Non-profit

Earth Guardians

Website:

www.earthguardians.org

Location:

BOULDER, CO

Tax ID:

84-1397083

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2019):

Revenue: $417,175
Expenses: $343,543
Assets: $167,591

Earth Guardians is a left-leaning nonprofit that provides instruction to children and teens on how to engage in environmentalist activism. Earth Guardians was originally founded in 1992 as the Earth Guardian Community Resource Center, an experimental private high school in Maui, Hawaii with “environmental awareness and action” as part of its core curriculum. [1] Since relocating to Boulder, Colorado, the charity has reached a broader audience by organizing more than 400 chapters, or “crews,” around the world. [2] Earth Guardians’ visibility is largely thanks to the organization’s youth director, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who has received numerous awards for his work as an environmental activist. [3]

As an organization, Earth Guardians is partnered with Greenpeace, Tree Sisters, Our Children’s Trust, 1% for the Planet, and 350.org. [4]

History

Tamara Roske co-founded the Earth Guardian Community Resource Center in 1992. [5] Roske would work as Earth Guardians’ executive director until May 2021, when she was replaced by feminist activist Catherine Kakolo Mongella. [6]

Earth Guardians relocated to Boulder, Colorado in 1997 to expand its operations. [7] Earth Guardians organizes “crews” of young people around the world to put on events that advocate for environmentalist causes. In Togo, West Africa, an Earth Guardians chapter organized a tree planting in celebration of Earth Day. [8]

Lawsuit

In 2013, six children organized by Earth Guardians filed a petition demanding that the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (COGCC) stop issuing new drilling permits to companies until they prove their actions will not harm the environment and human health. [9] The COGCC denied the petition, but Earth Guardians’ actions led a partner organization, Our Children’s Trust, to file a lawsuit, Martinez v. COGCC, in which the Colorado Supreme Court eventually ruled in favor of the COGCC in 2018. [10] Craig Tucker, executive director of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, a right-leaning free-market environmentalism nonprofit, commented that groups like Earth Guardians were “cynically using children to spearhead a lawsuit that serves the narrow interests of green elites.” [11]

In 2015, Our Children’s Trust filed another a lawsuit, Juliana v. United States of America, claiming that the federal government was responsible for climate change and calling for “an enforceable national remedial plan to phase out fossil fuel emissions and stabilize the climate system.” [12] The lawsuit named Earth Guardian’s youth director Xiuhtezcatl Martinez as a plaintiff. In 2021, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the activists’ demands exceeded a federal court’s remedial authority. [13]

In July 2021, Earth Guardians released a notice of intent on behalf of numerous conservation groups to sue the U.S. Forest Service over its approval of a permit that would allow test drilling for a dam in Homestake Valley, Colorado, claiming that the project would harm endangered wildlife. [14]

Leadership

Russell Mendell is Earth Guardians’ former campaign director. [15] Mendell was affiliated with various anti-natural-gas activist groups such as Frack Free Colorado and the New York-based Water Defense. [16] He was previously involved in the Occupy Wall Street movement and was quoted at a rally saying “there’s not a lot that separates the environmental movement and Occupy Wall Street.” [17] Mendell is currently an associate at RMI, a nonprofit organization seeking to promote the use of alternative energies. [18]

Catherine Kakolo Mongella is Earth Guardian’s executive director since May 2021. She formerly headed the nonprofit organization Cheka Sana Tanzania, which provides aid to victims of sex trafficking and homeless youths in East Africa. [19]

Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is the youth director and public face of Earth Guardians. [20] At age 15 he addressed the United Nations, gaining media attention for an address on climate change. He was one of 24 national “change-makers” selected to sit on former President Barack Obama’s youth council and received the United States Community Service Award in 2013. [21]

In a 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Martinez revealed that Earth Guardians’ next advocacy effort would be a “global state of emergency around climate change.” [22] Martinez’s younger brother, Itzcuauhtli, gained media attention for his 2014 Climate Silence campaign, a six-week “talking strike,” that encouraged children from around the world to protest the failure of political leaders to enact strict restrictions on economic activity in the name of climate change. [23]

