Xiuhtezcatl Martinez – The teenage campaigner waking up the world

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a teenage activist whose campaigning has caught the attention of the world’s media like never before.

A passionate and eloquent champion of the natural world, Martinez has stated that it is his generation which has the ‘most to lose’ from climate change and its effects.

Since the age of six, Xiuhtezcatl (pron. shoo-tez-cat) Martinez has been actively involved in sharing his ideals and has held successful TED Talks, been interviewed by the BBC, Rolling Stone and VICE and has sued the US Government for violating his fundamental human rights as a result of what he claims are destructive environmental policies.

Coming from Meshika or Aztec ancestry, Xiuhtezcatl’s mother founded the Earth Guardians as an accredited high school in Maui, Hawaii in the early 1990s, bringing together the first group of kids who are known as “a resilient movement with youth at the forefront…empowering them as leaders and amplifying their impact.”

Since then it has grown, and the entire Martinez family has become involved in the process.

Utilizing social media, the Earth Guardians have amassed an impressive following of supporters and fellow activists. Through their YouTube channel, Facebook Page and public appearances, the movement is making its mark.

“I stand before you representing my entire generation,” Xiuhtezcatl Martinez told the United Nations. “Youth are standing up all over the planet to find solutions. We are flooding the streets and now flooding the courts. We need you to take action. We are all indigenous to this earth.”


When asked what his ethos of “changing human consciousness around climate change” meant, Martinez told Rolling Stone:

“We don’t have to all stop using fossil fuels entirely and go live in the woods. That’s not what this is at all about. It’s about understanding — seeing — that the way we’re interacting with the world is destroying the planet. We see the Earth as something we can use, something we can take from — cut down the last forest, fish the last big fish in the ocean. There’s a disconnect between the problem and the cause, because we don’t want to admit to ourselves that we have created this catastrophe. To make that connection is tough. That’s asking people to change the way they think. Which is tougher than asking people to change their light bulbs.”

Martinez’s story was told in the short film Kid Warrior, in which more can be learnt about his work and the Earth Guardians movement.