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Our Children's Trust

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Environment

Mission: Our Children’s Trust is the only non-profit public interest law firm in the world that represents only children and future generations to secure their critical legal rights to a safe climate. We work to protect the Earth’s climate system for present and future generations by representing these young people in global legal efforts to secure their binding and enforceable legal rights to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate, based on the best available science. Our legal work – guided by constitutional, public trust, human rights laws and the laws of nature – aims to ensure systemic and science-based climate mitigation planning and remedies at federal, state, and global levels. We seek legally-binding, country and statewide science-based Climate Recovery Plans that will return atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations to below 350 parts per million (ppm) by the year 2100: the scientific prescription for climate mitigation.

Target demographics: The environment, youth, and future generations.

Geographic areas served: communities all over the world

Programs: Groundbreaking Federal Lawsuit: Juliana v. United States is the landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, brought against the U.S. Government by 21 youth to secure their constitutional right to a stable climate and healthy atmosphere for all present and future generations. Bill McKibben and Naomi Klein call this ground-breaking constitutional climate recovery lawsuit against the U.S. government “the most important lawsuit on the planet.” (Read more about this landmark federal case, and stay up to date on the case’s progression on our website: www.ourchildrenstrust.org/juliana-v-us). Global Legal Actions: Our Children’s Trust has led, supported, and/or inspired youth climate cases in 18 countries outside the U.S., advancing legal actions to compel science-based government action on climate change in numerous global domestic jurisdictions. Currently, our team actively supports pending litigation in several countries, including federal climate cases that span North America (La Rose v. Her Majesty the Queen in Canada, to Jóvenes v. Gobierno de Mexico in Mexico and Juliana v. U.S. in the United States) and we are actively working with youth and lawyers to advance constitutional climate mitigation litigation against governments of several new global domestic jurisdictions. (Read more about our global cases here: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/global-legal-actions) State Legal Actions: Our Children’s Trust launched related youth-led climate lawsuits and legal actions in all 50 states during Mothers’ Day week in 2010. Those state proceedings advanced variously, with every case building upon the last, trailblazing the way to critical legal victories of undisputed evidence and new legal precedent in our courts. Youth at the fore of these state proceedings are presently awaiting decisions from the Alaska Supreme Court, and the judge in our Montana case, Held v. Montana, has advanced the case to trial which we expect sometime in 2022. Several other state actions are in active development. (Read more about our state work here: https://www.ourchildrenstrust.org/state-legal-actions)

Community Stories

45 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Alice S.2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I'm inspired by the young people who have taken on this work. Keep going.

Donor

Rating: 5

The fight to contain climate chaos continues, and what could be more vital than enacting strong laws to preserve a livable future for future generations? This organization and the ongoing lawsuit they promote, "Juliana vs the United States," give us all hope that the rights of young people will prevail over the mindless and dangerous "business as usual" of the big banks and corporations that continue to fund fossil fuel industries. In their dedication to the legal side of this cause, Our Children's Trust has captured *my trust*.

Donor

Rating: 5

OCT is on trial to fight for all of our futures. Their work is vital to all life on this planet. It’s not easy work, but could not be more necessary or meaningful.

Donor

Rating: 5

This is such an important organization! The work they do couldn’t be more important! Protecting our planet for the generations to come! Thank you for fighting this fight for all of us!

Leslie Mazullo W.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is doing the most important work: securing a safe, healthy, viable future for not just youth, but all of us on planet earth. All the other amazing social work, health care work, education work, amounts to little if we don't address climate change and climate catastrophe. The air we breath, the water we drink, the soil we plant and grow food in, the oceans and forests that breath life into our plant - all of these are contingent upon the success of Our Children's Trust.

