Saxons Attend Sierra Club Conference
Three Saxons, Claire Graham ‘22, Angelique Prater ‘21, Sonia Boeger ‘19, attended a student coalition conference in Georgia on Dec. 17 through 19. The conference was held by the Sierra club, an environmental organization, and discussed organizational information for future rally holders. Graham is a part of the youth chapter of the club, called the Justice League. The purpose of the chapter is to teach young people community organizing activism skills.
“I joined because I’m passionate about fighting climate change and livid with the lack of action being taken. I want to help in any way I can,” Graham said. As an active leader for environmental issues in Salem, Graham is “disgusted” by the lack of progress made by the government.
On March 3, 2019 Graham is organizing a rally in support for the Juliana VS US case.
In 2015, fifteen year old Kelsey Juliana was invited to be a plaintiff on the Oregon state climate lawsuit and the landmark federal climate lawsuit. She was invited by Our Children’s Trust, an organization whose purpose is to help elevate the voice of youth to secure the legal right to stable and healthy environment. This lawsuit was filed because they believe that the US government has failed to protect its natural resources and act on climate change.
The federal case is Juliana vs US, but there have been many supporting lawsuits against state governments. One of the biggest cases is in Oregon, which was filed before becoming a federal lawsuit. It has been in the appellate court for about 3 years. Following the lawsuit in Oregon was Reynolds v. State of Florida, which was filed in April 2018, on constitutional grounds against Governor Rick Scott.
“Many stories written on this case have failed to write about the real issue. It is not about the government not doing enough, it is about how the government is actively causing climate change,” Caitlyn Howard, the communication director of Our Children’s Trust, said.
Graham’s goal is to get speakers and let others know the importance of climate change. Both Graham and Prater believe that Saxons, as a community, can lessen their carbon footprint and also speak out on climate change issues.
“I think the first step, as youth, and as a community, is to educate each other on what’s going on. Without that, there is no basis to the solution, as many people are still unaware of the problem,” Prater said.