As the world burns The new generation of activists and the landmark legal fight against climate change

Lee Van der Voo

Book - 2020

"Award-winning investigative journalist Lee Van der Voo reports on Juliana v. the United States. Combining unparalleled access to the plaintiffs and reporting on the natural disasters that form an urgent backdrop to the story, van der Voo shares a timely and important story about the environment, the law, and the new generation of activists"--

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Portland, Oregon : Timber Press 2020.
Main Author
Lee Van der Voo (author)
Physical Description
304 pages ; 24 cm
Includes bibliographical references (pages 267-289) and index.
  • 1. October 29, 2018: A Crisis at Hand, a Nation Consumed
  • 2. "The Country That We Want to Live In"
  • 3. "Not a Problem Individuals Can Solve"
  • 4. "You Don't Have the Right to Tell an Oil Company No"
  • 5. Radical Corrective Streak
  • 6. The Furious Paper War and the Direction of the Nation
  • 7. Soon to Be Disrupted by Wind and Rain
  • 8. "The Other Side of the So-Called 'End of History'"
  • 9. November 2018: Doubling Down on Backward
  • 10. Crashing the Official Narrative
  • 11. The Zenith of Ridiculous
  • 12. A Dislocation of the Soul
  • 13. "I Will Be with You in the Streets"
  • 14. "The Constitutional Question of This Century"
  • 15. White Noise in a Land That Doesn't Care
  • 16. November 4, 2019: Purposeful Procession
  • Epilogue
  • Acknowledgments
  • Appendix: About the Youth Plaintiffs
  • Endnotes
  • Index
Review by Kirkus Book Review

The story of the Juliana v. United States case regarding climate change. In 2015, three years before Greta Thunberg became a household name, 21 young plaintiffs filed a lawsuit again the U.S. government demanding the "constitutional right to a stable climate. Its charge is that the government's actions to cause climate change violate their civil rights to life, liberty, and property. Not only that, but also that the government has known about the risks of climate change for decades and persisted in helping to cause it anyway, failing to implement its own plans to regulate greenhouse gases while subsidizing, authorizing, and permitting a fossil fuel energy system that worsens global warm-ing every day." Environmental journalist van der Voo spent more than a year researching and interviewing these young adults, many of whom are too young to vote, getting the behind-the-scenes moments that explain what they hope to achieve and why they continue to fight despite facing adversity at almost every turn. In this well-paced, conversational narrative, the author shares the youths' small triumphs and their vast disappointments as the case progressed toward the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals and a potential ruling. Throughout, van der Voo includes examples of the variety of issues that drove the diligent work of the plaintiffs and their legal team--e.g., the extreme heat and drought that led to vast forest fires such as the one that destroyed Paradise, California, or the rising sea levels that are affecting residents of the Marshall Islands. For those eager to learn the backstory of the case, the author delivers a solid synopsis, and she also includes enough meaningful human-interest stories to keep the pages turning even when the outcome of the situation is already known. A comprehensive look at the motivating factors that caused young adults to sue the government for a better future. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.