Donor

Rating: 5

I am grateful to Our Children’s Trust for the vital work they’re doing to secure a livable world for my beloved children and grandchildren. The plaintiffs in Juliana vs. the United States and their attorneys are doing battle against overwhelming opposition, and it’s on behalf of my loved ones. I believe in them, and so I've donated to the organization as a gesture of support and appreciation.
I first learned about Our Children’s Trust and the lawsuit through news reports; later, I watched the documentary Youth v Gov. Whenever my own efforts as a climate activist seem pitiful and fruitless, when my spirits start to flag, I think of them, and I get back to work.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working for OCT was a wonderful experience! The attorneys could not have been more supportive of the interns and gave a lot of great feedback. I would recommend OCT to anyone interested in environmental litigation and climate change advocacy.

Vivienne P.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with Our Children's Trust is a dream job - there are few organizations that are so tight-knit and fired up to fight against climate change every day. Every person at this organization inspires me on a daily basis, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work here.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful experience working for OCT for a summer. Their attorneys and staff are profoundly dedicated to the climate movement and to their clients. The organization is advancing some of the most cutting-edge and impactful litigation in the country, and I felt honored to work there.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust (OCT) is showing leadership and foresight in its efforts to create a meaningful shift in the status quo by pushing for systemic change, change that will positively impact the youth and the generations to come. OCT's legal approaches in arguing for the right of young people to a stable climate are compelling, persuasive, and innovative. The passion stems from Julia Olson and her team, who care deeply about the youth that they represent and who are fully invested in the organization's mission to advance the youth's legal rights. The OCT team members effectively collaborate and support each other as they forge ahead to fight for the youth that they represent.

Through its legal claims and grass roots advocacy, the organization is strengthening the intersectionality between youth rights, civil rights, and environmental rights. These young people have brought important, valid claims regarding harms that they are suffering due to the current climate crisis and the actions of the government causing these harms. It is time the courts allow these young people to advance their claims in the courtrooms and stop pointing to the ballot boxes. Many of the youth are not even old enough to vote! These young people are knocking on the doors of our country's courtrooms demanding justice and not being allowed to enter.

As a legal clerk with OCT, I am able to see the team's passion and hard work firsthand. In the public realm, I am witnessing the momentum build. Supporters recognize that this fight is not only for the benefit of the youth in the lawsuits. It is for the benefit of ALL young people. The fight is for all of our children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbor children, students, any young people that we love. It is for those yet to be born, the ones that are just a twinkle in our eyes. I encourage everyone to join in supporting OCT's efforts to protect the plight of our youth and our planet.

“One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. Today, our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

When I first learned about Our Children's Trust I was immediately impressed. I had never encountered an environmental organization that recognized the severity of the climate crisis and the importance of system-wide change. OCT recognizes the systemic change needed to save our planet and is forcing the courts to recognize this as well.

But OCT is so much more than a legal organization; it represents a possible future where we listen to science and protect our youth. It is hard to be hopeful when the world is on fire but OCT’s work, and the young people they champion, provide me with inspiration.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I believe that Our Children's Trust is leading the country towards a better future for everyone on this planet. I have watched the 21 plaintiffs grow during the fight for our earth and appreciate all the work they are doing to keep this world habitable. Thank you OCT for everything you've done to keep people aware and fighting for what's right!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is a great group folks doing everything in their power to make this a better world for the generations ahead of us. I very much appreciate all the hard work they are putting in to keep the planet habitable for all of us, but especially the kids.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is doing the most important work possible to fix the climate crisis. And, they are doing it with and for the kids who are suffering most from the crisis. They are pretty darn relentless too, moving cases forward in lots of different places, and against some of the worst polluting countries. Thank you, Our Children's Trust! I am behind you all the way.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I want say that OCT has been inspiring in their diligent action towards securing a livable future for all people. By consistently putting forward new legal challenges to the anti-climate status quo, they advance one of the many fronts in the battle for our future. Seeing their banner alongside allied organizations gives one hope that through concerted effort in a variety of avenues we can truly be heard. They are in the courtrooms doing the exhausting work of navigating a hostile bureaucracy on behalf of those who are most vulnerable and providing a legal framework to continue the struggle for a future which is not for the few, but for all.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is perhaps the most important organization fighting for the recognition and action for the climate crisis in a tangible and meaningful way. By making a stable climate a constitutional right, this organization provides the path for the systemic change so desperately needed, their success is the success of all humans on this planet. This talented and unbelievably dedicated group of individuals are a beacon of hope, their task and vision is clear. Science and law should be one the same side, not law and politics; Our Children's Trust's constitutional rights solution to mitigate the climate crisis is the best chance humanity has at healing our planet.

