Our generation is vital to saving the world

Troy Wilkinson

What does it mean to be tasked with saving the world? It’s probably the largest burden you could possibly be given. Usually saving the world is reserved for superheroes or zombie movies — it’s such a simple, yet ever-important goal that easily fits the exaggerated story lines in films. In movies, the world seems to be in peril all the time, requiring Superman or Brad Pitt to save it, but saving the world isn’t quite as exclusive to our entertainment as we’d like to think.

In fact the world needs real saving as we speak, and it’s up to us — the generation that’s in college right now — to do so. That’s why we are one of the most, if not the most, important generation to exist.

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Now I’m not saying that today’s generation of young adults is the best generation, nor that we shouldn’t realize and cherish the accomplishments of those in the past. But we need to realize that it is going to be largely on the shoulders of those of us in the college range to stop climate change from making the Earth uninhabitable and destroying everything that currently inhabits the planet. 

Often the bigger picture for all of our lives isn’t all that well understood. Day to day we go through routines which include activities ranging from binge watching Netflix, to attending class and trying not to fall asleep. As we go through the daily motions, the bigger picture of our current lives is lost. We even ask ourselves what our purpose in life is, like we don’t already have one that is vitally important for the world and all future inhabitants of it.

The point is, we shouldn’t be losing sight of how essential we all our to saving the world from rising global temperatures, massive extinction, larger health-risks from pollution, acid rain and plenty of other ongoing and upcoming catastrophes.

No other period in time has there been a question of “how can we save the world?” and no other generation is going to be more at the forefront of being able to solve the problem of climate change than ours.

Part of the problem is that we’re not owning up to this responsibility. World leaders set a goal on reducing greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global temperatures from rising two degree Celsius, but that goal is largely unattainable according to all, but the most active scenarios used in future climate change projections. We need to face the fact that climate change will not be solved by those in power right now, even though they are starting to act on climate change. Much more needs to be done.

Not only do we need to stop our carbon emissions through switching to green, renewable energy, but we also need to change our diets, since the raising of livestock produces a lot of carbon emissions, both through waste and energy need. Being careful about how much energy each of us utilize and also how we voice to our governments that we want more renewable forms of energy is central to that change. Making sure we also don’t justify our obsession with meat as being more important than saving the planet will help cut down on all of our carbon footprints.

When our generation enters the workforce, when we become politicians, engineers, journalists, artists, social workers — whatever that may be, then the future of the planet is decided based on what we choose to do and how we choose to live.Whether we choose to accept that it is our responsibility to save the world or whether we choose to ignore it and let the world wither, it is up to us.

Collegian Columnist Troy Wilkinson completely forgot about his PACe exam and can be reached at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @BluMitts.