Rio+20 - United Nations’ Conference on Sustainable Development

The Great Spirit opened an incredible door and opportunity for Xiuhtezcatl and a select group of Earth Guardians to participate in many high-profile formal and informal dialogues, congresses, and planning sessions at the Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was an historic opportunity to define pathways to a safer and more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous world for all.

Most Recent Update
Blog Post 7/2/12

Dear Friends,
The closing of our journey to the Rio+20 UN summit in Rio De Janeiro Brazil is the only the beginning of the fulfillment of the Earth Guardians' vision towards working locally and globally to create healthy, sustainable and just world for generations to come.

We are excited to share some of the incredible experiences and the impact we had in Rio during our last week there.  We thank you all again for your kind loving support and for helping to make this experience one that has inspired many people we touched, and also strengthened our commitment,  giving us a new found hope that there is a peaceful youth-led revolution on the rise that will ultimately change the world.  Xiuhtezcatl said during one of his speeches, “The hope is in our hands and our generation is that hope”. 

Below are quotes about Xiuhtezcatl and Itzcuauhtli’s contributions to the Rio+20 Summit, and then a few short stories with a video link that follows the story.  Please feel free to read any or all of the stories, and be inspired and full of hope!

Quote about Xiuhtezcatl from UN Rio+20 Youth Blast Summit - LINK
"Over 1000 young people, ages 12 to 30, from 112 countries converged at Sul America, Rio de Janeiro from the 10th - 12th of June to share their ideas and positions on sustainable development for "The Future They Want". The plenary sessions were charged with energy and featured inspiring speeches from young people representing different groups from around the world. The most inspiring talk was delivered by 12- year old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, an environmental activist from America who represented the indigenous people group. Martinez takes his word into action, and has risen up repeatedly to inspire fellow young people to take a stand against poor practices in their community that may have an impact on the kind of world they will inherit."

Quote about Itzcuauhtli in Rio - from the Adopt a Negotiator Press Project - LINK
"As negotiations here at Rio+20 have turned into an overinflated self-promotion fiesta for the world’s leaders, I thought it was about time that I share with you the most amazing young visionary I have ever met.  Oh yeah, and that’s not a mistake, he’s 9!  When  I sat down with Itzcuauhtli, I  was in awe of what he had to say. But even more, there was a spirit behind his words. It was almost as if he spoke with the wisdom of a man as old as the Aztec culture he so proudly maintains."

Some of the Last Week of Events in Rio De Janeiro

• Earth Guardians performing at the closing of the Rio+20 Summit Concert for a NEW EARTH - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK
The Earth Guardians had many opportunities to share their message-driven musical talents during their stay in Rio, but the highlight of that came together during their first high-profile professional performance at the NEW EARTH Concert on the final day of Rio+20.  They rocked the house with their rap and inspiring lyrics.

• Earth Guardians take action on last day of UN negotiations - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK
 We were all frustrated with the outcomes that were coming out of the UN meetings - The high level talks of Rio+20 lasted  three days, during which world leaders were supposed to get together to discuss the future of the planet. The Future We Want document that came out of the meetings reflects the disagreements we saw between countries in exactly the way everyone feared.  It’s so weak and lacking in the kind of commitments and clear goals that would drive significant change.  Xiuhtezcatl and his team decided to take action on the last day of the UN meetings by simply entering the meeting rooms. Before the sessions began, they quietly went up to ask for the mic, saying they had a message to share from the children of the world, and they weren’t refused.  I think everyone knew we need something fresh to shake things up a bit.  We received press coverage from across the globe as we spoke in the press room and in other UN meetings.  The boys would start to rap to draw the cameras, and then they shared their message that they are fighting for the survival of their generation and we can’t afford to walk away from Ri0+20 making the same mistakes that have been made during the past 20 years.

• Xiuhtezcatl speaks on UN Intergenerational Panel with Maurice Strong, Former Secretary General of UN - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK
Xiuhtezcatl was honored to speak on a panel with Maurice Strong during one of the UN sessions.  They were also supposed to  be joined by Severn Suzuki –("the girl who silenced the world" at the 1992 UN summit)  but transportation made it impossible.  Transportation was the most challenging part of our journey, and we missed many opportunities because of it.   Xiuhtezcatl and Itzcuauhtli did have the honor of meeting and sharing with Severn and her father David Suzuki a bit later in the day.