"A vision without a task is but a dream.
A task without a vision is a drudgery.
A vision and a task are the hope of the world."
- Church of England, Sussex, England

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is a responsive and caring group. I have followed them for a long time on social media. Their Fight to protect the earth and their advocacy for legally binding, science-based climate recovery, is critical to future generations! These 21 youth plaintiffs are an inspiration to us all and set the finest of examples for young people everywhere.
Thank You OCT for your dedication and commitment to making a difference!! We all have the right to a safe climate!

"Children are the world's most valuable resource and it's best hope for the future" JFK

James S.9

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is just about that: our children and their children. It is not only reassuring but motivating to know that there is an organization working hard for the good of our planet's longevity. Thank you.

Michael C.14

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

In my just-released book ChiIdren's Voices in Politics, I feature the Juliana and other youth activists supported by Our Children's Trust (OCT) as inspirational examples of young people and their adult allies worldwide who are stepping up to the challenges shirked by our political leaders. Of the many issues in which youth are now leading the way, including gun control, democratic resistance (in Hong Kong and elsewhere), and racial justice, none is more important to confront globally and in the long run than the impending catastrophe of global warming and climate change. OCT's pro bono lawyers have conceived a brilliant legal case based on threats to the children's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property as a result of both neglectful and malignant government policy. I'll be closely following their multistate initiatives in the months and years to come!

Lois V.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to and tracking some of the legal cases these youth and their attorneys have carried forth in Colorado. Although losing the Martinez case (raised issues about the lack of protection for public health and the environment when it comes to oil and gas development) at our Supreme Court in 2019, they helped provide impetus for changes to our Oil and Gas Conservation Act so that it now clearly prioritizes health, safety, and the environment over industry profits. The youth and public trust doctrine are so important to fight the present and impending impacts of global warming.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I know one of the youth plaintiffs and have been so inspired by him (Nick) as I have seen him grow and develop in the atmosphere of courage and civic responsibility his role demands. And even if I did not know Nick and his family, I would be inspired and comforted - and, yes, challenged - by the determined action of youth to provide for their own future (in the unfortunate failure of their elders to do so).

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children’s Trust is a fantastic organization supporting the plaintiffs a significantly important legal battle that has ramifications for everyone on the planet. I proudly support them with a monthly donation. My experience with the organization has been warm and positive with every interaction.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I’ve supported Our Children’s Trust since I fell in love with Kelsey Juliana about 5 years ago on PBS. So smart, enthusiastic and committed to a better planet for our kids. After learning more about OCT that was it. Fantastic team, hurdle after legal hurdle, in it to win it! OCT is fighting for all our children and won’t give up. They’re a great investment.

Christine.202

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a supporter of Our Children's Trust for a few years now. I am grateful they are standing up for our shared planet Mother Earth. If our Mother Earth is unhealthy then all life that lives on her is also unhealthy. Life is sacred and until humanity respects the sacredness of all life we can never be free in Unity Consciousness. Separateness is an illusion and the Our Children's Trust knows this and feels this and is willing do what needs to be done to protect Mother Earth. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Shelley T.2

Donor

Rating: 5

I'm supporting Our Children's Trust with a monthly donation since they are working through the court system to force our government to actually address the Climate Crisis. Until we can elect congressional and White House representation that addresses the Climate Crisis with the seriousness it deserves, the courts are our best and only hope of avoiding complete catastrophe. I hope you will join me. to fight the Climate Crisis on every front and help save the planet for our grandchildren.

