Without a doubt the images and accompanying story lines that have crept in to the media of kids suing the US government demanding their constitutional right to a healthy environment and livable planet is a master stroke of publicity and branding. Its a great story that news outlets are going to follow. Over the past few years its been incredible to watch to progress that Our Childrens Trust has been making to raise awareness and demand action on addressing climate change and just how far they will go is anyone’s guess. Clearly we are supporters of their efforts and believe very strongly in what they do. While we all “get the message” pretty clearly “We’re screwing up our planet for future generations, they have a right to live here” the actual legal basis for their claim is pretty sound, based on the concept of The Doctrine Of Public Trust. Always deferential to those who are better writers than we are, if you’re looking for a good explanation, we came across an article from last year published in The Huffington Post, written by Peter Neill:
The Doctrine of Public Trust is “a long-standing legal concept designed to protect the common wealth, our natural resources, precedent and outside statutory law, for the benefit of future generations. In effect, government acts as a “trustee” for this trust, with the management responsibility and accountability similar to that of oversight of an estate or investment account, not just to preserve value but also to enhance and sustain value over time for the benefit of heirs and beneficiaries, in this case the public.”
To dive a little more deeply, you should read the full article, Our Children’s Trust And The Public Trust Doctrine.