We plan to see them again in Canada, where we can really spend more quality time. Severn said she had heard so much about Xiuhtezcatl, and that meeting the kids was the brightest thing that had happened for her during the Summit.  Severn and Xiuhtezcatl having a heartfelt conversation. - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK

• Rio+20 Spiritual Gathering with Leaders from Around the World and Xiuhtezcatl - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK
Rio+20 side event - Spiritual leaders from all around the world gather at Nova Terra. Xiuhtezcatl was honored to be the youngest speaker and closed out the Evening event with words of Wisdom and Hope beyond his age to all that were there! This is a must See!

• Passing the Eagle Feather Ceremony with the Thirteen Grandmothers and Rabbi Awraham Soetedorp - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK
Both Xiuhtezcatl and Itzcuauhtli had the honor of participating in the passing of the eagle feather in a ceremony with some of the 13 Grandmothers and an incredible Rabbi.  This was one of Xiuhtezcatl's most beautiful sharings, about how we are all caught in our cocoons and need to break free and fly together to change the world.  It was beautiful.  Itzcuauhtli also gave his first public speech there when he received the eagle feather. - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK  It is very beautiful as well.
If you missed these, they are very inspiring:
Xiuhtezcatl  lighting the sacred fire ceremony for Rio+20 UN Summit - LINK

Xiuhtezcatl closing the World Congress - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK

Xiuhtezcatl speaking at the Rio+20 UN Youth Blast - YOUTUBE VIDEO LINK

In Closing:
This incredible journey has opened so many doors for the Earth Guardians to expand their work globally. There is such an urgent need for Earth Guardian groups everywhere, that empower, educate and inspire youth to unite and stand together for their future and future generations. We will need the support of our community and those that believe in us in order to fulfill it.

Xiuhtezcatl has been invited to be the youngest participant in the Geneva UN Youth Council, and there have been numerous invitations to high-profile keynote speeches for Xiuhtezcatl that opened up in Rio, here in the United States and around the globe.  The Earth Guardians had so much fun and made new found lifelong friends from around the world. Stay tuned as they draw nearer, and find out how you can be involved and support.

With love and gratitude to all of you who are supporting this incredible journey!

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support ongoing work.

To see more pictures and hear more stories about our journey please visit our Facebook page.

Performing on Stage

Shopping for Treasures for the Family

The gang that Stayed at Nova Terra - We became a family!

The Big Stage

Youth Blast and New Friends from Africa

Earth Concert

Xiuhtezcatl and Maurice Strong on UN Panel

Press Conference Outside the UN

Taking Over UN Meeting Room

Taking Over the UN Press Room

Spiritual Leaders from around the World

Now thats a Sand Castle!

Eagle Feather Ceremony and the Thirteen Grandmothers

Playing Around on the Beach and with Hats

At the St. Christo Statue

Beach Time Boogie

Thanks Organic India!

Previous Blog Posts

Blog Post 6/30/12

We arrived home from Rio de Janeiro three short days ago and are preparing an exciting update with video's, pics and inspiring stories about our journey, that we will be sending out to you on Monday evening. Christi Cooper-Kuhn was with us on our Rio journey. She is an incredible film maker that is working with "Our Children's Trust" and "WITNESS" on the lawsuits that Xiuhtezcatl and other youth have been involved with and that filmed Xiuhtezcatl's TRUST story about what is happening to our forests here in Colorado ( In Rio she filmed the incredible worlds we moved in and out of from UN delegates, to meeting with youth from over 100 countries, to indigenous leaders. So, in the near future we will be following the update with a beautifully weaved video of our journey.

Thank you for all your love and support and please feel free to share this with anyone that might be able to support this effort. There was a lot of interest in Rio to make this legal campaign a Global Campaign.

Blog Post 6/19/12

Yesterday Xiuhtezcatl opened the Intergenerational U.N. Panel with Maurice Strong, Former Secretary General of the United Nations. Severn Suzuki, who spoke here in 1992 at 12 years of age (and gave the famous "The Girl Who Silenced the World for 5 Minutes" speech), was supposed to also be on the panel, but her transportation couldn't get through the city to get her there on time. Also on the panel were the Former Prime Minister of Norway and Rajenera Pachauri of the IPCC. They offered so much support and guidance for the work that the youth of the world are doing to create a sustainable planet. Xiuhtezcatl (12 years old) is the only participant in these high-profile meetings under the age of 18, and his heart and message are being very well received by all of his audiences.

