“What’s at stake right now is the existence of my generation,” said 15 year-old Xiuhtezcatl Martinez to the United Nations General Assembly on climate change in June.
Enter Generation Z—those born after 1995—right in time to face the greatest crisis and opportunity humankind has ever known. While older generations are paralyzed, in denial or just not informed, this kid is speaking truth directly to power, with some of the most lucid, sane and intelligent language I’ve heard on the issue thus far.
“In the last 20 years of negotiations, almost no agreements have been made on a bonding climate recovery plan,” he said.
As a 34 year-old with a Ph.D. in Policy, Planning and Development, with a focus in sustainable cities from USC, I can say with a certain amount of expertise that this young fellow is right on the money. I’ve been directly watching the growing catastrophe that is climate change develop for the last ten years, and most recently, I’ve been talking to climate scientists directly. I can say without blinking that if we don’t act in dramatic fashion immediately to change things, the damage will almost certainly be irreversible in the next 35 years. And that does not bode well for the well-being of the human species.
Rolling Stone covered Xiuhtezcatl’s story. Reading his interview, I am genuinely blown away by the depth of knowledge, humility and clear vision exuded by this young man. Oh, and his organization’s website is one of the most impressive I’ve seen from any environmental organization.
It’s inspiring and frankly humbling. And it’s a call to action to all of us to sit up, pay attention and start doing something to affect the dramatic change that will be necessary of us if we hope to pull this off. There is hope, and it lies within the people willing to see what’s possible. Thank goodness for the voices rising, urging us to act to build a society that honors our interconnectedness with the earth and with each other.
Author: Erin McMorrow
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: YouTube still