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Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

Indigenous Climate Activist and Celebrity

Role: Guest Speaker

2020 Conference Session: Facing Forward: The Need for Disruption

A 16-year-old indigenous change agent, environmental activist, public speaker, eco hip-hop artist, and the Youth Director of Earth Guardians– Xiuhtezcatl (Pronounced “Shu-tez-caat”) is a powerful voice on the front lines of the youth-led climate movement.

He performs internationally at music festivals, organizes demonstrations, and has spoken at over 100 high-impact rallies, events and conferences around the globe. He and his brother, Itzcuauhtli, regularly give school presentations to ignite and inspire youth to step up as leaders and take action on behalf of the planet
In 2013, Xiuhtezcatl received the 2013 United States Community Service Award from President Obama, and was the youngest of 24 national change-makers chosen to serve on the President’s youth council.

As long as he can remember, Xiuhtezcatl has been connected to the natural world– the mountains, forests and rivers of Colorado. He was raised in the Aztec tradition in which his father taught him that as Indigenous people, they are descendants of the original caretakers of the land– the original activists before that word even existed.

More About Xiuhtezcatl…

As he began to learn about the global crisis, he took action. Xiuhtezcatl has been on the frontlines of climate activism since he was six years old. He has worked throughout his childhood to get people to wake up and take action. He has worked with community leaders in Boulder and has collaborated with over 50 environmental organizations to eliminate pesticides from Boulder’s parks,  achieve a fee for plastic bags, contain coal ash, and get a moratorium on fracking in Boulder County. Along with other youth, he is currently working on a statewide ban on fracking through a lawsuit he filed against the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

Xiuhtezcatl gives presentations on fracking and climate change in schools and conferences nationally. His work on climate change has led him to become a youth plaintiff against the United States for failing to protect the atmosphere. To support this litigation, Xiuhtezcatl met with representatives from all three branches of government working to garner support and create a climate recovery plan based on NASA scientist James Hansen’s work. Over eighty members of congress, including the Congressional Progressive Caucus, publicly supports the youth delegation. He also uses his passion for music to inspire his generation.

In 2012, Xiuhtezcatl was one of the youngest speakers at the RIO+20 United Nations Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He spoke on UN panels and side events, and had the honor of lighting the sacred fire with indigenous elders from Brazil. He is traveling and initiating international Earth Guardian crews around the globe to fulfill the Earth Guardians mission with crews in Africa, India, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France, Mexico, and Brazil.

2015 Achievements:
Keynote Speaker at UN General Assembly High Level Climate Change Event with Robert Redford “Youth Change Maker of the Year” by President Obama 2015 Peace First Prize Winner 2015 Nickelodeon HALO Award Winner Keynote Speaker of 2015 UN Youth Assembly Filed lawsuit against the US Government for their use of fossil fuels: “Kelsey Juliana & Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh M. v. U.S & President Barack Obama”

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