Xiuhtezcatl and Maurice Strong speaking on Intergenerational Panel in U.N.
Former Prime Minister of Norway and Rajendera Pachauri of the IPCC, on the same Panel

Today he will be on a panel with Maria Silva, the Environmental Minister of Brazil, and a local hero for her strong stance on protecting the rain forests. It is an honor for Xiuhtezcatl to sit by her side and give the youth perspective on the state of the planet that they are being left with and the need to Wake Up and stand united as one people. Later this afternoon he will be speaking at the Woman's Peace Initiative, where spiritual leaders from all over the world be attending.

Hanne Strong and Boys Entering The U.N. Rio+20 Center
Xiuhtezcatl Interview at the Traditional Carioka Grounds

It has been an incredible journey here in Rio and we feel the impact that Xiuhtezcatl has made has been significant. He has inspired many leaders of the world to not walk away from this Summit without having gained a clear direction and action plan towards changing the course we are headed and to begin working towards a more sustainable and just future for us all.

New Friend and Youth Leader Mica, from Asia
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

During our time in Rio there have been many blessings and surprises, as well as challenges, such as the boys being covered with mosquito bites. In addition, dealing with transportation to and from all the speaking engagements has been very challenging. We have learned a lot and are are so honored that the great spirit has opened such an incredible opportunity for us here in Rio. We look forward to all that will unfold from it in the days to come.

Blog Post 6/16/12

• Xiuhtezcatl had the incredible honor to be invited to light the sacred fire with the Amazonian Elders in the jungle with the North American Elders. YouTube Video LINK

• Associated Press did on Xiuhtezcatl and it went out to many papers around the world. LINK

• Video of Ceremony that includes a piece of Xiuhtezcatl's speaking. Indigenous People Light Sacred Fire Ahead of Rio+20. Daily Motion Video LINK

Rio+20 environment conference gearing up in Brazil. L.A. Times LINK

Blog Post 6/13/12

We were whisked away to the deep jungle on the other side of the city, for a sacred ceremony with the Indigenous Elders who have arrived in Rio to meet with the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.  

YouTube Video of walk thru Jungle

Xiuhtezcatl is representing the voice of the indigenous youth of North America in many of the indigenous events, and was so honored to be included in the ceremony. The purpose of the ceremony was to join nations and light the sacred fire between the nations of the Condor and the Eagle, holding the prayer that we are one people with one home and we have to unite all nations and stand together on her behalf.

The fire is to be kept burning during the Rio+20 U.N. summit. Xiuhtezcatl spoke to the tribes with the Elders from the North and cried as he spoke in response to what the elders of Brazil shared about their rainforest  being decimated.  Then he shared a song from his Aztec tradition. The sacred fire was to be carried to their sacred place after the lighting at the bottom of the mountain. The Elders of Brazil were very moved by Xiuhtezcatl and had him carry the sacred fire with one of their Elders through the thick jungle in pitch dark with all the tribes following. 

Itzcuauhtli and I were back a ways and trying to keep up with them. When we arrived at the place where the group ahead took the fire, they wouldn't let Itzcuauhtli and I enter.  And I said, "wait that is my son you are taking", but the guards held us back.  It was a moment of total surrender and trust that my baby was going to come back out of there, and of course he did. An incredible moment for all of our lives and a deepening of our commitment to the Earth and to the generations that will inherit it

All-in-all a very profound time for us. The internet is really slow and sporadic and communication from here is difficult so we will keep sending updates and more when we can, so stay tuned!

Blog Post 6/12/12

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil it was an incredible day. The great spirit has been opening amazing opportunities for Xiuhtezcatl to share his heart, his story and his message.  He, Itzcuauhtli and I magically got the credentials to go speak in front of youth from 110 countries at the U.N. Rio +20  Youth Blast.   Xiuhtezcatl, being the youngest present, has been making an incredibly deep and inspiring impact on the youth who are attending, most of whom are between the ages of 20 and 30. Seeing him, hearing his message, and feeling his passion gives them so much hope to keep working for a sustainable planet. 

One of the film makers knew the boys rapped and asked them to do a spontaneous performance at the event after Xiuhtezcatl spoke. It went over so well that it led to them being invited to perform in the closing ceremony of the U.N. Youth Blast on the 21st.  We also got to connect with Barbara Pyle the originator of Captain Planet and had a really fun time with her and the "Planeteers" Earth, Water, Fire and Air.

The talk that Xiuhtezcatl gave inspired others to open doors to other U.N. panels and events and he has now been invited to speak at many of them.  One is an intergenerational panel that will include an Elder of 97 years old, Jane Goodall, an 18 year old and Xiuhtezcatl.  He has also been invited to speak at other high profile conferences this year in Geneva, Africa, France, and India. In addition he got a personal invitation to present the Key Note speech at a conference this October in Philadelphia with youth attending from 190 countries. So who knows, maybe a world tour is in the works for us. 

