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Rhode Island Rally for the #TrialoftheCentury calls on the government to respond meaningfully to the danger of climate change



About 40 students and supporters gathered on the steps of the United States District Courthouse of Rhode Island to “support of a national climate recovery plan, based on the best science available, following principals of a just transition, to transform the economy and respond to the facts that we have known for decades — CO2 pollution from burning fossil fuels causes dangerous climate change.”

The climate recovery trial of Youth v. Federal Government was scheduled to start on Monday, October 29, 2018. A last-minute United States Supreme Court stay imposed on October 19 is still in effect, and as a result, the trial did not begin as scheduled. The event in Providence was part of a mobilization in every state of this country in support of the youth plaintiffs at the United States District Court in Eugene, Oregon.

The lawsuit in Oregon has spurred similar legal actions across the country, including here in Rhode Island.


Nature’s Trust begins legal action to compel Rhode Island to take action on climate change

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The rally began with music:

“It is our responsibility to preserve the environment for all living beings and for all people, today and tomorrow, for all generations long into the future” said Alex Duryea, a graduate student at the University of Rhode Island. “The problem is that the government is the trustee for the environment. What do you do when the trustee neglects the trust? You take them to court! It’s that simple.”

“It is my right to speak out. It is the government’s duty to protect its citizens,” said Chloe Mors, a 16-year old petitioner and student at the Met High School in Providence. “My voice, along with all others, matters and our lives are more important than any amount of money.”

“I could be on the computer playing with my friends, but I have to worry about my future,” said Phillip Tierney, who lives in East Providence. “What were you thinking about when you were 14? I don’t think most of you were thinking about the planet, or that major parts of Rhode Island were about to disappear…”

“My first time voting was this September in the Rhode Island Primaries,” said Zanagee Artis. “This is just one of a number of actions I have done to fight for climate justice and for a government that protects the people it is meant to serve instead of corporate interests.”

More music:

There was a “speak out” where protesters were presented with the opportunity to address the crowd.

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Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.