What is a youth-organized youth climate court?
Youth-organized Youth Climate Courts (YCCs) are a powerful, cost-free way for young people to pressure their local government to live up to its human rights obligations around climate change. By putting human rights on the docket, youth can insist that their local government live up to its human rights obligations and take the climate crisis more seriously. Beyond being a rewarding experience for both youth and governments, YCCs offer young people a chance to speak up for their future, and local governments an opportunity to learn and adapt.
Tom Kerns is emeritus professor of Philosophy at North Seattle College, and Founder/Director of Environment and Human Rights Advisory. His work brings human rights norms to bear on environmental issues, especially on the climate crisis. In 2015 he served on the drafting group for the international “Declaration on Human Rights and Climate Change”, and he co-organized the 2018 Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal Session on Human Rights, Fracking and Climate Change. He is co-editor, with Kathleen Dean Moore, of Bearing Witness: The Human Rights Case Against Fracking and Climate Change (2021); and author of Youth Climate Courts: How You Can Host a Human Rights Trial for People and Planet, out in 2022 from Routledge. He lives in a small village on the central Oregon coast.