RE-Generation: Becoming an Earth Guardian
By Sierra Robinson
Youth creating a path to a better future.
Ever since I can remember, I have felt a sense of connection to the Earth. Yet even at a young age I was very aware that things were not right. I could clearly see the destruction, degeneration, and depletion of the world’s natural resources happening around me.
So I began my journey searching for solutions and answers that could lead to a sustainable future. This led to my discovery of permaculture at the age of eight. Offering a toolkit of solutions to these ever-present problems the world is facing, I haven’t stopped learning about permaculture since.
Yet, I still felt that I needed to be able to connect more with people closer to my age with similar values. I needed to know that I wasn’t the only one with these concerns. What I discovered has changed my life, as my search led me to an organization called Earth Guardians.
Earth Guardians (EG) is a global youth-lead, non-profit organization working to help preserve and protect the planet and all its inhabitants. Earth Guardians empowers and inspires youth to create positive solutions and changes in their lives and communities through direct actions and educational campaigns.
Xiuhtezcatl speaks on the main stage at the 2016 Bioneers Conference.
Founded in 1992 as an accredited experiential learning high school on Maui, Hawaii, EG focuses on environmental awareness and action as its core curriculum. Tamara Rose Roske, founder and executive director of EG, is the heart and soul behind many of its projects.
She has successfully directed her vision to involve youth in environmental awareness, cultural involvement, and positive change. She is also the mother of six incredible children, who are all actively involved in the organization.
Her son, Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, (pronounced “shoo-TEHZ-caht”) is a 17-year-old indigenous climate activist, hip-hop artist, author, and the Global Youth Director of Earth Guardians. He has been an activist since the age of six, and in 2017 released his first book WE RISE: The Earth Guardians Guide To Building A Movement That Restores The Planet.
He travels the world performing his music and speaking at places as diverse as the UN to small schools. This summer he will tour for his debut album, Break Free, with Nahko and Medicine for the People and the Late Ones.
“We are a tribe of young activists, artists, and musicians from across the globe, stepping up as leaders to co-create the future we know is possible. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” says Xiuhtezcatl.
The Earth Guardians Crew in Togo Africa hosts a climate change training in their school.
Photo compliments of Earth Guardians
At the close of 2017, Motherboard VICE awarded him the “Human of the Year Award.” Xiuhtezcatl was acknowledged for his leadership and creative political protest, including acting as lead plaintiff in a youth-led lawsuit against the federal government – for its failure to protect the atmosphere for future generations.
Recently, Xiuhtezcatl and Earth Guardians Regional Crew Directors launched a digital campaign in collaboration with Lonely Whale to raise awareness about the single use plastic straw epidemic.
To compliment Lonely Whale’s #StopSucking campaign asking people to say “No Thanks” to single use plastic straws, Earth Guardians asks you to say yes to strawless drinks and to embrace your #LiquidStache. With predictions of the oceans having more plastic than fish by the year 2050, EG is reminding us that we don’t have to sit back and let this sad fate come to pass. Instead, we can all change our consumer habits and become Earth Guardians. One easy step is to refuse straws.
There are now thousands of engaged youth participating in EG Crews in more than 40 countries and spanning 6 continents. They have accomplished many objectives around the world and received a great deal of press and attention for their local actions. Some examples include the EG Crew in Togo and Ghana planting more than 10,000 trees in 2016, establishing wells in Africa for drinking water, cleaning up rivers in Asia, monitoring air quality in India, and the Boulder, Colorado Crew was part of efforts to achieve a moratorium to ban fracking in the area.
Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez speaks at a large demonstration calling for environmental protection.
Globally, EG Crews are working together to combat some of the biggest, most important issues of our time. I am inspired to learn about all these efforts; it has helped turn my despair into action. I know that I also can be a part of this revolution, where we start waking up, caring, and become healing forces to the world.
This led me to start a local chapter, establishing an Earth Guardians Crew, in the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island. We are working together with many amazing, influential people in our community, including the Cowichan Valley Regional District, our local Member of Parliament, and Jan Mangan and her grandkids, Galveston and Róisín, who are directors of nearby Salt Spring Island EG Crew.
I have come to realize that we, as a global community, are past the point where it is enough to just sign a petition, turn off the tap while brushing our teeth, or change a light bulb to LED. We need to take bigger actions locally and globally if we want to see the change needed to preserve the planet for my generation and those to come.
This starts by making positive changes in our own communities, taking initiative over our own actions, and deciding what kind of world we want to leave to future generations. This is a question that each and every person living today must ask themselves.
Through Earth Guardians, I have learned that we don’t all have to be politicians, frontline activists, or scientists. But, we do need to find our purpose and passions, and play our part in creating a future that we believe in!
Change begins by learning and educating yourself about the issues that are closest to your heart. That’s where you really have the power to make a difference. If you love what you do, it shows. Use your passions to create change. Join the movement, get involved, and have fun! Find out what issues your community is facing and how you can help.
Xiuhtezcatl’s book WE RISE offers great insight for those seeking to have a positive impact on the planet, both at a local and global scale (see a review of the book on page 68).
Xiuhtezcatl met with Sierra and Cedar Robinson at the 2017 Bioneers Conference.
“WE RISE is a comprehensive overview of the state of the planet,” said Xiuhtezcatl when I interviewed him at the Bioneers conference in October of 2017. “It looks at some of the most critical environmental, social, political, and economic issues through the lens of climate change: understanding that climate change is the defining issue of our time that encompasses all these issues, and with the perspective of how do we achieve the solutions. It is from understanding that our political leaders have, and are continuing to fail us… It’s a call to action! This book is written to influence and impact people in a way that will inspire them and give them the tools to enact change in their communities and in their lives.”
Please consider joining or starting an EG Crew in your area. Realize and embrace the power of people uniting together to fight for a common goal – a regenerative future. Observe and interact. Catch and store energy. Use the permaculture principles and ethics not only as a way to design your landscape, but also as a system for your way of thinking and living. Apply the ethics and principles to the social aspects of your life. Beautiful things will emerge.
You are invited to join in our mission to protect the planet for future generations. As Xiuhtezcatl says, “No matter what your age, you have the power to make a difference. Recognize the power you have and take action upon that. Use your voice. Use your passion. Use that fight within you.”
Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez speaks at a large demonstration
calling for environmental protection.
EarthGuardians.org to start your own Crew, join the Protect Our Future Campaigns and meet the amazing community behind this organization. Help support their work by donating or signing up online.
Check Earth Guardians out on Youtube and other social media to get involved.
#liquidstache #stopsucking #EarthGuardians #CowichanValleyEarthGuardiansCrew #BreakFree #WeRise
Xiuhtezcatl.com for tour dates and speaking locations.
Xiuhtezcatl and his brother Itzcuauhtli performing with Richard Vagner onstage at Bioneers 2016.
Here’s the article as a pdf, as seen in Issue 08.
Click the “pop-out” button on the top right corner of the image to get a closer look.