We are the generation that is either going to end with the earth or change everything (Part 2)
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This is part 2 of an interview with environmental activist
Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez. Read part 1 here.
And what are some of the things that the branches of Earth
One of the big things is education and inspiring other young people to create young leaders in their communities, so that you have a place to go to when you want to make a difference in your community. It really depends on where you are on the globe. Our group in Africa, they have about 50 kids there now, and they meet every week, they do different programs, they collect trash, they make benches out of it. Actually the first one just placed in the Chief’s house, which was very exciting for them. And we’re working on a global tree planting campaign with all the other groups and we’re all going to plant trees at the same time. Bringing awareness, bringing education, also bringing opportunities for kids so they can go somewhere and they can be more than ordinary kids, and do something that is actually going to make a difference on this planet. But again there is a big focus on education and taking that education to the communities, and organizing rallies and protests, going to city council and talking to elected officials about why something is wrong and why we have to change it.
Do you use a lot of social media? Is the media helping young people get the message out? Or do you feel that at the same time it is also drowning out these messages because there is so much out there?
I think that a lot of people, especially older people, view social media and the Internet as “enemies” , that are brainwashing our generation. We definitely use a lot of social media, because never before in the history of the earth have we been able to stay connected to people around the world like we can now because of the Internet. And I think that can be used as a tool to help us spread our message and to build this revolution. But it has to be used in the right way and we have to be aware that it can also be used in a way that is not nurturing.
Tell us about one of the strangest or funniest thing that has happened to you?
When I was in Washington DC lobbying Congress I got hit by a bike. Which was really surprising. He was going really fast and just slammed into me and I fell on the ground and he just kept on biking…
Then we were in Brazil for this huge conference, it was the Rio +20 Summit, and there were all these side events that we were being invited to but there were so many people in the city so the transportation situation was awful. So we went on this huge bus to go to this event and it took us about 6 hours to get there – and of course by the time we got there the event was over. But we spent the whole bus ride reciting lyrics from our songs and eating granola bars and laughing our faces off in the backseat. And it was pretty funny.
What’s your one piece of advice that you want to give the VOY audience?
I don’t want to be telling anyone what to do – because if I’m telling people to become activists, forcing it upon them, then it is not the right way to go about things. I just think that these days we need hope and with all the crazy stuff happening with climate change and collapsing ecosystems and floods and droughts etc…all these things that are destroying what we’ve evolved to at this point… the greed of the past generation, of consumption, getting money, what our lives are built around.
For young people I think it is a blessing to be part of this generation because we have the opportunity to change our society fundamentally. We are the generation that is either going to end with the earth or change everything about it and save the planet. Which may sound corny, but if you actually think about what’s happening, it is true.
I just think that we have to look at ourselves and everything that we've come up to – look at our ancestry, where we've come from, the land – and see whether we’re really happy with what we've done to the earth, to ourselves, to society, to our cultures…everything that’s happening right now – is that what we really wanted? And what you feel about that will determine the way my generation will live in the future.
You can read more about Xiuhtezcatl and the Earth Guardians here.