A Resolution to Support the Juliana Plaintiffs
On Friday, May, 20, 2019, the City Council of Eugene, Oregon passed Resolution 5265 supporting the right to trial of the landmark constitutional youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States and the public trust doctrine behind the case. The resolution also urged Eugene citizens to support the case by attending events involving the case. It mandated the City Recorder to send copies of the Resolution to many other Oregon cities and counties. The body of the resolution describes in quite a bit of detail the scope of global heating, the urgency for dealing with it, and some of the steps that Eugene and other jurisdictions have taken to reduce emissions. How did this resolution come about?
My involvement started when I attended a meeting of Our Revolution Lane County to hear a speaker from Our Children’s Trust (OCT) talk about developments in the case. I found out about OCT's efforts to get businesses and institutions to sign the Declaration of Support. I decided that this was something I could tackle.
I wrote letters to the editor to the two Eugene newspapers urging supporters to get involved in this effort. In January, I contacted my own City Councilor, Greg Evans, and asked if he would be willing to sponsor a resolution based on the Declaration of Support. He readily agreed. I sent him a draft which was simply the Declaration of Support with "whereases" in front of the paragraphs and a "therefore" before the final paragraph urging support of the case. I did add a paragraph mentioning Eugene's history of involvement, especially its groundbreaking Climate Recovery Act (which was passed with the ardent involvement of many youth activists). As I did this, I shared emails with the Public Engagement team at OCT.
For the next several months, I didn't hear much from Councilor Evans. I contacted him on 5/22/19 to tell him I was planning to meet OCT staff soon (at the public event co-sponsored by OCT at the Unitarian Church, featuring climate scientist Shahir Masri — It was an excellent presentation!). He then told me that the resolution had already been passed. Woo hoo!
Mr. Evans must have been in contact with other more knowledgable and sophisticated correspondents regarding the Resolution because it went way beyond the Declaration of Support in scope and force. But I am honored to have been a part of the process. My next goal is to convince Lane Transit Service to sign on to a similar resolution.
I am a retired Eugene resident who has lived here since 1980. Aside from writing letters to the editor and attending rallies, I am a member of Climate Writers which meets once a month to write paper and envelope letters to policy makers to urge for action on the climate crisis. I appreciate and am inspired by the activism of the Juliana plaintiffs and by the tidal wave of activism powered by the youth of so many countries.