Martinez: Getty Images; Juliana: Terray Sylvester—Redux

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Kelsey Juliana

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and Kelsey Juliana took action for the planet long before the current rise in environmental activism. At only 19 and 23 years old, they have been prominent campaigners for over a decade. They recognize the climate crisis as both an environmental and a human-rights issue, and are champions of the intergenerational dialogue needed to address it.

As a director at Earth Guardians, Xiuhtezcatl has helped young people in more than 60 countries build environmental and social-justice movements. He has pushed the impact of the fossil-fuel industry on indigenous communities up the political agenda, and has powerfully communicated the climate crisis through his writing and music.

Kelsey has raised awareness of the climate emergency in classrooms, rallies, film festivals and conferences in the U.S. and internationally. Together with 19 other young leaders, she and Xiuhtezcatl made a constitutional case against the use of fossil fuels with a landmark lawsuit against the U.S. federal government.

It is young people like Xiuhtezcatl and Kelsey who give me hope, in spite of the crisis we face.

Robinson is a former President of Ireland and chair of the Elders, a group of global leaders advocating for peace, justice and human rights

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