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xiuhtezcatl project 2Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 15, Boulder, CO

Growing up, Xiuhtezcatl’s father emphasized his obligation to taking care of the land – a privilege and responsibility that, in a world ravaged by climate change, he does not take lightly. He has been on the front lines of the fight for the environment since he was four, attending and leading rallies and summits, always willing to confront adult leaders for the current climate crisis we see today.

Tired of waiting for adults to take action, Xiuhtezcatl formed RYSE (Rising Youth for Sustainable Earth), which provides young people with a platform for their voices to be heard and an opportunity to take action against climate change NOW. He began by selecting a Youth Council of 13 exceptional young ‘solutionaries’ to strategize and collaborate with, guided by a ‘Council of Elders’, in order to coordinate trainings in multiple communities. Xiuhtezcatl plans to use this infrastructure to train an additional 500 young solutionaries, who will become leaders themselves and go on to train even more young people to join the exponentially growing movement. By training youth in organizing and facilitating, RYSE gives them the tools to promote environmental justice through these and other solutions-based projects. Xiuhtezcatl says that, “our goal is not to create more followers-- our goal is to create leaders.

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“Our generation is going to be the most impacted by climate change, and so therefore our generation has the most at stake and we have the most power in this matter.”

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