[Issue 072] Meet these young people suing the US government 🌎
This week's newsletter is a hump day edition because sometimes my full-time job gets in the way of all the ABL fun.
I am particularly excited to be sliding into your inbox with today's topic: 21 young people (between the ages of 11 and 22) are taking the federal government to trial in a groundbreaking constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. U.S.
Their argument? The government's actions have violated our nation's youngest generation's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.
They first filed the suit in 2015, and after many many attempts to get it dismissed/delayed by the Department of Justice, this summer the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favor of the 21 plaintiffs, denying the Trump administration's application for stay.
The trial was set to start on Monday, October 29th, but last Thursday the Trump Administration argued for another stay, arguing that the costs of litigation would put an undue burden on the government.
So now we wait...
One fun fact I discovered while reading about the near soap opera level drama of this case is that the fossil fuel industry attempted to jump in as a defendant and get the case dismissed back in 2016. In June 2017 a judge dismissed the fossil fuel industry as defendants from the case because of their "economic interests that could potentially be directly impacted by the outcome of the litigation."
It's incredible. I'm so inspired by these young people. Meet a few of them:
If you do nothing else this week, I strongly recommend that you check out the very first episode of the Mothers of Invention podcast [HERE].
Other than the podcast being an incredible breakdown of the ways we can address climate change, in episode 1 we hear from two of the plaintiffs directly: Kelsey Juliana (22) and Victoria Barrett (19).
What New U.S. Data Privacy Laws Mean For Business. Data breaches within companies have risen. According to the Gemalto’s Breach Level Index, 4.5 billion records were compromised in the first half of 2018, which is a 133% increase from the year before. Because of this, and in response to the E.U creating their own General Data Protection Regulation, the U.S. has begun creating data privacy laws. California currently is the leader in data privacy laws in the U.S. but other states are following suit as businesses try and learn to adapt. // TRIPLE PUNDIT
Miscarrying at Work: The Physical Toll of Pregnancy Discrimination. A New York Times investigation finds that women in strenuous jobs lost their pregnancies after employers denied their requests for light duty, even ignoring doctors’ notes. The company highlighted in the article is a contractor hired by Verizon. It's a heartbreaking but worthwhile read. // NYTIMES
Oysters On The Half Shell Are Actually Saving New York’s Eroding Harbor. In New York City, restaurants that serve oysters have begun saving the half shells discarded from the meal, instead of throwing them away or composting them. This is because of the Billion Oyster’s Project, a restaurant shell-collection program that uses the discarded oyster shells to help grow new oysters. The shells are placed in a hatchery, and students of the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School learn how to grow and farm new oysters. The recycling of the oyster shells is helping to save the harbor from erosion and destruction when gathering oysters. // NPR
Google Is Searching For A Way To Be Zero Emissions All The Time. Google, while using a lot of energy, is also the world’s largest buyer of renewable energy at about 3 gigawatts. Because of this, Google says they are currently matching their total energy use with clean energy sources. This means that the buying of renewable energy and consuming unclean energy is balanced out, not that they are using exclusively renewables to power their operations. However, Google has recently begun looking at ways to turn their data centers to be 100% renewable energy based, all day, everyday. // FAST COMPANY
Audi Fined £700M Over Diesel Emissions Scandal. In 2015, it was revealed that Audi had fitted some of their diesel cars with “defeat devices” that flattened emission readings during engine tests so that the output of nitrogen oxides seemed reduced. They have since admitted to the scandal and have been charged a fine of £700M. // BBC
Facebook to Ban Misinformation on Voting In Upcoming U.S. Elections. In an exclusive report with Reuters, Facebook has announced that they are going to ban misinformation about voting on their website. They are planning on fact-checking reports of violence or long lines at polling stations during the coming midterm elections, as well as removing false information on voting methods. // REUTERS
Ocean Plastic Is A Huge Problem. Blockchain Could be Part of The Solution. In an effort to slow the pace of plastic making it’s way into the ocean, a startup in Vancouver, BC called Plastic Bank has begun using a blockchain-based system that allows locals to trade collected plastic for healthcare, tuition, oil, cash, and other goods/services. // NBC NEWS
Silicon Valley’s Wage Gap Is Widening, But The Top 10 Percent Keep Getting Richer. Although Silicon Valley has grown steadily in the last few years, worker’s wages are now less than they were 20 years ago. Furthermore, there has been an disproportionate increase in the number of low wage jobs compared to middle and high wage jobs. Wages have even stagnated for 90% of the workforce. As an example, Jeff Bezos makes the median salary for an Amazon employee, $28,000, every 10 seconds, however he has recently increased the hourly wage from $11 to $15. // AFROTECH
How The Sears Catalog Transformed Shopping Under Jim Crow, Explained by A Historian. When Sears originated as a business, they mostly sold their merchandise through mail-order catalogs, which in the Jim Crow south, had the unintended benefit of allowing black Americans to shop as freely as a white person, since they could not be as easily discriminated by a mail-order. The article goes into more depth to the history, and is an interesting read. // VOX
The headlines were curated and edited by ABL's badass intern, Lora. Don't know who she is? Learn more about her here.
"I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society."
– U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken