Veteran investigative reporter Todd Shepherd posted earlier today on a video making its way through social media featuring two kids rapping about fracking as guests of the Jeffco Public School system. Below is a video from Revealing Politics about this school assembly, but what we wanted to know is who are these kids?
According to a Boulder Daily Camera article in 2011, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez (the older of the two children) has been a “fracktivist” since he was six years old. He is now 13. His younger brother, Itzcuauhtli, is nine, according to his bio on Earth Guardians, an organization founded by his mother Tamara to which he and Xiuhtezcatl belong. Despite Xiuhtezcatl’s young age, his mother, Tamara Roske claims that she did not indoctrinate him – that he chose to be an activist. Here is what she told the Boulder Daily Camera:
“She said this is because she allows the children to choose the issues important to them, stays behind the scenes and only gives help when needed.
‘The kids just do it, and I support them,’ Roske said. ‘I help to empower them to find their own voices.'”
And, sometimes their voices aren’t so nice, per a report by Amy Oliver. Nonetheless, Roske’s children’s activism seems to work out well for as the founder of the Earth Guardians in 1994. Boulder Mayor Susan Osborne is a fan of the two boys as she told the Boulder Camera: “When they come to speak at council, they pretty much always get what they want because they’re so articulate and thoughtful.”
Beyond finding their voices, Roske also helps them find legal counsel as Xiuhtezcatl Martinez also served as a plaintiff against Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper, a fair weather friend of fracking. From the complaint:
“Defendants the State of Colorado, Governor John Hickenlooper, Colorado Department of Health and Environment, Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, and Colorado Department of Natural Resources (collectively the “State” or “State Defendants”) have a fiduciary duty to protect the atmosphere from the effects of climate change and to hold this vital natural resource in “trust” for present and future generations of Colorado citizens. Plaintiffs Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, by and through his mother Tamara Roske, Haiden Inskeep, by and through his mother Kate Inskeep, Cecelia Kluding-Rodriguez, and WildEarth Guardians (“Plaintiffs”) bring this action to enforce the State Defendants’ mandatory duty under the public trust doctrine, which imposes the duty to affirmatively preserve and protect Colorado’s trust assets from damage or loss, and not to use the asset in a manner that causes injury to the trust beneficiaries, present and future.”
In short, this then 11-year old kid sued Hick for screwing up the environment. But, within far (and we mean faaar) left environmental groups, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is something of a legend. He has spoken at the Rio +20 United Nations Summit in Rio Brazil, in addition to the other UN panels and “many” UN side events at which he’s spoken. His story also was featured in “Trust Colorado”, a short film documentary that won the 2012 Best Environmental Film Documentary of the Year. See all of his achievements here.
To think, when we were six years old, we were struggling to write out names in cursive. At eleven, we were just learning algebra. But, no, there is no child exploitation going on here. Absolutely not.