It’s Not too Late to Break Free and Act on Climate Change
Sixteen year-old Earth Guardian youth leader Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and his sister, Isa Caress, performed at the Climate Reality Project Leadership training recently in Denver (March 4, 2017). Eco hip-hop artists and indigenous activists, the siblings write and produce songs to educate youth about the global climate crisis. They hope to inspire people of all generations to break free and act on climate change using creative and positive actions.
“Don’t let it break you…. It’s time to break free, break free, break free…”
At the end of our first day of Al Gore’s 3-day workshop, I joined 970 other Climate Reality Leader trainees waving our arms and moving to the beat. We all agreed. It’s time to break free and act on climate change now without delay.
“I’m in need of a doctor but there is no cure…diagnosed with being human a challenge I must endure. Yet I must prevail …You’re not my enemy I refuse to live in fear… I wipe away my past, genocide’s my history…I am indigenous my blood is spilled on the sand…my thoughts are scattered but my heart is in tact…it’s time to break free, break free…”
The presence of these young indigenous activists and their music was heart-opening and inspiring. Representing 35 countries, each of us attending the climate workshop were from different cultures and backgrounds. Yet we could all relate to this simple message: it’s time to wake up, break free and act on climate change.
Xiuhtezcatl (shu-tez-cot) is one of 21 youth plaintiff’s (all under the age 21) suing the federal government for failing to act on climate change and protect future generation. Earth Guardian’s Rising Youth for Sustainable Earth (RYSE) council and an organization called Our Children’s Trust are suing to protect their constitutional rights to life, land, and liberty.
Under the public trust doctrine the government has an obligation to protect the air, land, and water now and for future generations. These youth plaintiffs assert that our government is allowing industry to destroy our lands, water, and air by mining, fracking, drilling and burning fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and oil).
In an interview with Democracy Now, Earth Guardian and plaintiff Aji Piper (age 15) expressed eloquently what concerns him most about climate change: “We’re putting generations that haven’t been born yet – and generations yet to come – in the position where they have to deal with that [an earth in which they have to fight for survival], and that’s not a position that anybody should be put in.” He believes climate change is both a moral and logical argument.
On a final note, Xiuhtezcatl said in one of his many interviews: “The planet doesn’t need saving…we do.” It’s not too late to save the humans and all living species if we break free and act on climate change now.
Author: Kathryn Thomsen
Founder of Hundredgivers, a nonprofit supporting and accelerating sustainability initiatives benefiting local and global communities. Kathryn is a social entrepreneur, consultant, researcher, writer and urban farmer. She collaborates with individuals, organizations, and businesses to develop climate change solutions, clean energy, and sustainability strategies and programs.