Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, youth activist, speaks at Chico State


Martinez spoke about the need to focus on framing the issue of climate change to be more personal, instead of just abstract numbers. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Nearly 800 students and community members of all ages filled the Bell Memorial Union auditorium Monday in anticipation of world-renowned climate activist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez.

Martinez spoke for over an hour, discussing his childhood, growing up with a love for nature while seeing the environmental destruction of society around him, and wanting to do something about it.

Martinez also spoke of the need to reframe the challenge of communicating the crisis of global climate change.

“This was my home,” Martinez showed a slide of houses flooded, their roofs barely above the water-line, while hills in the background were on fire. He had to be evacuated as a child, one of many already displaced by environmental disasters that are being accelerated due to global climate change.

Martinez showed how to present the information on a graph and discussed how well it works. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

“And this is the way we are presenting it,” he said, flipping to a slide of line-graphs and mathematical figures. Martinez shared that by focusing on framing the issue to be more personal, instead of just abstract numbers, he has been able to reach much wider and more diverse audiences.

After the talk, Martinez fielded questions, specifically asking for any from younger members of the audience. He spoke with two different eight-year-olds about plastic pollution getting into the oceans, and how to build your own network to start fighting climate change.

Martinez's book was available at the event. Photo credit: Josh Cozine

Check back later for further coverage from The Orion, or The Institute for Sustainable Development’s website where a recording of the event will eventually be made available.

Josh Cozine can be reached at [email protected] or @joshcozine on Twitter.