the next immediate generations (btw there are more chances of us being destroyed by war or an asteroid than climate change). Congratulations on banning fracking in their community, did they know how much it has affected their economy? For what? Decontaminated water? That will probably last what 20 years? 30 years? We are already dealing with this issue of us not having groundwater in the future, one of the ways is desalinization… Yes i do know fracking can cause earthquakes, but when you build san francisco, LA and other cities on an active fault you might as well frack for some benefit to cover for the losses. The recent oil price drops affected a huge part of the worlds economy, and COP21 hasn't helped at all. I love how people adore this kid for going up against the petroleum companies.. but when they go to the gas station and see that the price is $200 per liter they blame the petroleum company. They have no real reason to sue the government.. they might as well sue india and china for overproducing who have in turn contributed to global warming, economic issues, shortage of water, wastage of oxygen and what not..

  2. Most people his age are too busy worrying about which pictures are going to be in their cell phone applications and some have the audacity to complain. Waves of despicable people are being bred to hate and be jealous since they don't have interest or hobbies past personal dramas.

  3. W8 a second … he is fighting the goverment over climate change whiles flying a plain ? thats abit hypoceitical

  4. we hould use solar panels, it would be more eco friendly, only greed among energy keeps is from doing this and the USA government is right there involved there too

  5. i'm appalled at some of the 'comments' that people have left, just spewing vitriol. I suppose anything good is going to attract trolls, some people out there are just not happy unless they can throw their crap on somebody else, especially someone who is doing something worthwhile like this charismatic young warrior here. You've got my vote, Xiuhtezcatl!

  6. 7:40 you are not demanding anything……….."demands" have to something backing them up otherwise they requests

  7. He is an inspiration! Being an indigenous teenager myself I'm happy I am not alone. We gotta take care of our mother, keep it up brother ✊

  8. It's good to see an environmentally aware teenager – especially one willing to get involved personally.
    But this news piece was really lightweight – like something that would have been seen on MTV news years ago.
    It feels like he is being groomed to be some sexy young activist dude for the teenagers.
    I also couldn't help but notice the older, blond activist lady who just gushing all over him – it was a bit of a rob the cradle moment.

    I think this young man's energy would more effective by becoming an expert in the sciences and inventing ways to clean up the environement more effectively, environmentally-neutral biodegradeable consumer products (diapers especially), or improving alternative energy and battery technology.
    Get a PHD, Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh – and really contribute to the solution.

  9. All the bickering regarding the kid's diet is quite laughable. He's a courageous and intelligent person regardless of whether he eats meat or not. He and his fellow activists have made more of a difference than a lifetime of being vegan would do. In my opinion the main crisis at the moment is plastic production and the fact we aren't slowing down, we're accelerating.

  10. All these people blaming the government and shit for environmental change but still eat farmed meats that count for 51% of greenhouse gases

  11. I am looking for girl friend to go to the movies with to hold hands so she can lay on my chest I am looking for girlfriend once again I am looking for girlfriend so if you know any girls comment plz once again I am looking for girl friend.

  12. these kids are fucking retarded Jesus Christ chief running water could've done a better job an he talks about living with nature an this mother fucker living on ranch in aircondtioning with a 50 inch tv ps4 go on with that bullshit lmao XD

  13. the human race will be long gone before this planet dies/ends . So it's more of a matter of saving ourselves . Or maybe an ice age will do us in . But isn't that natural ….I'm pretty sure major corporations and world leaders will kill more people in the long run than anything else aka wars .

  14. while this kid is out here trying to make a difference y'all living in your moms basement obese as fuck commenting your dumb ass negative opinions on a educated 15 year old, I'm sleep.

  15. This kid is so damn smart. We are lucky to have people like this in our country. It is necessary to point out that fracking has had some environmental benefits because it has outsourced coal and oil in some situations. But he is not wrong. I totally agree that we need to go to green sustainable renewable energy as soon as possible and at the greatest extent possible.

    The time to speak is right now. We need to make it very clear to Trump that global warming and climate change is the most important issue that humanity has ever faced. I believe that if we are loud enough, he will act. While he has said he does not believe in climate change, I do not believe him. And the only position he is in, is in a position to do what the people want. He is literally not a politician, and he has no reason to not do what the people want. So do everything in your power to make it clear to President Trump that this is our most important issue.

    I don't want to die on this earth suffocating or on fire. So understand that we all have to act now.

  16. Really just a dumbass kid who thinks he's a huge paradigm in the midst of devils. He's taking tax dollars from people when he actively contributes to the problem. I'd kill him if I ever met him in real life.

  17. As legit as blaming the Kings for 'ruining' their crops in "Extreme weather events of 535–536" or blaming the Republic for 'allowing' the "Year Without a Summer" to happen in 1816.

    More apocalyptic weather and climate shifts happened in history before mankind could even make a dent, and the systems from the sun to the currents had already made up their minds what comes next millennium in advance.
    And until the last half century most farmers and land owners were prepared more of less to weather this out, not complain at the slightest inconvenient changes effecting their 'urban-sized' safe spaces.

  18. Xiuhtezcatl is young in gregoian years but He is a very old soul! I wonder what Chiefs live in Him! 😉 He shows that peaceful doesn't mean apathetic!! Total rezpect, Immense Love & Gratitude! Wopila!

  19. Trump just took the website for global warming that Obama posted. Trump think global warming is a joke. All the Republicans don't care about global warming. So I wonder who else is willing to sue then all. The more the merrier it is ur children future

  20. good luck with this generation. earth is flat and so on. what ever you think you can find assurances on the internet so after trump you will be fucked over by liberal leftist nazis

  21. kids are amazing. everyone listens to a kid…so encapturing. what about it though makes it encapturing?! like just a child hardly having started his life yet is so learned and motivated to do good?