We have had two filmmakers, that came to film the elder’s, following us the last two days - so we will have good footage to share soon. In addition, Christi (with WITNESS, who filmed Xiuhtezcatl’s TRUST video) will be arriving in a couple of days to film everything we are involved in. 

Xiuhtezcatl and Itzcuauhtli and I are bonding very deeply and are so inspired by these young people from all over the world that we have been meeting and connecting with.  Xiuhtezcatl said in his talk at the closing of the World Congress of Youth last night that,  “it gives him so much hope that his generation can and will change the world”.  It is incredible all the young leaders that are here and so committed to their future and the healing of our sacred Earth!

Blog Post 6/11/12

We arrived in Rio with lots of sun after days and days of rain in the earlier reports we got. We are living in dense jungle, incredibly beautiful, but in primitive conditions for the next two days.

A lovely local woman took us in to her 100 square foot home for the next two nights and she has cleaned our room over and over trying to get it perfect. She said you guys are famous.. huh? I think she really believes it... The boys are amazed by the jungle we are in and plan to awake early tomorrow to look for the little monkeys that live here.

Here is a pic with the boys and TATA Pedro Cruz a Mayan Elder from Guatemala.

He shared his life story with the boys today over dinner, it was quite amazing and the spiritual guidance he gave them within the story was very profound.

Xiuhtezcatl speaks tomorrow morning to two thousand youth at the Conference of Youth for Rio 20+. The organizing body, the MGCY, is one of the nine major groups participating from Civil Society, and is sponsored by United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Youth Caucus.
Tomorrow afternoon he will also be speaking at the Closing Ceremony of the World Congress with youth from 110 countries and then he, and Itzcuauhtli, will be performing one of their original and inspiring rap songs.

Also at 4:30 tomorrow Xiuhtezcatl is speaking after the Mayor of Rio at the Intergenerational Blessing and Wisdom Exchange between elders and inspired children for the World Congress of youth.

We will keep you posted as things develop. And, once again, a huge thank-you to everyone who helped to make this possible.

Blog Post 6/09/12

After Xiuhtezcatl returned from meetings with all levels of government and White House staff in Washington DC last month, he received four invitations to go to Rio and share his heartfelt perspective. Marcelo Shama, of the organization Terra Nova and coordinator of the councils involving indigenous leaders, educators, and youth from all over the world, wrote in his letter of invitation:

“It is our view that you, Xiutezcatl Tonatiuh Martinez, are an extraordinary representative of the powerful vision young leaders propose for creating a more sustainable world. At only 12 years of age you reflect the true example of a committed change-maker. We feel your presence will enhance and strengthen the purpose of these meetings, which will inspire other participants, and hopefully, the rest of the planet. We feel it is of utmost importance that the voice and the vision of youth be heard and included in this global dialogue”.

Hanne Strong, of the Earth Restoration Corps and the Manitou Foundation, wrote in her letter of invitation: “Xiuhtezcatl, we are inviting you to Rio to co-chair the Youth Wisdom Keepers to prepare a declaration from the youth of the world to present to the world leaders at Rio+20”.

World leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs, and indigenous elders from around the world, will come together to formulate recommendations and plans to reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection for future generations.

In addition Xiuhtezcatl has been invited to participate in the World Congress of Youth with attendees from over 100 countries, and to speak in the closing ceremony with indigenous elders from around the world.

The energy is moving strongly to have us there. The Rio organizers have been planning this summit for the last two years, yet in the final hour they are making arrangements for us to attend, so Xiuhtezcatl can share his story, his passion and his message at both formal and informal meetings. Earth Guardians will also be performing their inspiring original music.

Marcelo Shama’s organization will cover all of our accommodations, food, and transportation expenses while we are in Rio, which is an enormous support. Another generous supporter loaned us the money for the tickets, so we will need to raise money to pay back the loan. We also need financial support to prepare materials this next week to take to Rio, as well as to support a minimum infrastructure to handle the wave that this will surely generate. There will be global media coverage of the events, bringing international attention to Xiuhtezcatl and the Earth Guardians work over the last twenty years.

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Earth Guardians is a project of GAYA - Global Alliance of Youth in Action, a 501(c)3 Non-Profit Public Charity and a Colorado Non-Profit Corporation.