Donor

Rating: 5

Long before the Green New Deal came into being or Greta Thunberg had started her Friday protest outside the Swedish Parliament, Our Children's Trust was drawing attention to our Climate Crisis and the need for young people's future to be protected under the Public Trust Doctrine.

I became a supporter of their cause in 2011 and have seen the case of these amazing 21 Youth Plaintiffs increasingly gain the attention and legal standing they deserve . Their battle was unique at the time. As more and more awareness comes about, their work is that much more significant. There must be U.S. governmental accountability once and for all - these youth and all young persons in this country and around the world are entitled to Justice and Action!

Luis C.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am happy to share my experience with Our Children's Trust.

Juliana v. the United States, the landmark Constitutional youth climate case, asserts the government has a “continued affirmative duty to safeguard public trust assets” and that there exists a “right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life.”

The right to a stable climate system, to prevent catastrophic levels of climate change, is a brilliant legal strategy.

The Juliana plaintiffs are united with courage and a clear vision. Our Children’s Trust is our best hope for life on Earth.

We will do all we can in support of OCT for as long as it takes, and will continue with community rallies at Eureka Springs, AR as the case progresses.

Thomas F.1

Donor

Rating: 5

I support Our Children's Trust... Excellent group for an important cause not just for America's youth. The case may have long-term effects nationwide and well beyond.

John J.5

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust have been nothing but up front about the battle they are engaging in. They are bringing the executive branch of the US government to court. David vs Goliath.
Their campaign has been very public and well communicated. I have watched their lawyer stand in court twice and seen videos of the litigants explain why this is so important.
I am not a US citizen, but have donated to support their cause, nay *our* cause. Every living thing on this planet depends on their success.
I have nothing but respect for these children and their legal council. I will continue to support until they see this through!

Regi S.

Donor

Rating: 5

I supported these young people as soon as I heard about their court case. Though they were repeatedly turned back by the courts, they persist and demand to be heard. Meanwhile, they educate others about climate change/global heating and hope for positive change.
As a retired college teacher deeply concerned about the future, I think theirs will be the most important court case in the 21st century. Godspeed!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My connection to Our Children's Trust began in Yellowstone National Park, the last park in which I worked before retiring from the National Park Service after 30 years. A young woman, Holly Bartlett, worked for me and was a top-notch interpreter (naturalist). She later married another Yellowstone employee, Matt McRae. I consider Holly one of my "adopted" children, employees who became life-long friends. As I came to know Matt, he became an "adopted" son-in-law. Both are incredible environmentalists and I'm lucky to have them as friends.

They gave birth to a beautiful girl, Avery, who, at an early age (I think perhaps five) collected donations to help save an animal she had fallen in love with, the snow leopard, and she's been an active environmentalist since. Avery is one of the inspiring and passionate plaintiffs in OCT's case against the federal government and her involvement was my first link to OCT. Then, Matt left his job with the city of Eugene to work for OCT.

But, it isn't just this amazing family's involvement with OCT that fueled my passion for supporting their efforts in any way I could - financially, as a cheerleader, getting the word out on Facebook and at rallies/marches I attended (pro-science, women's rights, etc.), and plain old word-of-mouth. No, it also goes back to who I am and my career with the NPS, whose mission includes this phrase (from the Organic Act of 1916, establishing the National Park Service): "...which purpose is to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." Let me emphasize that - FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS. This should be ingrained in every American, every global citizen, it seems to me. It's the old concept that we are stewards of this planet and should be leaving it to future generations in as good or better condition than we found it.

Our Children's Trust is committed to just that and they are one of the few groups who still inspire me and give me hope that it might just be possible to undo or at least minimize the damage we've (all of us earlier generations) done to our climate, to our planet.

