Climate activist gives teenager hope

Assistant Editor Christine Barnfield explains why a teenager who sued the government gives her hope.


Photo by Li-An Lim on Unsplash

On the steps of the courthouse, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez along with 20 other plaintiffs exited the building after suing the federal government for failing to act on climate change.

This lawsuit, now known as Juliana v. the United States, began in 2015 when Martinez was only 15 years old and just recently he and Greta Thunberg came together to address world leaders in a press conference at the U.S. Supreme court.

His passion and commitment to environmental activism from such a young age inspires many and shows his determination to step outside the box where his voice can have an impact and inflict further change.

I hope to live a life that changes another’s, and to speak out for my beliefs and views just as he does with his organization called the Earth Guardians.

— Junior Christine Barnfield

At only 19 years old he has already released a debut album, spoken in front of the UN, and become a published author with his book called “We Rise: The Earth Guardians Guide to Building a Movement that Restores the Planet.”

He does not live day to day life by “normal” standards, but takes every day by the horns and decides where and how he can make a difference.

In whatever career path I choose, this factor has the utmost importance.

I hope to live a life that changes another’s, and to speak out for my beliefs and views just as he does with his organization called the Earth Guardians.

He has traveled all over the world speaking with young individuals, like myself, about the importance of climate change and how they too can join in protecting this planet from commercialized governments.

His activism seems to be the focal point of his life, but what motivates me the most includes his ability to incorporate everything he loves, written word and music, to spread his message.

Writing, something I enjoy doing, allows me to reflect on things I’ve read and to recognize the impact an author’s story has had on my imagination and perspectives in life, so having the ability to recreate this feeling for someone else and to possibly make a change in their life pushes me to work harder.

Martinez and I also come from similar Latin and Indigenous backgrounds and his involvement in these communities has had an impact on me as well.

He combines our culture and his activism in his message to protect the land we walk on and demonstrates the resilience people can have no matter how young they are.

He demands to be taken seriously which has brought him far and wide towards opportunities that he has created for himself because of this.

“The biggest challenge we face is shifting human consciousness, not saving the planet. The planet doesn’t need saving we do,” Martinez said.

He has had the biggest effect on my thought process especially when it comes to believing that you can accomplish anything you set your mind too.

I’ve always believed this, but he gives a concrete example that I can relate to and use as motivation when I lose sight of the big picture in life.

“My #Regenresolution is to work harder more than ever to awaken a generation that will build a just, sustainable world,” said Martinez.

Read other writing by Christine Barnfield at