Montana youth deliver explosive testimonies in climate trial: "I'm a prisoner in my own home"
Helena, Montana - The second day of the historic Held v. Montana climate trial took place on Tuesday with more explosive testimonies from youth plaintiffs.
In a first-in-the-nation case, 16 youth have sued the Montana state government for violating their constitutional right to a "clean and healthful environment" in permitting fossil fuel projects which drive up greenhouse gas emissions.
On day two of the historic trial, 14-year-old Mica took the witness stand to testify on how the state of Montana's failure to address the climate crisis is impacting his quality of life, saying his first awareness of climate change came after his parents showed him the documentary Chasing Ice when he was four years old.
"I understood it more than my parents thought I would," he testified, according to The Guardian. "I just knew something bad was happening, but I didn't know exactly what it was."
Mica cried after watching the movie. His parents helped him write a letter expressing his concerns about the climate crisis to Democratic Senator Jon Tester, but all he got back was an automatic response.
The Missoula teen has learned more about the climate emergency in the years since. He loves being outside and jogging, but he has trouble going for runs with the smoke from wildfires.
Mica said he feels "trapped" when he can't work out outdoors.
In 2020, Mica caught Covid and had to isolate from his family in his basement. He could not go outside due to the hazy conditions and has since been diagnosed with asthma.
"I'm a prisoner in my own home," he wrote in a poem during his lockdown, which he read out loud during the trial.
Second youth plaintiff takes the stand in Day 2
Later in the day, another youth plaintiff, 15-year-old Badge, shared his love for Montana's natural landscapes with the court.
"I wouldn't choose to live anywhere else," he said.
A lover of hunting, fishing, and hiking, Badge said he has seen firsthand how Montana's natural areas have changed even within his own lifetime.
The Kalispell native's name comes from the Badger-Two Medicine, an area of protected land near Glacier National Park which was devastated by wildfires in 2015.
"Being with my namesake, it's saddening," he said with tears in his eyes.
The groundbreaking trial is set to run until June 23.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire