We can all use some positive news these days, especially on the environmental front in which science is considered evil, denial is an alternative fact and the EPA is now what I’m calling the Environmental Destruction Agency. And while I don’t want to gloss over the issues – there isn’t enough paint in the world to do that – I offer here The Distillery, a weekly (or thereabouts) selection of posts to help offset the PTSD of our current nightmare.
The posts I pick will be “real” in the sense that they aren’t pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking, as fun as those can be, but are evidence of EcoOptimism.
Among the many, many problems of the recently passed Republican tax bill – and there are so many that it’s quite a feat to isolate just one – is that it passes the buck from those who currently pay taxes to those who will, in the near future, inherit the deficit it’s projected to generate. In fact, it already builds in increases in middle class taxes in 2027. Conveniently enough, those 2027 taxpayers were not the ones voting on this bill.
In a 2013 post, Stealing from the Future, I discussed this inequity – an abdication of responsibility – in environmental terms. The people making environmental (or unenvironmental) decisions now will not be the ones living with the results. They will neither experience it or pay for it. In the post, I borrowed a term – Intergenerational Remote Tyranny – to describe this.
That concept is now starting to be acknowledged in perhaps the only form possible given that those in power are not going to willingly cede their self-interests. Lawsuits are being brought by younger generations.
From Teen Vogue:
August 17, 2017
“Teens are Suing the U.S. Government Over Climate Change”
EcoOptimism’s take: Note the source of this article: Teen Vogue. It’s great that, given there readership, they’ve been a significant voice in environmentalism. The suit alleges that inaction by the government is, among other legal issues, violating the next generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. It’s been wending its way through the US courts for several years, first against the Obama administration and then shifting the defendant to the Trump administration. At each step, courts have allowed it to proceed in spite of the efforts of the Department of Justice.
November 15, 2017
“North Carolina Youth File Climate Petition to Protect Their Futures”
EcoOptimism’s take: This is in a state that banned using scientific predictions of rising sea levels in establishing policy.
November 17, 2017
“Groups Sue Norway Over Failure to Protect Environment for Future Generations”
EcoOptimism’s take: This suit is a bit different in that it’s not being brought by kids, but it shows that the concept is not limited to the United States and US law.