Laney mural depicts climate action

By Michelle Snider

Laney’s Eco Arts class gathered to paint a practice mural for Our Children’s Trust, before painting a larger version at San Francisco’s Civic Center on Sept. 8.

Laney College’s Eco Arts class brought color to climate change with a massive street mural in support of youth suing the U.S. Government for infringing on their constitutional rights.

Students and their instructors dipped paint brushes into plastic containers of thinned paint and filled the pavement with color on Sept. 5 on the asphalt next to the Art Center building. The #youthvgov mural was a practice run before the students painted a larger version at San Francisco’s Civic Center on Sept. 8, that was twice the size of the one in the alley.

Laney’s Eco Arts class presented their mural along with 49 other groups before the “Rise for Climate” marchers arrived. According to ABC 7 News, thousands protested climate change in San Francisco that day, marching from The Embarcadero to Civic Center.

Instructors Sharon Siskin and Andree Thompson learned about the case Juliana v. U.S. two years ago, in which 21 youth from around the U.S. took climate change to court. The youth are suing the government for infringing on their constitutional rights to freedom, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and land.

Inspired by this action, Siskin and Thompson sought out the organization responsible for helping the youth lead court dealings, ourchildrenstrust.org.

According to the organization’s pamphlet called “Pathway to Climate Recovery,” its goals are to tackle greenhouse gas pollution, ocean warming and acidification, sea level rise, and bring down carbon emissions.

“Look at these youth, these youth are doing an amazing thing,” Siskin said. “They are suing their government to make everyone see that we are squandering their future. They might not have a future.”

According to the website, the youth-led lawsuit Juliana v. U.S. was filed in the U.S. District Court for the district of Oregon in 2015. The filing declares that the U.S. government has allowed for climate change, which violates the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.

Our Children’s Trust organization put the instructors in touch with a local representative, Julia Twichelle, who joined the Eco Arts class as a student and has been working to bridge the gap between the course and the organization ever since.

“These kids are so powerful in their story, and it’s their future,” Twichelle said. “I think we all need to help guarantee that they are going to have clean water and clean air and a safe environment for their future and their children’s future.”