Eugene, Oregon- Jayden Foytlin, a shy 13-year-old from Rayne, Louisiana -- who loves K-Pop and science class -- sat in front of a federal judge here Tuesday. She wore a choker necklace and Weezer glasses.
She wasn't here to observe.
Foytlin is one of 21 young plaintiffs suing President Obama and various federal agencies over what she calls the United States' failure to protect her right to a future not wrecked by climate change.
It's a lawsuit that has been called the "biggest case on the planet" -- one that makes a constitutional argument that young people and unborn generations are being discriminated against because they don't have the right to vote but will be most affected by runaway warming.
The kids also are making the claim that their rights to life, liberty and property are being infringed upon by the stronger storms, scarier droughts and rising seas that come with warming.
It's a case that some would call a long shot but that I see as a heroic attempt to force the government to do what the science calls for: nearly eliminating fossil fuels this century.
President Obama deserves credit for tackling climate change as no other US president has.
But scientists will tell you that isn't enough -- not even close.
At the Tuesday hearing, Judge Ann Aiken listened to oral arguments from Julia Olson, the kids' attorney, as well as those from lawyers for the US Department of Justice and the fossil fuel industry -- who, tellingly and somewhat tragically, argued in virtual lockstep on this issue.