Written by Mantsha, a grade 9 student
On the 3rd of September, six young people from Portugal, a country in Europe, filed the first-ever climate change case against 33 countries, at the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg, France
It is the latest in a series of legal actions brought by young activists worldwide, who are demanding urgent action on climate to protect their fundamental rights and safeguard their futures.
The lawyer of these young plaintiffs argues that the European governments’ current plans for cutting greenhouse gas emissions are not sufficient to prevent catastrophic climate change.
The issue is being raised as Portugal recorded its hottest July in 90 years. It was initiated three years ago after devastating forest fires killed over 120 people in 2017 in the country. Four of the plaintiffs are from Leiria, one of the most affected areas. The other two applicants live in Lisbon, which went through record heat of 44C in 2018.
Catarina Mota, a twenty-year-old who is one of the plaintiffs, said governments should act on scientific warnings because the climate crisis was already affecting young people psychologically and physically.
“I’m afraid for the future”, she said. Lately, she said, it has become impossible to exercise outside. The heatwaves are now extreme and repetitive. Catrina said that she lives with the feeling that her house is becoming more hostile every year. It scares her a lot.
I am so proud of the youths of this generation that they are taking legal steps and raising their voices and filing cases. I wish that everyone could come together and collectively raise their voices and unleash the power of their generation. Come together to fight climate change!
Where is Portugal
Portugal is a country located in southwestern Europe. On its west and south is the Atlantic Ocean and on the north and east is Spain. The official and national language is Portuguese and its capital is Lisbon
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