  22. I guarantee these "climate warriors" are just as wasteful, just as exploitative of natural resources, just as damaging to the Earth as anybody else. It's all fun and trendy to act as though you give a shit about environmentalism, but I rarely see people walk-the-walk. If they really care, why don't they live a lifestyle that does not require extreme use of energy and resources? Why don't they even seem to promote such a thing, rather than simply bitch about it?

    One more thing…environmentalism DOES NOT belong to the Left. Liberalism clings to it as though they have some kind of trademark…when really rural conservatives and White Nationalists (that's right) are often more environmentally conscious than any other political demographic. Like I said, Liberals and 'progressives' love to talk and boast their moral superiority on environmental issues, but they rarely do anything about it.

  23. Awww look at all those items you have that you don't need for survival that were crafted using oil which is a large contributor to global warming. And he's going to sue because he's a justice warrior. How cute…and naive.
    Hey you hippies want to figure out why the climate is changing. LOOK IN THE MIRROR. Did you drive? Do you need that smart phone? Do you need those synthetic articles of clothing? SHUT THE FUCK UP.

  24. I'm happy that people from my generation are being able to get their voice heard, this is truly inspiring !!!

  25. The apathy of the UN representatives is so palpable. Show some respect for our children, and all the ones to come!


  27. We are seeking #applicants for our 2018 International #EcoHero​ ​Awards! Each year we recognize #environmental initiatives of #youth ages 8-16 with a cash prize of up to $500, a certificate of achievement & public recognition. Apply by Feb. 28:

  28. Please realize we could do this more efficiently;

    if your friends, a group of students would use your communities as extended classrooms, focus directing w/all, doing your local `plan, networking local and afar, prioritizing toxic, resolving, while ecologically restoring your enhanced sustainable healthy working communities w/neighbors, as you and all, could resolve much more along this journey!

    Life everywhere is in need of needs getting met and offerings shared, as well one's communities. Time-sensitive attention needs to be acted on mindfully ASAP!

    As all redo one's entire biomes w/agroecological systems which is not just agriculture, it is a social, economic, political movement on top of sequestering carbon and more.

    Collective, prioritize your local and global issues, organizing, researching and prioritizing in a global efficiency, peacefully. As we reach out together and help fuel others!

    Tools of the times are here to perfect! So please be calm and no more fighting, no more wars, no more Nuclear use as waste is yet to be removed as it goes w/the wind across the earth contaminating more…

    It is bad enough that many Indians on reservations have lost their heritage than to have schools and Gov, also be in the fog rather than co_evolve w/all as all go figure. For much now is needed to be done and much vulnerable need also help and can be while all part-time synch and do many things along each building one's path as you each walk it into one's opening!

    We can't get lost in the sewage riding on others wave, as in UN SC not voting for Russia recently to stop US and allies from Military strikes on Syria. Nor did they do it within the International law, telling us how dysfunctional UN has become when it allows US and allies to control 1/3 of Syria/support /create terrorists in Syria, yet continue to use Military aggression. When yet you know how bad climate change has gotten.

    Not to mention most important is the same science students now is studying, is also saying people are not adapting, not prepared and 200 species each day is becoming extinct. And Dr. Guy Mcpherson states change is accelerating much faster and life on earth may be gone w/in months/years if serious actions are not taken.

    Organize, come talk and let Humanity's options fuel yours, let us help!
    Peace, kara j lincoln

  29. Great profile of an amazing activist! We're covering his inspiring #youthvgov story too, check it out on this week's episode of our series This Planet:

  30. truly heartened! Simply true words spoken out! Facts that are facts – he does not put the attention on himself – in contrary to law makers – it's about our resources and about our respect we should pay for this planet. If we fail – we get the bill and it's not to pay in USD, EUR or GBP it's not a currency – its to be paid in lives. My entire and full respect for Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh! You give me inspiration and passion for contribution and for fighting towards the establishment!

  31. Lenin was right the young are useful idiots. Zero complexity of thought, you fools use energy everyday, cell phones in hand, enjoying everything the developed world gave you, yet you do nothing but complain. I hope you all get your wish and get to live in the third world you so desire.

  32. By the look of the comment section seems like people lack some awareness and perhaps a brain. Shout out to all you haters, the kid is doing some extraordinary things!! ❤️

  33. Too legit to quit. 60 minutes just did a story on this same group and its surmounting evidence supporting the claim that the US government has known about our role in causing climate change since the 60's. As Julia Olson, the lawyer who's arguing the case put it, "the facts are facts, and alternative facts are perjury." Check out the story here:

  34. This is a typical example of a brainwashed mind! Show us some proof kid? You have nothing, you don't even have parents to teach you right and wrong! Our World revolves around Fossil Fuels, get used to it, we have no other option! Global Warming/Climate change is a natural cycle of the earth, like it or not. Anyone who got brainwashed by a scam created to extort money from people to make the rich richer! Where do you think all this Carbon Tax money is going? It is going into general revenue for corrupt Government to use at their disposal for more corruption. Also, Governments pay scientists to create fake documents to support this Global UN Scam! Grow a brain and wake up, you people are really the enemy, supporting Global Scams! Think about it…..You can't prove anything, and don't have a solution or any answers, so quit while you still have time to learn something!

  35. How dare you guys pollute! Give me a million now and we can put this behind us!
    If you have been assaulted and your first priority is to sue, you are not that hurt. A real hurt person would do revenge or nothing

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