Xiuhtezcatl Martinez Bio
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, from Boulder, Colorado, came into the world through the Aztec culture on his father's side, and an environmental activist on his mother's side. He was given his name which was chosen by the Aztec elders of Mexico based on the cosmology of the Aztec calendar, at six weeks old in the Black Hills of South Dakota by elders Arvol Looking Horse and Xolotl Martinez. Xiuhtezcatl has been Aztec dancing since he could walk and is very connected with his culture. He grew up participating in ceremonies and learning to respect the Earth and all life upon it.
His deep connection with the Earth inspired him to be a voice for her at a young age, giving his first speech at a climate change rally when he was six. He has remained vigilant in his work as he has watched the trees and forests he loves die from beetle infestation, eco- systems collapse, and species disappear, which are a direct cause of climate change and our unsustainable life styles.
Xiuhtezcatl is the youth voice for the Earth Guardians, a non-profit environmental group for youth, following in the footsteps of his older sisters. He has mobilized a following of youth and adults and has been involved in helping to organize a myriad of rallies, actions, events, and City Council presentations. With the help of his mother, Tamara, he organized and led the iMatter March in Denver last Spring, the largest youth led march in the United States.
Xiuhtezcatl has worked with Boulder City Council Officials, County Commissioners, Senators, Congressmen and woman and collaborated with over 50 environmental organizations. He takes his word into action, and has risen up over and over again to inspire his generation to stand up against issues in their community that are directly affecting them or the kind of world they will inherit. His work led him to become a youth plaintiff against the state of Colorado, and a Federal plaintiff against the United States, filing suits against them for not protecting the atmosphere and the environment, thus endangering their future.
He and a team of youth are demanding that the government develop a climate recovery plan to ensure a sustainable future for his generation and those to come.
In May, 2012, he and a delegation of five youth went to Washington DC to meet with representatives from all three branches of government, expressing their concerns and working to garner the support for climate change efforts. Over 80 members of Congress and the Congressional Progressive Caucus publicly supported the youth delegation and their work to ensure a healthy future, despite the fossil fuels industry's efforts to place their own profits first.
Xiuhtezcatl was the youngest, and called by the media globally one of the most inspired speakers at the Rio+20 United Nations Summit in Rio Brazil 2012. He spoke on UN panels and at many of the UN side events. He is called upon on a regular basis to provide the youth perspective and voice on issues at conferences locally, nationally, and globally bringing his message of hope, inspiration and the importance to act NOW. He is mobilizing his generation towards standing united and creating a sustainable world for generations to come.
Xiuhtezcatl's story was featured in "Trust Colorado", a short film Documentary by Peter Gabriel's organization Witness, and it won 2012 Best Environmental Film Documentary of the Year. You can view it at this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xr-GUgpic5E
Xiuhtezcatl continues to inspire youth and adults alike, encouraging people everywhere to become more aware and educated, and to work together to face the threats to our environment, our atmosphere and our future. He is a living example of one of his favorite hero's Mahatma Gandhi and reflects the change that he wants to see in the world.