Hawaii youth are seeking accountability for climate change amid historic wildfires. Plus, an analysis of climate mentions in breaking wildfire news coverage.

by Emily Atkin and Arielle Samuelson, Heated

Before the wildfires that would eventually become the deadliest in U.S. history broke out in Maui, climate change had already upended 13-year-old Kaliko’s life.

The Native Hawaiian teenager lost her home in Hurricane Olivia, the first-ever recorded tropical storm to make landfall in Maui, in 2018. Scientists have found that climate change is increasing the risk of stronger and more frequent hurricanes in the state.

That tragedy was why, in 2022, Kaliko joined 13 other young Hawaiians in suing her state government for ignoring the climate crisis by promoting fossil fuels.

Deadly fires in Lahaina Maui

That lawsuit, scheduled for trial next year on June 24, claims that by failing to reduce emissions, the government is “endangering [childrens’] opportunity to live safe and healthy lives, enjoy the activities and access to places they have grown up enjoying, and perpetuate and pass on cultural traditions that rely upon healthy, functioning ecosystems.”

“I joined this case so nobody would have to experience what I have experienced, and so I can make the world a better place,” Kaliko, who was only identified by her first name due to her age, told Grist from her home in west Maui last week.

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