Read an excerpt of IMAGINARY BORDERS!
We’ve been spotlighting some of our favorite reads by Latinx authors in honor of #LatinxHeritageMonth, and today we’re sharing an excerpt of Imaginary Borders by Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. In this personal, moving essay, environmental activist and hip-hop artist Xiuhtezcatl Martinez uses his art and his activism to show that climate change is a human issue that can’t be ignored.
Scroll down to start reading!
I think that one of the biggest differences between our generation and our parents’ is that we understand the power of building intersectional movements. The urgency of our climate crisis, paired with the fearless leadership of our generation, is creating a new standard for how we need to view this issue. I’d say that almost anyone working on climate now, even my older, white homies like Paul Hawken and Bill McKibben, knows that we need a diverse movement with voices that represent the true breadth of the issues we face. Our generation is tearing down the walls that have divided us.
From Mauna Kea to Flint, Michigan, to the front lines of nearly every major environmental action, we’re reminding the world that indigenous people and marginalized communities need to be at the forefront of this fight.
As our ability to communicate has gotten easier, the lines that have separated us are fading. Across industries, countries, religions, professions, and academic paths, people are really starting to get it. We’re acknowledging that struggles for justice—whether they be environmental, social, political, or racial—are intrinsically linked, and so are the solutions to these crises. Our neighborhoods, our communities, and our homes are just as much a part of our environment as the oceans, forests, and mountains.
So where do you fit into all this? The misconception that activism has to look and feel a certain way is dying out as our generation is rejecting the limitations placed on us and seeing the bigger picture. Maybe you see yourself as an architect who will build more energy-efficient homes. Maybe you see yourself as a farmer growing local, delicious, organic food for your community. Maybe you see yourself as an artist who will help expand people’s consciousness.
Being a part of these movements begins where you’re inspired to plug in. Just in the last few years, I’ve seen support coming from the most random places. And it’s blown me away. From seeing pro boxer Mikey Garcia cosign the Earth Guardians movement, to collaborating with Jaden Smith, to getting requests to add an installation about the movement in one of the biggest museums in Vietnam, I’ve seen more diverse tactics and approaches than ever before. Billions of years of evolution have created the perfect conditions for humans to exist, and in the same way that we’ve disrupted that sacred balance, we have the power as a global community to restore it—to create more prosperity and justice than ever before. I believe the climate crisis can inspire the best in humanity. It is challenging us to be our most creative, resilient, visionary selves.
We can protect our communities from climate disaster without being swept away by fear. We can enjoy all this planet has to offer while ensuring that future generations will have the same opportunities. We can challenge everything broken about our world while keeping our focus on the solutions we want to build.
It’s on us, on you, to reclaim your power, to play your part in one of the most significant moments in history. Scientists project that we have a decade to reduce the greatest impacts of our climate crisis. These are about to be the wildest ten years of our lives. I believe in our generation’s power to rise to the challenge, meet this deadline, and change history. Taking that first step, no matter how small, is up to you.
Are you in?
Imaginary Borders is out now! Get your copy here!