On a Sunday in 2015, a friend of mine hanged himself in his dorm at MIT. The year before he died, we had worked together to change Colorado state law. He was soft-spoken, but brilliant; while his peers squabbled over politics, he developed policy. With his death, the world lost an invaluable and incredible human being.
He was just one of thousands of young people who took their lives that year, when suicide was the third leading cause of death among young people.
While we work unpaid internships, sell our blood to the vampiric wealthy as an anti-aging treatment, die younger than our parents, are encouraged to work beyond the point of exhaustion, and face more debt than any other generation in history, we are accused of laziness and blamed for our own suffering. Glenn Perry attacks us for not knowing what to do with power ("You snooze, you lose," Letters, July 5), when it was his generation that ensured we had none.
To make matters worse, we will inherit a dying world, warming more than 3.1 degrees above pre-industrial levels before the end of the century, displacing hundreds of millions of people, and creating dozens of regional conflicts, as refugees flee flooding cities and thirsty farmlands.
I have no doubt in my generation's ability to unite and fix this world as best we can. But we won't do so out of virtue or wisdom — we will save the world out of fear of extinction.
In spite of Mr. Perry's doubt, and his hatred, my generation continues to fight for justice. Six months ago, I worked with six of my peers to found Keep Colorado Green, a nonprofit that seeks to save the environment by engaging Colorado's youth. We have swelled to more than 400 members at eight universities, spoken at the People's Climate March on Denver, helped collect signatures for the Denver Green Roof Initiative, hosted town halls with politicians, and put on more than two dozen rallies for environmental justice.
If Mr. Perry truly wishes for my generation to become involved, he must convince his peers to step aside and give us a chance. I am living proof of what we can accomplish, and my friend, whose story was cut short, is proof of what his generation has accomplished. We deserve a better future, and we intend to fight for it.
— Matthew Barad, Colorado Springs
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