A one-of-a-kind class action case launched on behalf of eight teenagers against the government’s approval of yet another shitty coal mine, has made it to full trial.

If successful, this case will quite literally change how our government deals with climate change FOREVER.

The first mini-trial took place on November 6, and was launched to stop Environment Minister Sussan Ley from approving Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine near Tamworth, NSW.

Levy has now agreed to defer her decision on the approval of the coal mine, until the full trial on March 2, 2021. HUGE.

It’s a super important case, because it will test for the first-time whether the climate impact on young people is an adequate enough reason to not build new coal mines.

It’s also the only class action on climate change in the world, where everyone is under 18.

PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke to one of the eight teenagers involved, Anj Sharma. Sharma is just 16, but said that she’s always been “really passionate about activism.”

“I grew up in a family where climate change was really highly discussed,” she added.

If the mine is built, Sharma said that “it’s going to emit 350-million tonnes of carbon dioxide” over its lifetime. That’s why it’s so important to stop the creation of mines like this, for the sake of our bloody future.

“As young people we’re the ones who are going to be the future. The politicians in office right now, the decisions that they make aren’t going to affect them, they are gong to affect us,” she said.

“Our future runs on whatever the Environment Minister is doing now, whatever Scott Morrison is doing now.”

The eight young Australians got involved with the Vickery coal mine case through School Strike For Climate, an organisation that unites young people in putting pressure on politicians to take climate action.

“I joined School Strike a few years ago, and I’ve been involved in holding those strikes. I was involved in the one in Melbourne last year – where 200,000 people turned out to Melbourne CBD to demand climate action,” Sharma said.

So what will it mean if the case is successful? According to David Barnden, the lawyer on the case, “it could set a really important precedent for future fossil-fuel projects in Australia.”

“They [under 18-year-olds] don’t have the means that other people have to change policy like voting in an election, or even running for office. They are more vulnerable than other members of society,” Barnden told PEDESTRIAN.

Another reason why climate litigation is so important is because it’s an alternative to political pressure. Before, the power was firmly in the hands of our politicians. Whereas if this case is successful, young people can now take them to court for lack of duty-of-care.

“In the circumstances where there might not be enough political will to address the climate crisis. It’s very encouraging to see younger people take the fight to the courts,” Barnden said.

Since the case was filed on September 8, nearly 1500 young people have registered for the class action suit.

You can register your interest for the class action here. 

Image: Getty Images / Monty Rakusen