HUFFINGTON POST
05/13/2011 05:13 pm ET | Updated Jul 13, 2011

This Week's HuffPost Family Dinner Download: Global Warming And Youth In Action

In her new cookbook, The Family Dinner, Laurie David talks about the importance of families making a ritual of sitting down to dinner together, and how family dinners offer a great opportunity for meaningful discussions about the day's news. "Dinner," she says, "is as much about digestible conversation as it is about delicious food."

We couldn't agree more. So HuffPost has joined with Laurie to launch a new feature we're calling HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads. Every Friday afternoon, just in time for dinner, our editors highlight one of the most compelling news stories of the week -- stories that will spark a lively discussion among the whole family.

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While most teenagers are thinking about prom and summer plans, 16-year-old Alec Loorz has something else on his mind: global warming. He, with help from the Oregon-based non-profit Our Children's Trust (among others), has filed lawsuits or petitions against the federal government and all 50 states for not doing enough to prevent climate change. Loorz believes that the atmosphere is a "public trust" that deserves special attention. If the courts agree with Loorz, the case could be groundbreaking; although polluted rivers and coastlines have been declared "public trusts," the doctrine has never been applied to the atmosphere.

Loorz founded Kids vs Global Warming when he was just 12-years-old. He has organized the iMatter March, a series of marches around the world from May 7-May 14 that draw attention to climate change. From Albuquerque to Athens, Loorz has certainly proved that climate change is a global issue (see here for just how serious the effects have gotten). Now, imagine what he'll accomplish once he becomes a legal adult.

Do you think the youth of America can influence public policy? Are marches a successful means of political activism? If you were Alec Loorz, how would you draw attention to the problem of climate change? What other political issues should young adults focus on? What issue would you devote time to fixing? Should the youth have more say in government policy? Do you believe that the atmosphere is a public trust, like rivers and coastlines? What else should be a public trust? What are some practical solutions to solving climate change? What advice would you give Alec?

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To see last week's Family Dinner Download, click here.

Subscribe to receive HuffPost Family Dinner Downloads by email every Friday afternoon.

For more tips and recipes, check out The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time by Laurie David and Kirstin Uhrenholdt (thefamilydinnerbook.com).