Earth Guardians

week 16:  this week i'm gonna... help save the earth

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Meet Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shu-tez-caat) Martinez - the teenage superstar of the youth-led climate movement. He is mobilizing an army of teens in 25 countries to demand greener policy from our world's leaders. As youth director of Earth Guardians, Martinez has begun organizing young people around the planet to become a collective of leadership in climate change.

Martinez's traditional Aztec upbringing helped him develop a strong connection to the natural world early on, and he began passionately defending it at a time of life when most children are just learning to read. Inspired by the documentary film The 11th Hour, he emerged as a leader for the youth climate movement at the age of six. The film’s depiction of the state of the environment, he says, made him cry inconsolably for six hours. He told his mom he planned to do everything in his power to make a change, stepped onto the stage at a climate rally, and never looked back.

Dubbed the “anti-Bieber,” Martinez rallies supporters of every age and creed through school presentations, a unique brand of eco hip-hop, and heartfelt speeches. He performs internationally at music festivals, organizes demonstrations, and has spoken at over 100 high-impact rallies, events and conferences around the globe. In 2013, he received the United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and he was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President's youth council. 

Now, at age 15, his résumé tells the story of a person who has spent 60 percent of his life tirelessly advocating for change. In his hometown of Boulder, Colorado, his work has helped ban pesticides in public parks, introduce a fee on plastic bags, and enact a moratorium on fracking. In June 2015, Martinez addressed the United Nations to encourage global action on climate change. You can see his speech here:


 
 

Earth Guardians is a tribe of young activists, artists, and musicians from across the globe who are stepping up as leaders for the climate change movement. Led by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, their mission is to empower and elevate the voices of a rising generation of climate solutionaries.

Through their RYSE program (Rising Youth for a Sustainable Earth), Earth Guardians has enlisted 15 amazing youth leaders who set out to train and empower thousands of young people in the climate justice movement. These leaders are currently organizing sustainability initiatives in their communities and are mobilizing teams of young people to make change.


Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Earth Guardians have frequently been in the news recently regarding their participation in a groundbreaking lawsuit against the U.S. Government and President Barack Obama. The lawsuit alleges that the government has not done its part and has not acted quickly enough to address climate change, putting future generations at risk for the harms of global warming. On March 9, 2016, 21 young people faced off against the federal government in U.S. District Court to argue that their case should go to trial.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez stands in front of his fellow plaintiffs and addresses the press after the hearing on March 9, 2016.

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez stands in front of his fellow plaintiffs and addresses the press after the hearing on March 9, 2016.

"We sat in this courtroom today, and we have filed this lawsuit, because the leaders we have elected to take care of our planet, and to take care of our country for our generation and those to follow, are failing to do their job," said Martinez, one of the 21 plaintiffs.

"My generation is going to be inheriting the crisis we see all around us today. We are standing up not only for the environment and the Earth and the atmosphere but for the rights we have to live in a healthy, just and sustainable world."

On April 8, 2016, Federal District Court Magistrate Judge Thomas Coffin ruled against the federal government and fossil fuel companies’ motions to dismiss the case, deciding in favor of the 21 young plaintiffs (meaning their lawsuit can move forward).  You can read more about the lawsuit here.


Notes for this week:

  • April 22nd is Earth Day - we encourage you to plant a tree, turn off the lights, or find other ways to conserve energy and respect our planet.
  • Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor community activation trainings around the country led by youth for their peers to help them engage in the climate change movement.
  • If you are interested in joining or starting a youth-led Earth Guardians crew, please check out the map to find the one closest to you or contact them here.
  • For further information regarding Earth Guardians and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, please check out their website.
 

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