By Ciara O'Rourke
9 February 2017
(The Atlantic) – It was supposed to be Avery McRae’s first day back at school after winter break, but fat snowflakes were falling outside and class was canceled. Her horseback-riding lesson wasn’t happening either. At lunch with her mom and dad at Hot Mama’s Wings, in Eugene, Oregon, Avery slumped in her seat and stuck out her lip, disappointed the way 11-year-olds are when they’ve been waiting for something forever.
“I haven’t seen the horses in three weeks,” she cried. “I’m going to die.”
Avery had been in Denver for the holiday visiting family, but now she was back home, eager to return to sixth grade and afternoons stacked with extracurricular activities. She plays piano and has practiced Bhangra, a Punjabi folk dance, since she was two. Each morning, she feeds chickens she’s named after flowers, and each evening, she makes sure they’re tucked in their coop. In the spring, she runs a backyard business raising chicks for customers.
And, sometimes, she goes to court. Unlike most tweens, Avery is suing the federal government.
She’s the second-youngest of 21 plaintiffs, ages 9 to 20, in Juliana v. United States, a case filed in Eugene in 2015 on the grounds that the federal government has knowingly endangered them by promoting the burning of fossil fuels. If climate change threatens their future, they reason, the government has violated their constitutional right to due process. There are roughly the same number of defendants as plaintiffs in the case, including the Environmental Protection Agency, the Office of the President and the president himself. Until January 20, that was Barack Obama. Now it’s Donald Trump.
“You’re suing Trump!” Avery recalls her classmates said when they flocked her at school on November 9. “I’m like, ‘Yep.’ What did I get myself into?” [more]