Our Children’s Trust and Zerohour.Org–Youth Striving to Beat the Climate Change Clock, The Blackfly–Freakin’ Cool Electric Flying Machine, Climate Champion Jamie Margolin

by | Aug 17, 2021 | Podcasts, The Climate Daily

Our Children’s Trust and Zerohour.Org–youth striving to beat the climate change clock. The Blackfly–freakin’ cool electric flying machine, and climate champion, Jamie Margolin.





In 2017, the 45th president of the United States announced his administration’s intention to withdraw America from the Paris Agreement. Seattle teenager Jamie Margolin was distraught by that announcement. But did she just roll over and cover her head with her pillow? No, she co-founded the non-profit protest group Zero Hour with Nadia Nazar, Madelaine Tew and Zanagee Artis.  

According to its website, Zero Hour is an international youth-led climate action organization. With the mission of centering the voices of diverse youth in the conversation around climate and environmental justice, Zero Hour organizes marches, rallies, climate strikes, mobilizations, lobby days, speaking tours, educational programming, social media campaigns, and summits to bring urgency and awareness to the climate crisis.

In September 2018, Margolin was part of a youth group that sued Governor Jay Inslee and the State of Washington over greenhouse-gas emissions in the state. The case was dismissed but has since been appealed Washington Court of Appeals. 

Since then, Margolin’s writing about climate change has appeared in HuffPost, Teen Ink and CNN. Margolin has received beaucoup accolades: She was part of Teen Vogue’s 21 Under 21 class of 2018; in that year she was also named as one of People Magazine‘s 25 Women Changing the World. In 2019, Margolin won a MTV Europe Music Awards Generation Change award. She also garned a 2020 GLAAD “Under 20 Honoree” award for her LGBTQ climate advocacy.

Margolin is a registered plaintiff in the Aji P. v. Washington case, suing the state of Washington for their inaction against climate change on the basis of a stable climate being a human right.

In September 2019, she was asked to testify on a panel called “Voices Leading the Next Generation on the Global Climate Crisis” alongside Greta Thunberg for the United States House of Representatives. And in 2020, Hachette Books released Margolin’s first book, Youth to Power: Your Voice and How to Use It.

DEEPER DIVE: Wikipedia, Zero Hour, GLAAD, Jamie’s IG,



Back on July 21st, 2018, then 17-year-old Punett Juhal was participating in a Zero Hour climate change march in New York City. It was one of several simultaneous marches coordinated by the Zero Hour youth climate action network that day. 

When New Yorker staff writer Carolyn Kormann asked her where she learned about climate change, Juhal said she remembered first learning about climate change in the “Arthur” and “The Magic School Bus” cartoons. And that’s why Zero Hour had to be created. Because public television helped raise a generation of climate change-savvy youth who refuse to sit back and wait for the adults in the room to act.

In fact, when Kormann asked Juhal why she attended the Zero Hour march, Juhal replied, “I mean, this is our reality. Our politicians? They should be embarrassed that they’re not doing anything,” 

And that’s why Zero Hour matters to us. Surf on over to their website, and the first thing you’ll notice is a countdown clock to zero hour. When is it? In about eight years and 135 days and counting down. The date, is December 31, 2029. What happens when we reach midnight on that date?

Before we go there, let’s talk about what Zero Hour is: Zero Hour is a movement led by youth who are determined to advocate for concrete solutions to stop climate change and hold adults and elected representatives accountable for their inaction surrounding it. They do that through marches, trainings, and other actions. Currently, Zero Hour has about 40 chapters on every continent and subcontinent, except for Antarctica.

Okay, so what is the significance of Zero Hour, midnight December 31, 2029? There is widely held consensus by the UN, and members of the scientific, political and climate advocacy communities, that as of January 1, 2020, human beings had a ten year window to reach net zero globally, or the worst impacts of climate change will come to pass. That’s the deadline, December 31, 2029. Tik Tok people.

DEEPER DIVE: Zero Hour, New Yorker, Baltimore Sun 



The youth-led climate activist group Zero Hour says it bases its platform on that of a lawsuit levied against the United States federal government by an organization called, Our Children’s Trust. So what is Our Children’s Trust, and why do they matter to us? 

Our Children’s Trust claims to be the world’s only non-profit public interest law firm that provides strategic, campaign-based legal services to youth from diverse backgrounds to secure their legal rights to a safe climate. The group has two guiding principles:

  1. Advocating on behalf of youth and future generations and
  2. Advocating for legally-binding, scientifically-based climate recovery policies.

Since its inception in 2011, Our Children’s Trust has supported legal actions on behalf of American youth in all 50 states. Currently, it represents young people in five US states on pending climate change cases. Those states include Alaska, Florida, Montana, North Carolina and Washington State.

Its most famous legal action to date has to be Julianna vs. The United States of America. It was brought by then 19-year old Kelsey Juliana. In 2015, Juliana, along with 20 other American youth filed a Constitutional Climate Change lawsuit against the US government. Their complaint asserts that through the government’s affirmative actions that cause climate change, and thus have violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property, as well as failing to protect essential public trust resources.

Six years later, the case has ping-ponged back and forth in court. If it weren’t for the resources of Our Children’s Trust though, this case would have been dead years ago. Why does this matter to us? AS US District Judge Ann Aiken said, “Exercising my reasonable judgement, I have no doubt that the right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life is fundamental to a free and ordered society.”

DEEPER DIVE: Our Children’s Trust, Juliana vs. USA,



The Silicon Valley company Opener has got the perfect personal aerial vehicle for you. It’s called the Blackfly, although it looks way more like a giant bumblebee. Some people have even described it as two small boat hulls bolted on each other. 

Marcus Leng, current CEO of Opener, developed his flying car prototype 10 years ago, and tested it in his own yard in Canada. It didn’t crash and he didn’t die, so he moved to California and started seriously developing the Blackfly. In 2018, Leng was awarded the Experimental Aviation Associaton’s August Raspet Award for his contribution to the advancement of light-aircraft design. 

The company claims it will build, sell and have operational 25 Blackfly personal aerial vehicles in the next year. Given that it’s been FAA-Certified as a Part 103, ultralight aircraft, this may well be true. Part 103 rules allow a single-person, ultralight aircraft to be flown by a person without a pilot’s license, under very specific conditions—like away from people, in good weather and during daylight hours only. So actually, kind of restrictive.

Why does the Blackfly matter to us? The freedom to fly by yourself, without needing a pilot license, on an aircraft that’s easy to operate and doesn’t harm the environment – what more could you want?

DEEPER DIVE: Robb Report, NYT, Blackfly