I’ve been a part of the climate movement since I was six years old. One of the biggest differences between then and now is how young and diverse everyone is. There are so many beautiful young people at the forefront of this movement now, and it’s super powerful to see.
It’s inspiring to be around such an energy. Right now, there’s a massive reckoning of responsibility that’s stretching across generations. But it’s the youngest that are stepping up and saying, “I want to do my part and fix this.”
There’s also a diversification of thought that wasn’t represented to this extent in the movement before. People didn’t understand that the climate crisis is intimately interwoven into every other issue that presses minority communities, marginalized communities; Black and indigenous communities. Injustices are perpetuated by the climate crisis, and it’s the systems of oppression that have allowed our society to create such a massive problem.
"It’s not just because they are being allowed to speak — it’s because they are demanding to have their voices heard."
"It’s the youngest that are stepping up and saying, ‘I want to do my part and fix this.’"
People are beginning to understand that. I still think we have a long way to go, but we are going in the right direction.
Now when I got to protests and go out to the frontlines, I not only see my peers, but kids who are younger than me. I’m excited to give them some of my space — I’m almost 20. It’s powerful to see 14-year-olds out there.
It’s what I’ve dreamt of. When I was a little kid, I didn’t see any young people who looked at me at the events I was pulling up to. Now, we are in a place where the voices of young people are being elevated. And it’s not just because they are being allowed to speak — it’s because they are demanding to have their voices heard.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a member of the Inverse Future 50, a group of 50 people who will be forces of good in the 2020s.