Climate change is the biggest issue that humanity has ever encountered.
It is an issue in which the survival of every species on the planet is at stake and it is an issue that we have caused. The truth of climate change is that the earth does not hang in the balance. The earth, and life, will survive in spite of our actions. Humanity, however, will not last and neither will the environment that exists today. The situation has become critical and we, as a generation, stand upon a pinnacle. Above us is the greatness that can be achieved through unification and equilibrium with our environment, below is a great fall and the destruction of our race. Whether or not we are ready the moment has come, we must act because inaction and half measures will ensure our downfall.
On the verge of this historically defining moment we are all called to greatness and some are called to be heroes. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a trilingual fifteen year old who sits on Obama‘s youth council. This young man gave his first speech about environmental activism at the age of six, since that time he has become active in the environment struggle on an international scale. He is the director of a non-profit environmental group comprised of young activist, artists, and musicians known as Earth Guardians. The group‘s purpose is to empower the youth through education and activism while making a resilient environmental movement. According to Martinez, “the biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness not saving the planet because the planet doesn‘t need saving, we do.” He believes that we have inherited a way of thinking in which people believe they must own and dominate the earth instead of seeing that we are apart of the earth and nature. He believes the shift in consciousness will occur when people begin to see that the way we are interacting with our planet is destroying it. Currently the group has members on six continents and representatives in all fifty states. The group‘s most recent environmental action is dealing with the problem in the courtroom. Early last month, 21 people ranging from 8 to 19 years of age, organized by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and the Earth Guardians, filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration for violating their civil rights. The lawsuit states that the defendants have known and ignored the risks that continued fossil fuel use and increased emissions pose to human life. The lawsuit hopes to use a legal principle known as the public trust doctrine which states that it is the responsibility of our leaders to protect natural resources for future generations.
If affecting change within the national government was not enough Xiuhtezcatl Martinez made international headlines when he addressed the United Nations in late June. Martinez demanded that the governments of the world, who have been having talks on climate change for over twenty years, take action in the face of the climate crisis. During his speech, Martinez asked delegates from over 200 hundred countries to imagine the possibilities of spending the money from fossil fuels on renewable energy saying, “it is time to look to the skies for the solutions that we need because the future of energy is no longer down a hole.” It is the third time Martinez has addressed the United Nations and will not be the last as he has been invited to speak before the COP 21 UN climate talks in Paris.
This courageous young man raises the question of when is the appropriate time to take action. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez says that he recognizes that his youth can be used as a tool to make people listen, that it makes him stand out. However, if this 15-year-old boy has the courage to speak out and make a difference, what is our responsibility? Isn‘t it our job to do everything in our power to establish a way of life that is not harmful to the earth or its inhabitants? The time has come in which inaction is no longer an option. The movement is growing and it is not to late and never too early to get involved. The time is now, we are the generation that will, that must, make a change. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
For more information about the Earth Guardians visit https://www.earthguardians.org/