Kelsey Cascadia Rose Juliana, 21, Eugene, Oregon
By Teen Vogue
No big deal, but Kelsey currently stands as a lead plaintiff in the federal lawsuit brought by Our Children’s Trust, filed out of the Eugene Federal District courthouse, known as Juliana vs. United States Government. “Our case argues that young peoples’ 5th amendment rights to life, liberty, and property and the inalienable rights to clean natural resources such as water and air are being violated through actions our government has and continues to take in funding and promoting excessive fossil fuel infrastructure, thereby contributing to climate destabilization and jeopardizing the security of young peoples’ future and violating our rights,” she tells Teen Vogue. Kelsey started her activism days early, organizing and leading a march around Eugene, Oregon for 350.org’s first national day of climate action when she was in fifth grade back in 2007.
“The past few years we’ve had states of emergency in Oregon due to drought and each year there are hotter and hotter temperatures. Seeing how climate change has had an impact in the five years since filing a suit for climate recovery in Oregon, and seeing how little action those who hold political power have enacted, makes me disappointed and concerned for the integrity of our democratic system and this planet,,” she says. Never one to miss a creative opportunity to raise awareness, she’s been heard chanting “Stop global warming or we’re all dead ducks,” in cheerleader outfits outside the University of Oregon Ducks football stadium on ESPN GameDay, and has been interviewed by CNN, PBS, The Atlantic, and other national media outlets.
“Some people don’t think much of the millennial and younger generations. They call us entitled, saying we lack drive and ambition. Well, we are entitled: to having our constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property upheld, and the climate justice movement is very much a youth-led one.” If you want to plug into a leading youth-climate-justice groups, she says, check out the Earth Guardians.