The Rocky Mountain Room was full on Oct. 23. Students and faculty were there to see the youth director from the Earth Guardians, an environmental activist organization, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (pronounced ‘Shoe-Tez-Chat’). Martinez is an indigenous climate activist and hip hop artist who has addressed United Nations and the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He spoke about his time as an activist and about how he addressed the Rio+20 UN Assembly as a six-year-old boy in 2006. The Rio20+ was an international conference that was intended to reconcile the economic and economic needs of the global community.
Chase Janis, FRCC student, found Xiuhtezcatl’s presentation to be inspiring and encouraging.
Photos by Lindsey McKitrick
“I had already been looking for inspiration when the recent climate change news came out,” Janis said. “It’s helped me feel more hope, and encouraged me to make a change.”
After he finished speaking, Xiuhtezcatl left to address the Colorado Supreme Court in a second lawsuit that forces oil and gas companies to put public health and safety as a top priority.
Xiuhtezcatl is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the federal government to demand action and accountability for their efforts and failures on climate change. He is also involved in a petition and rulemaking lawsuit against COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) to deny drilling permits if it adversely affects public health and welfare and the environment.
The session was live-streamed in Kristina Kahl’s sociology class. Kahl organized the event and brought Xiuhtezcatl to the school.
“I decided to bring him, because I’m teaching environmental sociology, and I thought it would be important,” Kahl said. “I wanted to have an opportunity for all of the classes to come together to hear his perspective of climate change issues. It’s a great way to have some hope, to create some change, and this organization (Earth Guardians) is a great way to bring those ideas to the school and direction on campus.”
Xiuhtezcatl helped to inspire and encourage the audience, as a young leader he has brought hope back to the campus with his life story and his continue fight for the future.
Kyra Sandstrom, an anthropology instructor at FRCC, had this to say about Xiuhtezcatl’s call to action.
“I’m excited that someone so young and personable is involved and is getting other young people involved,” Sandstrom said. “It’s good to see someone likeable and inspiring who’s doing good work. I’m glad young people can have such a good role model they can relate to.”