Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, the youth director of Earth Guardians, is active in major environmental organizations and addressed UN forums starting at age 14. The website states “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are #generationryse young people to change the world.”[i] (It also lists 50 actions that individuals can take.) He lives in Colorado where he is working to ban fracking and is reaching out to youth in 25 countries to join him and his brother Itzcuauhtliin to demand action from world leaders. They delivered a petition to world leaders at the Climate Talks in Paris in December 2015. He believes youth are listened to more than other age groups because of their vulnerability and innocence and believes their youth is a tool they can use. The brothers are also an eco-hip-hop duo with an album called “Generation Ryse.” He attributes his motivation to be an activist to being raised in the Aztec warrior tradition by his father and his as an environmental educator, his mother founded and directs Earth Guardians.
“We are Power Shift” is a grassroots online community acting as a clearing house for the youth climate movement. It provides a “State Networks Toolkit” for those who want to organize regionally.[i] Youth activists interviewed by Kristin Moe at a conference for young environmental and social activists often had “a radically holistic view of environmental justice that differentiates them from past generations of activists.”[ii] They see the environment connected to labor, race, class, immigration and education, the common activist theme of intersectionality. Her article in Yes! Magazine features activists as young as 11 working on local environmental problems such as mining, fracking (Kids Against Fracking was founded by Emma Bray, 14), and the Keystone XL pipeline. Teenagers in Colorado are involved in Our Children’s Trust where young people from all the US states are plaintiffs in a class action suit against their state governments for failing to protect the atmosphere under Public Trust Doctrine.[iii] It’s derived from English Common Law that defines water as a public resource.
[ii] Kristin Moe, “Meet the New Climate Heroes,” Yes! Magazine, October 25, 2013.