Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

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Xiuhtezcatl Martinez
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez 2016.jpg
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez in 2016
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez

(2000-05-09) May 9, 2000 (age 18)
United States
ResidenceBoulder, Colorado
OccupationEnvironmental activist, hip hop artist

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (Nahuatl pronunciation: [ʃuwˈteskat͡ɬ]) or Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez is an indigenous environmental activist, hip hop artist and youth director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide conservation organization.[1][2][3]

Martinez is one of 21 plaintiffs involved in the Juliana v. United States case, suing the federal government for failing to act on climate change.[4] The case began in 2015. A federal court rejected the government's move to dismiss the case in November 2016.[4] He is also one of seven plaintiffs involved in the Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission lawsuit, whose aim is the same as that of Juliana v. United States but on a state level.


As a teenager, Martinez has given TED talks and was invited to speak before the United Nations on environmental policy.[1] In 2015, speaking at the age of 15 before the UN General Assembly, Martinez urged immediate climate action saying, “What’s at stake right now is the existence of my generation."[5][6]

In 2015 he competed with young musicians from around the world who submitted self-produced music "to inspire the negotiations" at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change with their music and Martinez's selection "Speak for the Trees" was chosen as the Jury Award Winner.[7][8]

Climate change lawsuits[edit]

In 2015, Martinez and 21 other youths filed a lawsuit against the US Federal government, Juliana et al. v United States et al. They argue that the federal government is denying their constitutional right to life, liberty and property by ignoring climate change. The plaintiffs also included parties from the fossil fuel industry as defendants in the lawsuit, but said parties were removed as defendants during pre-trial proceedings. The plaintiffs range in age from 9 to 20 and ten of the children have either Black or Indigenous backgrounds. The lawsuit was launched while Obama was still in office, but in 2017 the plaintiffs substituted Trump's name for that of the former president.[9]

In 2018, he and 13 other youths filed another lawsuit, this time against the state government of Washington. He is the lead plaintiff in this Martinez v. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission case. The lawsuit has been dismissed by King County Superior Court Judge Michael Scott.[10]

In December 2018, Remezcla named Martinez in their list of "30 Latinxs Who Made an Impact in Their Communities in 2018".[11]


Martinez lives with his family in Boulder, Colorado. His mother, Tamara Roske, is the Executive Director of Earth Guardians, a worldwide organization of conservation-minded children and young adults. He has two younger siblings, a sister, Tonantzin, and a brother, Itzcuauhtli. His father, Siri Martinez, is of Aztec heritage and he has raised his children in the tradition of the Mexica, one of the indigenous Aztec peoples of Mexico.[3]


  • We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement That Restores the Planet – 2017

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Martin, Claire (May 28, 2014). "Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, 14, wants to save the world". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  2. ^ "Xiuhtezcatl Martinez", Earthguardians.com, retrieved March 21, 2017
  3. ^ a b "Meet the 16yo suing the US Government over climate change". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. February 6, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  4. ^ a b "These Kids Are Suing the Federal Government to Demand Climate Action. They Just Won an Important Victory". Time. November 11, 2016.
  5. ^ Cumming, Ed (October 9, 2015). "Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez: 'Our greed is destroying the planet'". The Guardian. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Steyer, Carly (July 2, 2015). "15-Year-Old Gives Amazing Speech To UN About Climate Change". HuffPost. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  7. ^ McPherson, Coco (July 13, 2015). "Meet the Teenage Indigenous Hip-Hop Artist Taking on Climate Change". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "Winners of Global Challenges Youth Music Contest #GYMC15 Announced". United Nations. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  9. ^ Funes, Yessenia (2017-06-09). "5 Things to Know About The Youth-Led Climate Lawsuit Against Trump". Color Lines. Retrieved September 11, 2017.
  10. ^ "Washington". Our Children's Trust. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Simón, Yara (December 21, 2018). "30 Latinxs Who Made an Impact in Their Communities in 2018". Remezcla. Retrieved December 21, 2018.

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