Why the Law can’t Help Us with the Climate Crisis, But Changing Hearts Can

Statue of Lady Justice holding scales

It is vital that we integrate our deep, gentle love for animals with hard and clear-eyed thinking about what makes action effective. In light of a recent major loss in the courts, it is clear that we can’t rely on the law to reverse climate change. What actions can we take to protect wildlife and our Earth?

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the United States recently threw out a lawsuit brought by 21 youth plaintiffs who accused the U.S. government of failing its constitutional mandate by refusing to act urgently and responsibly to address the existential threat of human-caused global warming.

In Juliana vs. United States the 9th Circuit court agreed with the plaintiffs’ argument that the U.S. government has operated as a barrier to climate action, but concluded that the courts were not the appropriate avenue for their complaint.

Remarkably, the panel agreed that the climate crisis has brought the world close to the “eve of destruction” and that “the government’s contribution to climate change is not simply a result of inaction.”

There are specific legal barriers that confine all judges who sincerely believe in American law, namely that nature is considered property which can rightfully be destroyed or consumed by its owner. The principles of corporate rights also stand in the way of significant legal change.

The legal system alone cannot enforce change without sweeping reform and support from the Executive and Legislative branches of the U.S. government. People, as always, hold the power to make substantive change in our human impact while nature holds a power of her own to implement change. It’s in our best interests to work in partnership with nature rather than suing for survival.

Please join us on Wednesday, March 11th at 6:00 pm MT (5:00 Pacific; 8:00 Eastern) as we work toward becoming a committed and supportive community of all beings. This is a virtual event held via Zoom video chat, so all are welcome, regardless of where you live. The cost is free, but advance registration is required.

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