Kid Warrior: the world doesn't need saving - we do!

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his younger brother Itzcuauhtli (also an activist in-the-making).

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his younger brother Itzcuauhtli (also an activist in-the-making).

You may have heard of the young environmental activist, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, as one of the 21 American teenagers suing their government for failing to act on climate change and protect future generations (a lawsuit that is expected to go to court next February). Or as the "Youth Change Maker of 2013, awarded by Obama and speaker at several UN events. Or as the Youth Director of Earth Guardians - "a resilient movement putting youth at the forefront by empowering them as leaders and amplifying their impact" (founded by his mother and co-activist Tamara Roske).

Despite his young age (he recently turned 17) Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced ‘Shu-Tez-Caht’) is well-travelled, accomplished and growing into a powerful voice on the front lines of a global youth-led environmental movement. Perhaps because he doesn't see his age as a challenge but decides to embrace it and use it as a tool is his fight for our environment. As he says: "as young people, we have the advantage that the world will listen to us more so than adults because we're vulnerable and innocent." Or perhaps because he has some very insightful points to make. Such as this one:

"The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness not saving the planet. Because the planet does need saving - we do".

This month he released his first book, We Rise, "an action guide on how to face the biggest problems of today, including climate change, environmental racism, fossil fuel extraction and industrial agriculture by building a movement that restores the planet". On that occasion he has been a guest on several American talk shows, bringing the climate debate into the mainstream media while presenting clear ideas on what is needed to bring about change. On Real Time with Bill Maher he said this:

“One thing to note that is incredibly important is that one of the biggest problems we’ve made as a planet is that the community is depending on our politicians to do things for us when as constituents we also have to be a part of that process. Especially as young people, when our futures are so directly connected to the way that we address climate change that we have to be at the forefront of the conversation, but we have traditionally been left out”.

For more on Xiuhtezcatl watch the short documentary (from 2015) below and follow him and his work on Twitter