Could His Hip-Hop Save the Earth?

Bob Carmichael Images for Scholastic Inc. 

Xiuhtezcatl, 16, writes music to spread important messages about climate change—and he wants you to listen up.


When Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced shu-TEZ-kot) Martinez was just 6 years old, he watched The 11th Hour, a documentary about the devastating impact humans are having on the environment. Shocked by what he saw, he decided he had to do something about climate change. His family was already environmentally conscious—his mom had founded a group called Earth Guardians, and his older siblings were now running it—but it was the film that truly spurred Xiuhtezcatl into action. “I saw that the world was in danger,” he says. “It was terrifying for me.”

He began sneaking into Earth Guardians meetings, and before long, he was traveling around the world to educate and inspire people to join the fight. “I understood young people’s responsibility to act and be a part of a movement for change,” he says.

Ten years later, Xiuhtezcatl is the youth director of Earth Guardians—but that’s not the only way he gets his message across. He also writes and performs powerful hip-hop songs with his younger brother. “It’s hard for young people to relate to scientists explaining climate change,” he says. “But we can connect to it through music.” The pair has performed in the United Nations, at music festivals, and at schools all over the globe. “I call myself a warrior for the Earth,” Xiuhtezcatl says.

Saving the planet may seem daunting, but Xiuhtezcatl says just spreading the word about how to help the Earth is important (see “4 Easy Ways,” p. 23). “Your voice can make a difference,” he says. “We can protect the Earth, the air, the water, and the atmosphere so our generation will inherit a safe, healthy planet.”

4 Easy Ways to Help the Planet

The U.S. is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to reduce the impact you have on the environment.

1. Plug your electronics into power strips, and turn the switch off when not in use.

2. Bring reusable bags when you go shopping. 

3. Walk, skateboard, or ride a bike whenever possible—and if you have to drive, try to carpool.

4. Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth.

Source: Earth Guardians



Want more? Check out 


—Additional reporting by Jennifer Shotz


To get full access to "For Teachers" section, please


Sign Up NOW!

For Teachers