Our Future is a Constitutional Right! How to Use Our Rights to Defend What We Love

200 minutes
Approximately four 50-minute classes: interactive activities supported by power point slides.
Primary subjects: 
Civics and Government
Grade: 
9, 10, 11, 12
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About

Lesson 6 explores a game-changing action in real time – how to use our rights to defend against government abuses of power and to establish new rights to a healthy atmosphere and stable climate system. Students consider why people seek judicial relieve and examine basic elements of a civil lawsuit, drawing on real examples from the youth-driven landmark climate cases in federal and state courts. Students explore: “standing” in a court of law; how protected classes and new rights are recognized; rights under the Public Trust Doctrine; and more. Students gain an understanding of how values, law, science, and politics interface when addressing complex public problems with multiple perspectives.

Key objectives for students
Describe why people seek judicial relief and how to bring a civil case to court.
Describe how a protected class and new fundamental rights are determined and give examples.
Explain the basic principles of the Public Trust Doctrine.
Describe examples of remedies for harm in constitutional rights cases and, specifically, in some of the youth climate cases.
Explain how a “landmark” case establishes new protected classes or fundamental rights and give specific examples from Juliana v. U.S.
Describe how the court system is organized and how civil cases proceed through it.
Secondary subjects
Economics, Environmental Education, Social Studies
Skills
Collaboration, Communication skills, Creative problem solving, Critical Thinking, Systems thinking
Values
Empathy, Global Leadership, Mindfulness
Methods
Multi-Disciplinary, Project-Based Learning, Real-World Application
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