New York, September 24, 2019
Young volunteers from around the world filed a groundbreaking lawsuit today for future generations.
Concerned Earth dwellers file a groundbreaking lawsuit for future generations. Pictured are the young lawyers and law students (from left to right) – Shannon Peters (Oceania), Nicole Ponce (Asia), Miranda Steed (Europe and the Americas), Tarini Mehta (South Asia and Africa) – who filed the people’s petition. Attorney Tanya Ramiro, who represents the Philippine Consulate and the United Nations mission, receives the petition. Fil-Am youth volunteer Gabriel Cohen holds a Philippine flag. The young people are asking for an opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the duties of states towards future generations in the face of the climate crisis.
The team of volunteer law students, young lawyers and private citizens, supported by a team of senior environmental law advisors, traveled to the United Nations mission in the Philippines in New York to file the petition. They claim to represent themselves, other concerned inhabitants of the Earth and future generations. They ask for the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the issue:
“In this climate crisis, what are the duties of states under international law to present and future generations?
At the UN climate summit, young people from all over the world expressed their support for the lawsuit Greta Thunberg and co filed yesterday (September 23) at the UN. They call on governments around the world to take strong, serious and sustainable measures to face and accept the climate emergency.
The filing of petitions from the Philippine Mission has great symbolic significance. The Philippines – a group of islands in the western Pacific Ocean – are the most vulnerable to the destructive effects of the climate crisis. In November 2013, they were hit by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), the strongest typhoon in history to make landfall, with winds of over 300 kilometers per hour. The Philippines is now experiencing extreme weather events, intense flooding, water shortages, near-drought conditions and rapidly rising sea levels.
Nearly 30 years ago, the Supreme Court of the Philippines confirmed the legal right of children and future generations to sue in court. The Court ruled that each generation has a duty to ensure that future generations will continue to have the sources of life that are the land, air and water – the RIGHT to life.
It was an offshoot of a then ridiculous case filed in 1990 by 43 Filipino children, acting on their own behalf and on behalf of future generations. Resisting powerful industry interests, they sued to stop logging in the country’s last remaining old-growth rainforests.
What is the next step ?
This is the beginning of a journey of volunteers from all over the world. “There is no heart stronger than a volunteer”.
They would mobilize at least 10 million signatures in support of the UN General Assembly resolution General Assembly resolution for the ICJ advisory opinion. They would join with other youth groups and concerned citizens of the world to urge their governments to make truly transformative change. This change must quickly and radically change the current mindset that is burning the Earth, literally and figuratively. This change must take place in energy production, food production, transportation land use, forest and marine restoration, wetland conservation, among others.
Representatives from Africa, Asia, Latin America, North America, Europe and Oceania are also sending emails, tweets and snail mail letters to their heads of state, members of parliament, UN missions and ministers. They are demanding, in a compelling way, that strong, serious and sustainable action be taken to address the climate crisis and accept it for themselves and for future generations.