By Ron Newberry
COUPEVILLE — Retired Oak Harbor physician Marshall Goldberg likens Xiuhtezcatl Martinez to a rock star.
Booking him for two speaking engagements on Whidbey Island was no small feat.
“Another year from now, we’d never get him,” Goldberg said.
Martinez, a 16-year-old climate change activist and hip-hop artist from Boulder, Colorado, will join KC Golden, a senior policy adviser at Climate Solutions in Seattle, for two free public appearances later this week as part of the Trudy Sundberg Lecture Series.
Speaking on “Climate Action: What Now? Reports from the Front Lines,” the pair will appear Friday at the Coupeville High School Performing Arts Center, and Saturday at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts (WICA). Both events will start at 7 p.m. and will be followed by question-and-answer sessions.
Martinez also is scheduled to visit South Whidbey High School to meet with students Friday.
“These two climate leaders bring messages that speak to both young people and adults about the current state of climate action — or inaction,” said Goldberg, who leads the lecture series planning committee. “Both of our speakers are on the front lines of climate action and will have a lot to say about what’s working — and what the future holds.
“What makes this different is we have two generations coming together maybe with some different perspectives,” Goldberg said.
The lecture series honors the memory of Trudy Sundberg, an Oak Harbor High School teacher and civic activist who died in 2013.
Her family, friends and the Sno-Isle Libraries Foundation established the Trudy Sundberg Memorial Fund to underwrite a lecture series in her name that reflected her interests and to promote lifelong learning.
Last May, Pulitzer Prize and Emmy Award winner Hedrick Smith gave a lecture that drew an overflow crowd at WICA. The following night in Coupeville, his talk brought in at least 300 people, according to Goldberg.
Xiuhtezcatl (pronounced Shoe-Tex-Caht) Martinez, whose father is Aztec Indian, has been speaking around the world about the need to protect the planet.
He is youth director of Earth Guardians, an organization of activists, artists and musicians from around the world.
Three times, Martinez has spoken before the United Nations. He also is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Obama administration for failing to adequately protect his generation’s future against climate change.
“He’s writing a book. He’s going to be in a documentary with Leonardo DiCaprio this spring. I could go on and on,” Goldberg said.
Golden has been a leader in the national climate movement for decades and was policy adviser to a number of Pacific Northwest governors and mayors. In 2012, he received the Heinz Award for Public Policy for his lifetime achievement as a climate advocate.
“It really fits with our civic engagement initiative — bringing people together to talk about topics that are important where there are many different viewpoints,” said Mary Campbell, librarian at the Oak Harbor Library.