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Colonialism is targeted, as indigenous youth build a climate justice movement

indigenousIndigenous Youth Are Building a Climate Justice Movement by Targeting Colonialism, 20 June 2016 By Jaskiran DhillonTruthout | Report  “Climate change is the defining issue of our time.” These urgent words came from 16-year-old Xiuhtezcatl Roske-Martinez, a young Indigenous man raised in the Aztec tradition, at a United Nations General Assembly event on climate change held on June 29, 2015. Roske-Martinez is the youth director for Earth Guardians, a nonprofit organization centered on galvanizing global youth leadership to defend the planet for current and future generations. He is mobilizing youth through school-based presentations, legal challenges, eco hip-hop and public talks — elevating the voices of young people near and far and empowering them to become forces of change in their own right.

Upon learning the federal courts upheld the rights of youth on April 8, 2016, in a landmark constitutional climate change case brought forward by Our Children’s Trust (representing 21 youth plaintiffs) against the US federal government and fossil fuel industry, Roske-Martinez made the following public statement:

When those in power stand alongside the very industries that threaten the future of my generation instead of standing with the people, it is a reminder that they are not our leaders. The real leaders are the twenty youth standing with me in court to demand justice for my generation and justice for all youth. We will not be silent, we will not go unnoticed, and we are ready to stand to protect everything our “leaders” have failed to fight for. They are afraid of the power we have to create change. And this change we are creating will go down in history.

And change things they will.

Roske-Martinez is not alone in his pursuit of environmental justice through the harnessing of young people’s power, experiential knowledge and visioning of a future world where balance has been restored on Earth. He is part of a growing battalion ofIndigenous youth warriors railing against the failure of governments, fossil fuel companies, domestic and international monitoring agencies, and human rights organizations to acknowledge the grave environmental destruction surfacing in the wake of Western-born models of industrialization and to be accountable around climate recovery. They are calling out the relentless rise of a global, capitalist social order promoting an extreme form of economic growth that results in the skyrocketing of wealth for few at the great expense of many.

Demanding the environmental movement contend first and foremost with the fundamental linkages between colonialism and climate change, Indigenous youth across Native North America are mounting resistance efforts to protect their ancestral homelands from further exploitation.

This is a timely endeavor, as natural gas and oil extraction continue unabated throughout Turtle Island, with lethal aftereffects, as recently witnessed with the Fort McMurray wildfire that burned the city to the ground. Simultaneously, Indigenous youth are developing locally based solutions to address the toxic impact of extractive processes on their communities. Indigenous Nations are often situated on the frontlines and forced to deal with the immediate fallout of environmental degradation such as contaminated soilopen-air wastewater pits and poisoned water sources. For Indigenous peoples, youth have always been at the heart of society, and future generations are a key motivation for the practice of maintaining balance with the world of relations…….

Close attention must be paid to the wisdom and knowledge of Indigenous youth and their communities as they attempt to heal and protect our planet from the harm that comes in the wake of a never-ending demand for more energy, regardless of the cost……http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/36482-indigenous-youth-are-building-a-climate-justice-movement-by-targeting-colonialism

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June 22, 2016 - Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change

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