MICHELLE KIM/THE VARSITY

Those of us born into the age of the internet — the true ‘digital natives,’ as they like to call us on the World Wide Web — have quite the reputation around town. Respected disseminators of journalism, irreputable spreaders of libel, and  media outlets across the continent love to conjure up the now-ubiquitous image of the tottering ‘millennial’: eyes glued to a screen irreverently, missing the world around them as it blurs past.

Certainly, all of the world worth seeing occurs in one singular instance, in one particular place — it couldn’t possibly be that there are worldviews worth accessing beside your own!

News, media, gossip, or whichever word applies best in the circumstance run on these generational perceptions, eager to please a target audience that is increasingly dissatisfied with a changing world, but unwilling to take the necessary steps to change it themselves. For all of you following along at home, making the inevitable social connection to the phrase ‘changing world’: if you thought of the climate crisis, well, you’d be correct.

Our climate is shifting, becoming erratic, and changing faster than what many animals can adapt to via natural selection. Few other periods of world history have experienced something as drastic in the manner we’re observing, and it’s because of human activity.

This is a fact accepted by all but the most willfully ignorant of a generation that has been watching the real-time death of the planet’s one and only shot at life, for the entirety of their own.

To cut the rot out of the core, it’s become similarly apparent that this generation must intercept the climate crisis at all levels: cultural, socioeconomic, and systemic.

The youth of this planet are paralyzed in their image as oblivious bohemians who are too artificial for a world not quite plastic-perfect enough for them.

The educated, the ‘good ones’ — the ones for which the climate crisis is a given — experience a special kind of ignorance: a pleasurable bliss provided by intellectual security.

‘Of course’ our world is stuck in a collection of aging, fragile, and outdated systems that endanger the lives of billions, every day that they’re allowed to operate.

It’s thus us, the educated ones, who must take up the charge and become the vanguard to fight the climate crisis, in place of a generation who cannot or will not use their education.

So why should you care about the climate crisis in this context? Why should it matter to you, as a student, and to the University of Toronto? In this one singular instance, in this one particular place?

The answer:

Despite what everyone might have you think, you hold all the cards: oodles of time left on Earth; the ability to think critically, support an opinion, and communicate effectively; and a nice shiny honours degree under your belt.

If not, do it for an emotional reason: for the kids of the future. If not for an economic reason, or for your own selfish advantage in a world nobody is prepared for, then to use an absurdly expensive degree and make use of half of a decade.

Get out of the classroom with your unsustainably-printed diploma and make a difference in your industry of choice. You have the brains, you have the experience. And more than anything, you are capable as all hell.         

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 300 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

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