Glori Dei Filippone of Des Moines is 13 years old and she is suing the government for not protecting the atmosphere.
Glori first got interested when she learned of the environmental costs of meat production, particularly the carbon emissions associated with the livestock industry, estimated to be 18% of global emissions.
She’s been working at the Des Moines, Iowa Farmer’s Market since she was eight years old. One day, a blind lady walked up to the stand and picked up an apple. She asked Glori, “Is this an apple?” Glori answered that it was. She then asked if it were red and Glori responded, “Yes.” The blind lady then shared, “It feels very beautiful, I’ll take a bushel.”
It really hit home with Glori how this woman didn’t need to see something to believe it was there. Glori equates this with climate change understanding, saying that we can’t deny all the evidence that climate change is there just because we can’t see it all the time.
She is part of a movement called iMatter in which thousands of young people are getting involved to change their environmental future. And one of the ways they are doing that is legally.
Last year, on Mother’s Day, she filed a petition at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources asking the agency to adopt and implement a Climate Recovery Plan. This plan, based on the best available science, would establish peak global carbon dioxide emissions by 2012, reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by at least 6 percent every year, and commit to widespread reforestation. The petition was denied (and the Chair scolded her for being vegetarian), so she brought her case to court. The district court judge dismissed the case so she is now heading to the Iowa Supreme Court on appeal.
Glori is also an actress and says she has learned from the experience of repeated rejections at auditions to never give up.
What does she want to be when she ‘grows up’? “I would love to become a scientist, a herpetologist [the study of reptiles and amphibians],” she says. But also, “my generation and the one after it are going to have to work hard to fix this mess.”
Photo credit: courtesy of OurChildrensTrust
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