I was so inspired and committed to them and their cause that, when the trial was to begin late October, 2018, I made arrangements to fly to Eugene, stay in an airbnb near the McRae's house for a week, hoping to be outside the courthouse, even if I couldn't be inside for trial proceedings. Before I left, the trial was delayed, but I decided to go, anyway. I volunteered a number of hours at the OCT headquarters, trying to help in any small way I could to free the staff for their more important work. It was a tremendous experience, meeting these bright, passionate, focused, fun people!

They are working for the rights of the 21 plaintiffs. They are working for us. They are working for future generations. There is no more important or urgent work than that and they have my full support. I love you, OCT! I love you, Avery, Holly, and Matt. (And I will proudly wear my OCT tee-shirt to continue to promote awareness!)

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently got involved with Our Children’s Trust as a volunteer and donor, and couldn’t be prouder to support their work. I truly believe they are the last, best hope to change our economy and entire system in time to make a difference with climate change. Getting involved with OCT has helped turn my hopelessness into positive action and optimism.

Donor

Rating: 5

I did a lot of homework when first learning about Our Children's Trust (OCT). And boy was I rewarded! I found their commitment to a better planet inspiring and heartening. This group represents the best of our human nature and they deserve to be heard and heeded.

I'll be watching their upcoming legal battles with a protective eye and strong support!

Suz Lipman

Donor

Rating: 5

I am extremely honored to support the vital work of Our Children's Trust. They represent the best of the climate justice movement, the next generation, and the good people who support both.

OCT empowers and assists young people in channeling their passion for the most crucial issue we face – the future of the planet and those who inhabit it. Best yet, their work is done with scientific intelligence, legal strategy, fiscal responsibility and, most importantly, a tremendous sense of humanity and respect for and from all involved.

Thank you to the whole OCT team, a truly Great Nonprofit, for its urgent mission and effective and heartfelt work.

Donor

Rating: 5

For the past year our first Congregational Church of Sonoma has worked with the OCT to help support the 21 news plaintiffs and Juliana versus the United States. The OCT is an amazing organization! It is filled with dedicated lawyers and staff who worked tirelessly to support the 21 youth plaintiffs. We have been so inspired by the work of OCT and the 21 youth that many of us traveled to Eugene Oregon this past weekend to be in solidarity with them on the steps of the US District Court. Of all the many nonprofit organization’s I have worked with in the past decades, the OCT stands out at the very top! It deserves our deepest gratitude and widespread support. John Donnelly, earth care committee, first Congregational Church of Sonoma.

Lisa S.8

Donor

Rating: 5

Amazing organization. Fighting the fight, fiscally responsible, transparent, and helping to save to save our environment in all the right ways. I recently attended the rally at the 9th circuit court in SF, it was not only inspiring and liberating, but for the first time in a long while, it made me feel hope. Give, give and give more to OCT!!!!!

Lisa

Allen S.1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

After retirement I decided to launch a website www,pasop.org which is an acronym for Peoples' Alliance Supporting our Obligation to Posterity (PASOP). My hope was to bring renewed attention to the directive within the Preamble of the US Constitution that we are to conduct our social dynamic such that benefits are shared equally by "ourselves and our posterity". When I read about Our Children's Trust I immediately was drawn to their cause, and offered what support I could, because it was clear their mission was totally congruent with that of PASOP, with the added advantage of much more expansive legal and scientific support. Their commitment and competence has given me hope that this message will gain the respect and attention the welfare of our youth and future generations deserve. Our Children's Trust has been, and remains and inspiration to me and our expanding PASOP family.

Donor

Rating: 5

We love this organization because it is doing the work vital for our environment, climate AND our children! The have been steadfast in their commitment to defending youth in the courts and around the world! This is no small feat and we believe in all the work they are doing.
Thank you to the whole team at OCT! Onward!

JillBMyers

Donor

Rating: 5

I first learned of Our Children's Trust in 2015. I am the founder of a sustainability startup and have been educating myself about the risks of climate change for over 10 years. My husband is a litigator and he was blown away by the uniqueness of their legal strategy.

