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Youth plaintiffs gather before the start of the Navahine F. v. the Hawai'i Department of Transportation hearing at the First Circuit Environmental Court in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, on January 26, 2023. Pictured left to right: Ka’ōnohi P.-G., 16, Kawahine‘Ilikea N., 13, Taliya N., 15, Navahine F., 15, Mesina D.-R., 15, Kalā W., 19, Rylee K., 15, and Kawena F., 10. (Elyse Butler for Earthjustice)
feature June 20, 2024

How Hawai‘i’s Youth Advocates are Fighting for Hawai‘i’s Future

As the climate crisis threatens their land, food, and traditions, 14 youth advocates took the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation to court to spur climate action.

Youth plaintiffs gather before the start of the Navahine F. v. the Hawai'i Department of Transportation hearing at the First Circuit Environmental Court in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, on January 26, 2023. Pictured left to right: Ka’ōnohi P.-G., 16, Kawahine‘Ilikea N., 13, Taliya N., 15, Navahine F., 15, Mesina D.-R., 15, Kalā W., 19, Rylee K., 15, and Kawena F., 10. (Elyse Butler for Earthjustice)
Press Release: Victory June 20, 2024

Historic Agreement Settles Hawaiʻi Youth-Led Constitutional Climate Complaint

Transportation Department commits to bold action to achieve 2045 zero emission goals

document June 20, 2024

Settlement Agreement: Navahine v. Hawaiʻi Dept. of Transportation

Youth plaintiffs Navahine F., et. al, and Edwin Sniffen, in his official capacity as HDOT Director, have executed a Settlement Agreement.

In the News: Fast Company January 31, 2024

Hawaii is at the forefront of clean energy (or is it?)

Isaac Moriwake, Managing Attorney, Mid-Pacific Office: “Rooftop solar is our No. 1 success story. It jumpstarted our renewable energy growth and also captured the public’s imagination. We’ve made progress on the electric side, but we are not making progress overall. We are not going to get to our overall decarbonization goals unless we confront the…

In the News: CNN August 20, 2023

Hawaii’s climate-change lawsuit going to trial next summer

Isaac Moriwake, managing attorney of Earthjustice’s Mid-Pacific Office, explains the constitutional climate lawsuit files by 14 young people against the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT); HDOT Director Jade Butay; Governor David Ige; and the State of Hawaiʻi.

In the News: Grist August 7, 2023

Hawaii’s youth-led climate change lawsuit is going to trial next summer

Kylie Wager Cruz, Attorney, Mid-Pacific Office, Earthjustice: “We have an opportunity with this case to transform Hawaii’s transportation system to benefit all of Hawaii’s people.”

Youth plaintiffs gather before the start of the Navahine F. v. the Hawai'i Department of Transportation hearing at the First Circuit Environmental Court in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, on January 26, 2023. Pictured left to right: Ka’ōnohi P.-G., 16, Kawahine‘Ilikea N., 13, Taliya N., 15, Navahine F., 15, Mesina D.-R., 15, Kalā W., 19, Rylee K., 15, and Kawena F., 10. (Elyse Butler for Earthjustice)
Press Release August 3, 2023

Trial Dates Determined in Navahine F. v. Hawai‘i Department of Transportation

First Circuit Judge John Tonaki will hear arguments in the lawsuit beginning in June 2024.

Press Release May 25, 2023

Youth Plaintiffs in Navahine v. Hawai‘i Department of Transportation Argue Against Delays in Historic Climate Case

State Transportation Department sought to postpone trial 8-12 months

Press Release April 6, 2023

Judge Rules in Favor of Hawaiʻi Youth Plaintiffs in Climate Case Navahine F. v. Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation; Case Will Proceed to Trial

Case argues state’s transportation system causes high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, violating youth plaintiffs’ state constitutional rights and public trust doctrine

In the News: The Honolulu Star-Advertiser January 27, 2023

Hawaii youth file lawsuit against state regarding emissions

Leina’ala Ley, Attorney, Mid-Pacific Office: “While other sectors have taken significant steps in the past few decades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the Hawaii Department of Transportation remains trapped in the past, doing business as usual and failing to take advantage of opportunities that are available now to provide Hawaii’s residents with more and cleaner…

Press Release January 26, 2023

First Court Hearing in Historic Youth Climate Rights Case Held in Hawai‘i

Navahine F. v. Hawai’i Department of Transportation argues state’s transportation system causes high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, violating youth plaintiffs’ state constitutional rights and public trust doctrine

In the News: Popular Science November 5, 2022

Some climate activists aren’t suing over the future—they are taking aim at the present

Leinā‘ala Ley, Attorney, Mid-Pacific Office, Earthjustice: “We don’t have to look to the future here. We can just look unfortunately to the present to see the kind of havoc that climate change is wreaking.”

Youth plaintiffs and supporters hold up signs after the Navahine vs the Hawai'i Department of Transportation court hearing in Honolulu, Hawaii on January 26th 2023. (Elyse Butler for Earthjustice)
case June 1, 2022

Navahine v. Hawaii Department of Transportation

14 young people filed a constitutional climate lawsuit against the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation (HDOT); HDOT Director Jade Butay; Governor David Ige; and the State of Hawaiʻi. In Navahine F. v. Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation, the youth plaintiffs claim that their state DOT’s active operation of a transportation system that results in high levels of greenhouse…

document June 1, 2022

14 Hawai‘i Youth File New Climate Lawsuit Against State Transportation Department

14 young people filed a new constitutional climate lawsuit against the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (HDOT); HDOT Director Jade Butay; Government David Ige; and the State of Hawai‘i. In Navahine F. v. Hawai‘i Department of Transportation, the youth plaintiffs claim that their state DOT’s active operation of a transportation system that results in high levels of greenhouse gas emissions is causing significant harm to their communities, violates their constitutional rights, and undermines their ability to “live healthful lives in Hawai‘i now and into the future.”

Youth like Kaliko, Kā'onohi, and Navahine (pictured here) have a right to a "healthful environment" under the Hawai‘i state constitution, but under current state policy transportation pollution will increase to an alarming 9.15 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
(Photos used with permission)
Press Release June 1, 2022

14 Hawai‘i Youth File New Climate Lawsuit Against State Transportation Department

Children growing up today face at least twice as many extreme climate events such as heat waves and floods in the course of their lives compared to people born in 1960

document May 31, 2022

Hawai’i Dept of Transportation Climate Complaint

Youth Plaintiffs are children of Hawai‘i — keiki o ka ‘āina (children of this land) — who are being seriously injured because Defendants establish, maintain, and operate a state transportation system that violates Hawai‘i constitutional mandates to protect public trust resources and the environment by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and decarbonizing the transportation sector.