In recent weeks, wildfire smoke has polluted the air across many parts of North America, putting the health and well-being of millions at risk. This is the latest climate-related event that is making headlines, impacting lives and causing real and significant harm to people. It follows a series of climate-related disasters that we have now — unfortunately — become all too familiar with.

In the past few years, British Columbia experienced a deadly heat wave, flooding has ripped through several provinces, and last year, my hometown of Ottawa was hit by a disastrous storm.

Many of these events have been record-breaking. How many of these records must be broken, how many communities uprooted, or how many lives must be endangered before governments take action to halt the climate emergency?

That is why I, and six other young people, are continuing our landmark court case against Doug Ford by appealing to the Court of Appeal for Ontario to hold his government accountable for climate action.

Climate change is caused by carbon pollution and every tonne of emissions adds to global warming. This leads to a quantifiable increase in global temperatures that is essentially irreversible on human time scales. Each incremental increase in temperature means an increased risk of extreme weather and the associated impacts to the health and lives of Ontarians.

But in 2018, the Ford government decided to gut Ontario’s 2030 climate target, enabling dangerous levels of emissions over the next decade.

So, in November 2019, seven young Ontarians — including myself — launched a legal challenge of the provincial government’s actions, arguing that by significantly weakening its climate target, it violated youth and future generations’ constitutional rights protected under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Scientists, other experts, and even the Supreme Court of Canada have warned that the climate crisis is a grave threat to humanity’s future. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued repeated warnings that we will shortly run out of time to avert a climate catastrophe.

In this context, young people like me have no choice but to act, including taking our governments to court.

Seven Ontario youths and their legal allies vow to continue their court battles against Doug Ford's government, arguing their right to a livable future and a safe planet is at stake, writes Alex Neufeldt @Ecojustice #ClimateEmergency #CanPoli #onpoli

I joined this legal challenge because I am worried about the impact climate change will have on my future. This is the time of my life when I should be making plans and focusing on my career. But I can’t do that securely because my provincial government is failing to take the threat of climate change, and the risks it poses to young people like me, seriously.

In April, our case received a decision from the Ontario Superior Court that found young people and Indigenous Peoples are disproportionately impacted by the harms of climate change. It also found Ontario’s target "falls severely short” of what the scientific consensus requires, and this increases the risks to Ontarians’ life and health, two things the charter is supposed to protect.

Unfortunately, the judge ultimately dismissed our case on some key legal points. In particular, the judge did not agree that Ontario’s target is arbitrary since it does reduce emissions to some degree.

All seven of us young Ontarians involved in this case are determined to continue and have now launched an appeal of this dismissal. Just because we did not succeed at Ontario Superior Court, does not mean we cannot succeed at the Court of Appeal or even the Supreme Court.

We are committed to this case not because it is easy, but because it is the right thing to do for us and future generations. We are not going to give up without a fight.

Around the world, it is young people who are at the forefront of the battle against the climate emergency. We are organizing in our schools, in our communities and in our workplaces. We are taking our message onto the streets and we are willing to go to court to fight this crucial battle.

Since we launched this case in 2019, the risk of a climate catastrophe due to politicians’ decisions has increased.

We will see this case through until the end because our right to a livable future is at stake.

Alex Neufeldt is one of seven young people who have taken the Ontario government to court for rolling back climate targets in the province. She joined the case because she is concerned about the impact climate disasters will have on young people and their chances at a safe and sustainable future.

Those involved in the court case are: Shaelyn Wabegijig, youth applicant; Zoe Keary-Matzner, youth applicant; Fraser Thomson, Ecojustice lawyer; Madison Dyck, youth applicant; Eric Wright, Ecojustice communications manager; Shelby Gagnon, youth applicant; Alex Neufeldt, youth applicant; Danielle Gallant, Ecojustice lawyer; Beze Gray, youth applicant; Sophia Mathur, youth applicant; and Vanessa Gray, Indigenous Climate Action.

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Keep up your fight. Yours is a worthy cause. Here's hoping the Appeals Court will smell the coffee.