We have 12 nieces and nephews ranging in age from 14 years to 2 years old. And while we may live long enough to experience the initial, most dramatic impacts of climate change in our lifetimes, they will be undoubtedly be burdened with adapting to it.

When we saw the faces of these 21 beautiful, diverse kids and read their stories, our hearts were moved beyond words. Finally, we found an organization with an innovative approach to securing the outcome that the vast majority of Americans want - urgent, focused action on climate change.

Our only wish is that we could do more. However, we take comfort in the fact that our contributions have helped this incredible team fearlessly and persistently pursue justice, not just for these amazing kids, but for all of us.

Thank you to Julia, Lou, and your amazing team. You are making history. Godspeed.

Cindy L.4

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was heartened by all 21 plaintiffs' reverence for life as I listened to them articulate their love of and concern for our planet on their Children's Trust website. I was inspired to support them by going to Eugene, OR, when they gathered there in anticipation of proceeding with their federal lawsuit against the government. I heard them personally and succinctly express themselves on the courthouse steps as an unfortunate "stay" had once again and only days before had been issued. It blocked what could have been the start of creating laws to insure the health of our planet and all of its inhabitants. The OCT team is tenacious! We should all rally behind them! Thank you, "21"!

Donor

Rating: 5

I discovered the work of Our Children's Trust (OCT) when one of their powerful youth plaintiffs— Kelsey Juliana— appeared on Bill Moyers to discuss OCT's lawsuits on behalf future generations who will share this planet. Ever since, we have been following, supporting and spreading the word of OCT’s actions. The need to focus on the environment is acute, now more than ever, as the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s recent report makes painfully clear. OCT is the group that has their eyes on the prize of a more healthy environment for future and present generations and they’re using the courts to get there. As with all justice movements—like the movements for racial, gender, economic equality—amplifying and supporting the movers and fighters on the front lines is vital, for those on the front lines have the most to lose. And in the fight for a livable, sustainable and just climate, those with the most to lose are the youth. Quite simply, they are the ones who’ll live through and battle the worst of our climate crisis. This world is not theirs to inherit. This world is theirs now. OCT represents these kids’ best chance for their day in court at a time when the executive and legislative branches are not doing enough. I heartily endorse them as a Great Nonprofit.

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust gives me the most value for any of my financial contributions. Their mission (stopping the pollution of our atmosphere with greenhouse gasses) is of utmost importance. Their approach is uniquely appropriate to the problem. It is a plainly stated review of well established evidence about the biggest threat to our species presented to the highest court in the nation. What better information to present and where better to present it. This amounts to the most effective and most direct challenge to the biggest enemies of humanity. Aside from the value of their mission, they are also a distinctively committed and hardworking group of people. I cannot recommend them highly enough.
Julian Bell MD, Ashland, Oregon, julianbell@hotmail.com

Donor

Rating: 5

Our Children's Trust is a wonderful organization doing amazing, meaningful work for all of us and all of our children by working to win legal rights for a clean and sustainable environment.
Their dedication and steadfast commitment to youth is remarkable and will have long-lasting solutions to these big issues!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

This is a truly inspirational organization. I am every day amazed at what people can do together to make a difference in the world and Our Children's Trust is a shining example of this.

Donor

Rating: 5

How do I love Our Children’s Trust? Let me count the ways.

* They want to save the planet.
* They do this by supporting science-based solutions to our climate crisis.
* They give a voice to the youth who will inherit whatever my generation leaves them. Just on that alone I owe them a lot.
* They have been great to work with, keeping me informed of what they are doing and making me feel a part of their effort.
* They care.
* They know their ‘stuff.’ I’m not a lawyer. They are.

Bottom line, you will feel better about yourself by being a part of their team which will assist us to get to the solutions we need on the climate crisis. The time is now and this is one very good way to get there.