'ECO JESUS'. The “Kid Warrior Trying To Save Our Planet”, “a rising rock star in the world of environmental activists”, the "Anti-Bieber.’ Aged just 17, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez has already made a name for himself.

The self-styled “climate warrior” with the distinctive waist-length hippy hair was just six years old when he began speaking on the subject - now he's the darling of the US talk show circuit and he's coming our way next.

Martinez has already made three speeches at the UN on the environment and climate change. He has just published a book, We Rise, a guide to building a “movement that restores a planet”. A hip-hop artist, he is about to release his debut album. In 2013 President Obama gave him the “Youth Change Maker of the Year” award. This is the kind of kid, who along with the likes of Malala, makes the future look a better place.

To cap it all, Martinez is one of the plaintiffs in a constitutional climate lawsuit, brought on behalf of young people by a group known as Our Children’s Trust, that seeks to compel the Trump government to make more aggressive efforts to tackle climate change. The lawsuit is expected to go to court next February.

Martinez - his first name is Aztec and is pronounced ‘Shu-Tez-Caht’ - is from Boulder, Colorado. He says he has felt a strong connection to the natural world for as long as he can remember - to the mountains, forests and rivers of Colorado.

He says he was raised in the Aztec tradition. His father, of Aztec heritage, taught him that as indigenous people, they were descendants of the original caretakers of the land. As he wrote on Twitter last month: “Indigenous people are at the forefront of our climate & environmental crisis.”

Martinez is youth director of Earth Guardians, whose aim is to “grow a resilient movement with youth at the forefront by empowering them as leaders and amplifying their impact”. Yes, it sounds like corporate gobbledeegook but at least the lad's heart is in the right place.

In a slightly super-hero sounding speech, he said of Earth Guardians: “No matter whom they are or where they are in the world. It doesn’t matter what your status is in society – none of this matters, we can all be Earth Guardians. This movement is growing globally. People can see young people standing up in their communities and they are changing things that are not working, so that their world is a better place.”

The non-profit group was founded in Hawaii in 1992 by Martinez’s eco-activist mother, Tamara Roske. “My mother has been on the front lines of this movement for years,” Martinez said. “She's a warrior. I envy her ability to put everything aside and to fight for what's right. More than the activism, it's her power, her passion. A lot of kids don't have what I have. They didn't have the parents that I have, they didn't have the community that I have, the support that I have.”

The constitutional climate lawsuit brought by Our Children’s Trust is one of numerous instances in the US and elsewhere in which ordinary people are turning to the law in order to get meaningful action against climate change.

The lawsuit was initially brought against the Obama administration. Motions to dismiss by both the Obama and Trump administrations and by fossil-fuel corporations have been dismissed by judges, and it is expected that the case will go to trial next February, at the U.S. District Court of Oregon in Eugene.

“These children’s lives and their security are threatened by what the government is doing,” one of the lead lawyers in the case said.

Martinez himself said: “One thing to note that is incredibly important is that one of the biggest problems we’ve made as a planet is that the community is depending on our politicians to do things for us when as constituents we also have to be a part of that process.

“Especially as young people, when our futures are so directly connected to the way that we address climate change that we have to be at the forefront of the conversation, but we have traditionally been left out.

“So we are demanding the federal government to protect us from the adverse impacts of climate change.” Next February 5 the plaintiffs will demand that the Trump administration “uphold our Constitutional rights as American citizens”, he added.

Trump has, of course, gone on record with caustic remarks about climate change, having referred to it as a “hoax”. He has withdrawn the US from the landmark Paris climate agreement, and appointed Scott Pruitt, someone who has long opposed the Environmental Protection Agency’s activist agenda, as head of the EPA. Even after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the administration has declined to publicly discuss climate change.

Whatever happens with the forthcoming court case, Martinez will doubtless continue to be a prominent activist on the subject of climate change, convinced that young people have a key role to play.

Environmental activism clearly runs in the family. In 2014 his younger brother, Itzcuauhtli, with whom he makes music, launched a Climate Silence campaign, infuriated that world leaders were doing nothing about climate change, and refused to speak for 45 days. He was just 11 at the time, and he drew a lot of attention.

Xiuhtezcatl was asked in 2015 whether, after observing a week-long, high-level UN summit on climate change, he had any desire to go on a talking strike like his brother’s. “No," he said. "I wouldn't be able to survive.” Expect to hear more from him as the climate-change debate hots up.