A teen activist says young people need to lead the fight for climate change. “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
A 14-year-old from Colorado says young people can’t wait for the rest of the world to take action on climate change. “We’ve tried to get the attention of world leaders – to get them to wake up,” he said. “We’ve relied on them to make the change that we want to see. And it hasn’t happened.”
“The earth has been here long before us, and it will be here long after we’ve been wiped out,” said Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez. “The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness, not saving the planet. The planet doesn’t need saving. We do.”
As youth director of the environmental group, Earth Guardians, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez has mobilized young people from 25 countries to demand action from adults. Together with his 12-year-old brother, he has organized demonstrations and has spoken at climate change rallies worldwide.
Called “crews,” Earth Guardian groups are taking the future into their own hands: In Bhutan, teens are speaking at schools about waste management, climate change, and teen pregnancy. And in Seattle, crews are fighting to stop oil drilling rigs in the Arctic.
“My father taught me that all life is sacred,” he said, “that nature is a beautiful thing, and often we forget it.”
His activism hasn’t been well received by everyone, though — particularly after recent fights against fracking in his home state of Colorado. “We’ve gotten threats from the oil and gas industry,” he said. “My mom wouldn’t let me walk home by myself from school for the next two months.”
Undeterred, his website proclaims: “We believe in the power of youth to disrupt the global leadership status quo. In December of this year, we will share our progress at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. Our message to world leaders? JOIN US.”
#65: Wm Paul Young, “The Shack” author << 100 Acts of Male Goodness >> #67: Alvin Irby, Founder of Barbershop Books
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Photo: Earth Guardians