Reynolds v. The State of Florida Update
As an update to our landmark youth climate change lawsuit against the State of Florida, our Governor, and other elected “leaders” I am pleased to share a copy of the brief that my friends and I filed today with Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. You can find a copy of our legal brief by clicking here.
The next step in the appeal process is that the state of Florida will file their own legal brief in answer to the one we filed today. We will then have a chance to reply to the state’s response and once those steps are complete we will have another day in court (or before the court via zoom) for oral arguments before the judge. I do not yet know how long these next steps will take but rest assured that I will update everyone as soon as I know more.
I also want to share that while the filing of our brief is good news it comes at a time where many have a heavy heart over the increasing degradation of our planet from the climate change crisis. Consider Alex Loznak, a peer who is a Plaintiff in the federal lawsuit Juliana Versus United States and a student at Columbia University where he’s studying Sustainable Development. Alex and his family are sadly in the midst of a Level 1 fire alert at their farm in Southern Oregon as I type this post and could be forced to evacuate their home at any moment.
Temperatures all over the American West have set horrific records in recent weeks, often breaking former records that were decades or even a century or more old, and have resulted in over 100 wildfires that are raging in California, Oregon and Washington. It’s no coincidence that places like Death Valley California, which experienced what will likely be deemed a world record high temperature of 130 degrees one day last month according to the National Weather Service, are increasingly experiencing truly extreme heat.
No, it’s not a coincidence, not at all, it’s the result of the world’s climate change crisis and a century long love affair with fossil fuels.
And so Alex and his family and countless others are forced to live in a place that looks like another planet or something out of a science fiction story. A place where the sky is an ominous orange, where the smell of smoke follows you everywhere and where you constantly fear for life.
And if any of us need more motivation to realize that what’s happening all around us, what with rising seas, melting glaciers and skies ablaze with deadly fire from record setting heat here’s a recent picture of Alex at his Oregon farm.
Like they say, a picture is worth a thousand (or should it be a million?) words.
Or so I hope it is.
Allow me to end by thanking the other Co-Plaintiffs that have sued the State of Florida with me: Levi, Isaac, Luxia, Jose, Oliver, Valholly and Oscar. These young people, ages 11 to 20 when our initial lawsuit was filed in 2018, are incredibly brave citizens that have made enormous sacrifices through the process of this lawsuit to try to make our state and its environment better for future generations and I can’t thank each of them enough. I’d also be remiss to not thank our incredible team of lawyers, each of which is working on our case on a pro-bono (free) basis and are as passionate about our concerns, much less share our zeal, as we are. Thanks to Guy, Mitch, Andrea, Erin, Wallace, Deb, Jane and Matt for your own sacrifices, energy and wisdom.
The time has come for America and Americans to step up and lead the world into a sustainable future, to close the chapter on our fossil fuel history and to embrace factual based science. COVID-19, raging wildfires, increasingly more frequent and larger catastrophic hurricanes and on and on should make it clear to all of us that we must do better. My friends and I are doing our part, of that I promise. I’d only ask that you do yours and vote in the coming election.
Vote for honesty and decency and science. Yes, please don’t forget science.
And vote for my young friends and I including those not yet old enough to vote but surely old enough to know right from wrong and disgusted by all of the wrong they see adults doing right before our eyes.
And while you are at it, please vote for the future, for those youth that will follow us forever more. They deserve better. Much better.
And finally, please vote as if the world all around us is ablaze.
Because it is.