Juliana v. US Plaintiff Sophie's College Awards #youthvgov

Sophie is a plaintiff in Juliana v. US and a student at Dickinson College.

Sophie is a plaintiff in Juliana v. US and a student at Dickinson College.

I just finished my first year at Dickinson College, a school that I’ve grown to call home with all of the encouraging professors and passionate students. Other than the learning atmosphere being a perfect fit for me, a big reason why I chose to study here is because of Dickinson’s priority of living sustainably. I feel safe around people who respect the Earth we share and who understand how much effort needs to be put into protecting it. The Dickinson community demonstrates this priority by its commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2020.

Every year, my school gives an award called The Rose-Walters Prize to an individual or group dedicated to preserving the planet and its resources. Recipients are carefully vetted and selected by a committee including environmental science faculty, the provost, and several leaders in environmental organizations, including a co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Past recipients include Bill Mckibben, founder of 350.org, Mark Ruffalo, actor and advocate, Elizabeth Kolbert, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Brett Jenks, president and CEO of Rare, James Balog, author, scientist, photographer, and founder of the Extreme Ice Survey (EIS) and Earth Vision Trust, and Lisa P. Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environmental initiatives and former EPA administrator under President Obama.


This year, the Rose-Walters Prize recipient is Our Children’s Trust. I started learning about Our Children’s Trust when I was just 10 years old, and became involved with the organization when I was 16. I’m now a plaintiff on Juliana v. United States, the lawsuit the organization supports brought by 21 young Americans against the federal government for knowingly contributing to climate change for over 50 years. Our trial is scheduled to begin on October 29, 2018 in Eugene, Oregon. Our Children’s Trust also supports various youth-led climate lawsuits at the state level across the country, and similar climate litigation around the world. To see how much of a global player we have become makes me proud to be a leader in the #youthvgov movement, and proud of Dickinson for recognizing the strides the movement is making. Mostly I am happy that my two families are coming together to bring hope for the future.

Caitlin Howard