Youth Sue for a Livable Climate

US District Court rejects Fossil Fuel interests, Allowing Case to Proceed

Youth petition Obama to come to table in #youthvgov lawsuit before Trump takes over

New York, NY -- Victoria Barrett, 17, and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 16, sued the United States, President Obama, and several federal agencies, for the government’s actions that have caused carbon pollution, climate destabilization, and violations of their constitutional rights.

On November 10, 2016, U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken completely rejected the government and fossil fuel industry’s arguments to throw their case out. Now, Xiuhtezcatl, Victoria, their 19 youth co-plaintiffs, along with Dr. James Hansen, and the non-profit Earth Guardians, are headed to a trial that may be a turning point in United States history.  

But until January 20, 2017, President Obama has the power to lock in real protection for the climate and the youth’s future. Youth plaintiffs urge him to reject fossil fuel interests and come to the settlement table in the #youthvgov lawsuit. Victoria and Xiuhtezcatl want President Obama to end this case - meet with them, implement a climate recovery plan, and define his legacy.

Victoria Barrett, youth plaintiff, Earth Guardian RYSE member and Action Fellow with Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) said:

“In this fight for a just world we are not the first of our kind, but we are the ones who will have the legacies of those who fought before us serving as a platform. This climate movement, for love, and fairness, and stability, and the future will not and cannot stop for anyone. Youth stand together, and even as the seas are rising…so are we.”

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, youth plaintiff, Earth Guardians youth director, said:

“We are defining the future we will pass on to generations to come. This is a pivotal moment in our nation’s history. We need President Obama to stand with us.”

Julia Olson, lead counsel for the youth’s case, and executive director of Our Children’s Trust said: 

“If President Obama and the other key defendants come to the settlement table, a meaningful settlement could be crafted to begin to address the constitutional violations of my clients’ fundamental rights in this case. It may not resolve the whole case, but it could provide some very important interim protections for these youth plaintiffs as we head to trial on the merits.”


Video only:


Earth Guardians:


Our Children’s Trust:

The youth’s federal case is one of many related legal actions brought by youth in several states and countries, all supported by Our Children’s Trust, seeking science-based action by governments to stabilize the climate system.

Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) has a mission to educate young people about the science of climate change and empower them to take action. Their award-winning youth climate education and advocacy training programs have reached 2 million young people across the United States. By empowering youth to take action within a frame of justice and optimism, they are supporting young people to shift the national discourse on climate in ways that are proven to affect public opinion and policy.

Our Children's Trustis a nonprofit organization, elevating the voice of youth, those with most to lose, to secure the legal right to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate on behalf of present and future generations. We lead a coordinated global human rights and environmental justice campaign to implement enforceable science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration to below 350 ppm by the year 2100.

Earth Guardians is a Colorado-based nonprofit organization with youth chapters on five continents, and multiple groups in the United States with thousands of members working together to protect the Earth, the water, the air, and the atmosphere, creating healthy sustainable communities globally. We inspire and empower young leaders, families, schools, organizations, cities, and government officials to make positive change locally, nationally, and globally to address the critical state of the Earth. 

For more information, contact:

Julia Olson, Our Children’s Trust, 415.786.4825,

Leah Qusba, Alliance for Climate Education (ACE),

Tamara Roske, Earth Guardians, 720.263.2292