Live on Zoom! Lee van der Voo, in conversation with Kendra Atleework - As The World Burns

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Do children have a right to inherit a livable planet, and if so, is the government obliged to protect it? That's the question posed by Juliana v. United States, one of the most critical lawsuits of our time.

Twenty-one young people from across America sued the federal government over climate change, charging that US actions to promote a fossil fuel economy violate their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property. Their trial could be the civil rights trial of the century. But it hasn't happened yet. While rare legal tactics attempt to stymie the case, As the World Burns follows the plight of the young plaintiffs, chronicling their legal battle through a year of drought and wildfire, floods and hurricanes, and the most tumultuous political season in modern history.

Acknowledging that forces larger than themselves are stealing their childhoods as well as their futures, the plaintiffs wrenchingly describe personal experiences with recurring "thousand-year" floods, wildfire smoke so thick they can't ride a bike to school, drought that threatens family farms, and disappearing coastlines that send waves lapping ominously at their doors. Along the way, journalist Lee van der Voo weaves their experience into a broader narrative of America, where politics and policy threaten the very existence of our youth and our way of life. As the World Burns is climate breakdown like you've never seen it--through the eyes of the young.

Lee van der Voo is an award-winning investigative and environmental journalist whose work has appeared in the New York Times, The Atlantic, and The Guardian, among others. Her 2016 book, The Fish Market, which chronicles the gentrification of the sea in the name of sustainable seafood, won an Oregon Book Award for General Nonfiction.

Kendra Atleework received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. An essay that formed the basis for a chapter of Miracle Country was selected for The Best American Essays 2015. She is the recipient of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and the AWP Intro Journals Project Award.

 

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