References

  1. “Story.” Earth Guardians, www.earthguardians.org/story/. ^
  2. Pineda, Chelsea. “This Teen Has Been Leading the Fight against Climate Change since He Was Six.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 23 Nov. 2015, www.businessinsider.com/meet-the-15-year-old-anti-bieber-whos-leading-the-youth-led-climate-movement-2015-11. ^
  3. Martinez, Xiuhtezcatl. “This 17-Year-Old Is Standing Up for the Environment in a Major Way.” Teen Vogue, TeenVogue.com, 27 Apr. 2018, www.teenvogue.com/story/xiuhtezcatl-martinez-explains-why-hes-fighting-climate-change. ^
  4. “Partners.” Earth Guardians, www.earthguardians.org/partners/. ^
  5. “Tamara Roske.” Earth Guardians. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.earthguardians.org/team/tamara-roske. ^
  6. The Earth Guardians Board of Directors. “Executive Director Announcement.” Earth Guardians. Earth Guardians, May 19, 2021. https://www.earthguardians.org/engage/executivedirector2021. ^
  7. “Story.” Earth Guardians, www.earthguardians.org/story/. ^
  8. Keady, Cameron. “Colorado Teenager Rallies Youth Around The World To Protect The Planet.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/04/22/kid-warrior-earth-guardian_n_7111530.html. ^
  9. Finley, Bruce. “Colorado Appeals Court Says State Must Protect Health and Environment before Allowing Oil and Gas Drilling.” The Denver Post, The Denver Post, 24 Mar. 2017, www.denverpost.com/2017/03/23/colorado-appeals-court-state-must-protect-health-environment/.   ^
  10. “Martinez v. COGCC: Colorado Supreme Court Rejects Adverse Impacts Pre-Condition.” Welborn Sullivan Meck and Tooley, P.C., August 28, 2020. https://www.wsmtlaw.com/blog/martinez-v-cogcc-colorado-supreme-court-rejects-adverse-impacts-pre-condition.html. ^
  11. “Colorado Supreme Court Takes Up Childrens’ Climate Lawsuit.” The Heartland Institute. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.heartland.org/news-opinion/news/colorado-supreme-court-takes-up-childrens-climate-lawsuit. ^
  12. Burkett, Maxine. “Juliana v. United States.” Harvard Law Review, March 10, 2021. https://harvardlawreview.org/2021/03/juliana-v-united-states/. ^
  13. Burkett, Maxine. “Juliana v. United States.” Harvard Law Review, March 10, 2021. https://harvardlawreview.org/2021/03/juliana-v-united-states/. ^
  14. Salvail, Andre. “Carbondale Nonprofit Notifies USFS of Intent to Sue over Permit Decision.” Aspen Daily News, July 8, 2021. https://www.aspendailynews.com/news/carbondale-nonprofit-notifies-usfs-of-intent-to-sue-over-permit-decision/article_43aeb772-df94-11eb-82fd-b7f97946ff95.html. ^
  15. Mendell, Uday Varadarajan David Posner Sam Mardell Russell. “Russell Mendell.” RMI, April 2, 2021. https://rmi.org/people/russell-mendell/. ^
  16. “Russell Mendell.” Big Green Radicals. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.biggreenradicals.com/?activist=russell-mendell. ^
  17. “Russell Mendell.” Big Green Radicals. Accessed July 8, 2021. https://www.biggreenradicals.com/?activist=russell-mendell. ^
  18. Mendell, Uday Varadarajan David Posner Sam Mardell Russell. “Russell Mendell.” RMI, April 2, 2021. https://rmi.org/people/russell-mendell/. ^
  19. The Earth Guardians Board of Directors. “Executive Director Announcement.” Earth Guardians. Earth Guardians, May 19, 2021. https://www.earthguardians.org/engage/executivedirector2021. ^
  20. McPherson, Coco. “The Teen Indigenous Hip-Hop Artist Fighting Climate Change.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2018, www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/meet-the-teenage-indigenous-hip-hop-artist-taking-on-climate-change-186079/. ^
  21. McPherson, Coco. “The Teen Indigenous Hip-Hop Artist Fighting Climate Change.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2018, www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/meet-the-teenage-indigenous-hip-hop-artist-taking-on-climate-change-186079/. ^
  22. McPherson, Coco. “The Teen Indigenous Hip-Hop Artist Fighting Climate Change.” Rolling Stone, Rolling Stone, 25 June 2018, www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/meet-the-teenage-indigenous-hip-hop-artist-taking-on-climate-change-186079/. ^
  23. Douglas, Paul. “Even Better than Buffalo: Weekend Thaw – Cold Rain – Accumulating Snow for Thanksgiving?” Star Tribune, Star Tribune, 20 Nov. 2014, www.startribune.com/even-better-than-buffalo-weekend-thaw-cold-rain-accumulating-snow-for-thanksgiving/283289631/.cole_mellino. “11-Year-Old Takes Vow of Silence Demanding Climate Action.” EcoWatch, EcoWatch, 27 June 2016, www.ecowatch.com/11-year-old-takes-vow-of-silence-demanding-climate-action-1881972988.html. ^

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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: February 1, 1999

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2019 Dec Form 990 $417,175 $343,543 $167,591 $14,049 N $412,374 $4,797 $4 $79,935 PDF
    2018 Dec Form 990 $394,994 $336,697 $102,781 $22,871 N $384,161 $10,833 $0 $50,025 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $207,404 $226,093 $25,536 $3,923 N $138,207 $69,197 $0 $0
    2015 Dec Form 990EZ $143,434 $133,713 $34,384 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990EZ $102,632 $124,475 $74,663 $50,000 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990EZ $73,913 $46,945 $28,047 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Earth Guardians

    3980 BROADWAY STREET
    BOULDER, CO 80304-1133