UTM administration answered student questions on policies in the works that would improve student mental health. SHANNA HUNTER/THE VARSITY

This September, individuals and organizations around the world will join together in a global demonstration to demand climate action and an end to the age of fossil fuels. U of T’s Mississauga campus has been involved in organizing events in support of the Global Climate Strike. For instance, UTM held a banner-making workshop in preparation for the walkout on September 20. On both September 20 and 27, people from around the world will have walked out of homes, schools, and workplaces to show their dissatisfaction over inaction surrounding the climate crisis.

UTM is helping along the strike by sharing resources and information on the movement, and hosting teach-ins, talks, and workshops throughout the week. UTSG administration hasn’t released any statements on the issue, though Faculty of Arts & Science Dean Melanie Woodin sent an email on September 22 in support of the strike.

By supporting this cause, UTM is showing that it is listening to the concerns of its students and taking the climate crisis seriously. Its support of this movement conveys that it understands the importance of climate action, especially for young people. While climate change will affect everyone, it is young people who are particularly distraught, as their entire futures are under urgent  threat.

As a 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) — a United Nations body — report stated, the world only has between one and three decades to reduce greenhouse gas emissions drastically before we face catastrophic climate destruction.

Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish student, is the face of youth activism against the climate crisis today. Thunberg, like millions of students around the world, sees everything that she works and strives toward, including her education and her future career, being in jeopardy due to the actions — and inactions — of corporations, politicians, and individuals. The Global Climate Strike is a demand from young people around the world to world leaders for an urgent response to the climate crisis and divestment from fossil fuel industries to world leaders.

By supporting this cause and encouraging involvement in climate action, UTM is acting as a visible leader in the fight against the climate crisis. It is validating the concerns of its student body, and in doing so, it shows that it does not view its students merely as masses of numbers or tuition checks, but recognizes them as the future of this country and the world at large.

Recently, U of T moved up to be the 18th-best university in the world, according to Times Higher Education. Students at this university are some of the brightest around the globe, and have the potential to affect positive change in whatever they choose to pursue. By participating in this movement, UTM is not just supporting climate action; it is safeguarding the future of its students. This stance is one that UTSG and UTSC should follow as well, because when you encourage young people to advocate for their future, they will be that much more empowered to change this world for the better.

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

Hafsa Ahmed is a third-year Political Science student at UTM.

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