A group of teenagers decided the expansion of an Australian coal mine was not in the planet’s best interest, so they decided to sue the environment minister, Sussan Ley. A 87-year old Catholic nun, Brigid Arthur, acted as the teen’s legal guardian. Together they took on the environment minister and won.
“It felt really rewarding to be able to engage in something so historic for Australia, and needed too,” said one of the teens, Anjali Sharma, after the win. The judge ruled that Australia had a duty to care for the youth to protect them from climate change.
The Australian government is appealing the ruling, and sadly, Anjali and the other teens have been the victims of threats and intimidation, from both individuals and the Australian media.
Despite all this, the lawyer representing the teens, David Barden, hopes the ruling will inspire others throughout the world to file “duty of care” lawsuits to force leaders to stop new fossil fuel mines and factories.
According to Barden, “It’s a very foundational legal case to approach the problems caused by climate change, and the principles of negligence exist in a whole range of common law countries, from the UK, to New Zealand, Canada and the US as well.” You can read more about the lawsuit in this BBC article.
Working together, we can help take care of our common home.