Commonwealth Policy Center

Youth activists in Montana sued the state for failing to protect the environment from greenhouse gas emissions. And they won. A judge ruled that Montana must consider climate impacts when approving new fossil fuel projects. The case has a purported constitutional basis. This is because the Montana state constitution guarantees residents “the right to a clean and healthful environment.” The plaintiffs, ranging from ages 5 to 22, argued that fossil fuel emissions have harmed ranches, careers like ski instruction, mental health, and Native American ceremonies. There may be disagreement as to how best to use fossil fuels, but there’s common ground that caring for the natural world benefits all of us. In Genesis 1, we’re told that people were created by God to be a good steward of the earth. And when we do this, we honor God and show care for our neighbor.