Colorado-raised eco-activist and rapper Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a powerful voice in the youth-led climate movement. He’s got a 2014 Ted Talk under his belt, and he received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama. He performs at international music festivals, organizes demonstrations, and has spoken at over 100 rallies and conferences around the world. The crazy part? The kid is 15 years old.
“We believe in the power of youth to disrupt the global leadership status quo. We envision young people confidently stepping up to lead projects, campaigns, and collective actions,” says Martinez, “This intergenerational movement is not waiting for others to take action.” (Oh snap!, you Millennials.)
He and his 12-year-old brother, Itzcuauhtli, regularly team up to give school presentations to inspire other young people to take action on behalf of the planet. Their musical performances amplify that message, with eco-sensitive lyrics written by the younger Martinez that will get you dancing and inspire you to take action to create a better world.
The elder Martinez began his green activism when he was six years old. Now as Youth Director of the group Earth Guardians, he spearheads projects including a fracking ban in Colorado, elimination of neonicotinoid use in the city of Boulder, and the launch of RYSE – a youth empowerment campaign that will train more than 500 young “solutionaries” this year to become climate leaders in their own communities.
Last June, he delivered an impassioned climate change address to 200 delegates at the United Nations (UN) and he has a cameo in a short film being produced by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. In December, he’ll be in Paris addressing the 2015 Paris Climate Conference, better known as COP21. This year’s summit, for the first time in over two decades of UN negotiations, aims to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, with the goal of capping global warming below 2°C.
Their new album is Generation RYSE (an acronym standing for Rising Youth for a Sustainable Earth.) The website for their band Earth Guardians tells visitors:
We are a tribe of young activists, artists and musicians from
across the globe stepping up as leaders and co-creating the future
we know is possible. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
That site also offers a kid-friendly climate guide called 50 Simple Things (link here), updates on musical performances and rallies, and items you can buy to support their efforts (click on the Swag Tab).
“We don’t just get recognition because we’re young,” said Martinez, “We get recognition because we bring a unique conscious hip-hop to the stage that people aren’t seeing anywhere else.”
Images from Earth Guardians website