Climate action heats up in court

3rd July 2018

On 4th July 2018 there was an historic hearing at London’s High Court, where climate charity Plan B sought to hold the UK government to account over its legal commitments to the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Raleigh alumni Jimmy, who is volunteering with the charity, tells us about the reasons for the legal action, why he’s passionate about protecting our environment, how you can get involved, and what advice he would give to other young people about standing up for causes they believe in.

“I joined the Plan B team earlier this year while at university and have been helping build a movement in support of our hearing against the UK government at the Royal Courts of Justice on Wednesday 4th July.

“By volunteering, I’m helping to support Plan B and the 11 UK citizens (aged 9 to 79) who are suing the UK Government for failing to set a safe climate target. The aim of the legal action is to force a revision of the Climate Change Act and establish a more ambitious UK carbon target aligned with the Paris Agreement and more recent climate science.

“We’re taking this action to help mitigate the worst impacts of climate change. The consequences of climate change have been made clear by scientists for decades. It should not be left to individuals to solve problems caused by corporations and governments. But the time for broken promises and inertia is over. All other avenues have failed, so we are heading to the courts.”

Plan B is a charity supporting the growing global movement of climate litigation. Climate litigation groups around the world are seeking to hold governments and corporations responsible for climate change to account, through legal action upheld in the courts.

“We have been attempting to develop collaborative arrangements with other networks sharing similar goals, including within universities, environmental groups, and the wider public. We have planned a vibrant and creative event outside the High Court on 4th July. It will be open to all and those who attend can also see the hearing inside the courtroom.

“We’ve already had endorsements from political figures, like Green MP Caroline Lucas, and our cause has been covered in both mainstream and alternative media. A positive outcome  will hopefully see more people becoming aware of our case.”

Jimmy volunteered with Raleigh ICS in 2016 on a three-month UK government funded programme in Nicaragua. The experience revealed the challenges faced by rural communities in the country, the impacts of inequality, and the benefits of collaboration in tackling the challenges the world faces.

“I volunteered with Raleigh in a small community called El Yaraje. We worked on projects to provide improved access to drinking water and sanitation. We also focused on collaborative educational practices with young people in the community. For me, ICS highlighted that we have far more in common than that which divides us; however, the opportunities and resources we are given are entirely unequal both between and within countries. I feel that these structural and deep-rooted injustices must be addressed collectively if humanity is to progress.”

Jimmy is also a keen advocate of youth engagement in issues and believes in the power of active citizenship to change the world for the better.

“Young people have the ability and responsibility to hold power to account. We all have a responsibility to be active citizens and challenge both the overt and invisible forms of injustice: being passive makes us complicit.

“As active citizens we must also recognise that while our struggles are diverse, as individuals we are restricted in our capacity to resist, but collectively we are powerful. Collaborative approaches must be explored.

“My involvement with Plan B is just one way to actively take a stand and hold power to account. There are countless campaigns to get involved with. My advice to fellow Raleigh alumni, and future volunteers, would be to ensure you choose one that you feel strongly about and believe in. If such a campaign does not exist, then create it: be the change you want to see in the world.”

You can follow Plan B on Facebook or Twitter, or visit their website.

Related posts