Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez is not your average 16-year-old. He’s busy mobilizing an army of teenagers in over 50 countries to demand greener policies from world leaders.
He’s been dubbed the “Kid Warrior” by some, a green activist by others, and a plaintiff by the Obama administration. Along with 20 other youth activists, Roske-Martinez is suing the Obama Administration and U.S. government over future damages to his generation caused by unsound environmental policies.
“The Federal Government has known for decades that CO2 pollution from burning fossil fuels was causing global warming and dangerous climate change,” said Xiuhtezcatl in a press release announcing the suit on August 12 last year. “It also knew that continuing to burn fossil fuels would destabilize our climate system, significantly harming my generation and generations to come. Despite knowing these dangers, Defendants did nothing to prevent this harm. In fact, my Government increased the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere to levels it knew were unsafe.”
His partner in this action? His 80-year-old grandfather, Makasha Roske, proof that generations separated by vastly different experiences can work together for a better future.
Roske-Martinez has addressed the United Nations three times, defining his activism around climate change as less about the environment and more of a human rights issue. In this exclusive video, filmed at the U.N. Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York, he talks to Real Leaders about his world view and why he’s embarked on this course of action.