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The world is in crisis. Global temperatures are rising, and the deterioration of the global ecosystem has begun. Already, people have become displaced from their homes due to flooding. We know we need to act, and yet the world is paralyzed by indecision.

It’s tempting to blame all of humanity for our current problems. But that is unfair. Many of those most impacted, such as those low-income environmental migrants in Asia and Oceania who had their homes ruined by floods and tropical storms, contributed the least to the crisis. Instead, let us highlight real villains: the moneyed interests who have abused the world’s resources for their own individual gain. They are the ones who spread misinformation about the crisis, preventing action knowing it would threaten the fossil fuels that sustain their enormous paycheques even as they choke our atmosphere like tobacco. They continue to manipulate people into ravenously consuming products even as the climate demands we use less. And They care not that they have effectively stolen the futures of generations to come, for they have already stolen the present. There’s a reason why the 1% has become a meme: they indeed own more wealth than the rest of the world combined.

In major cities like Vancouver, where even the most modest houses are now multi-million dollar items, the act of owning a home, once considered an ordinary, even mandatory (and albeit unsustainable) part of adult life, has now become something inaccessible. Even those most in need of shelter are forced to bear the cold, rainy night alone while many rich homeowners don’t even step foot in them. And the governments, as of now, have done barely anything to help, instead punishing those trying to make their own shelters. We see such injustice mirrored in many other situations; the police systemically murdering black people, nearly everything we buy being made from the metaphorical blood of overseas workers from poorer nations, and so much more that it’s overwhelming.

You know what the world needs right now? Heroes.

Remember the stories we experienced, then and now? The common plot line of a world overrun by oppressive forces, and those that would challenge the world as it is to fight for the world as it should be against overwhelming odds? Many of us dreamed of the day that we would be in that position. Well, our world as it is right now has a lot in common with the fictional dystopias, and it’s up to us to change it!

Of course, it looks easier in the stories. Often, the heroes will face resistance not only from the villains, but also the authorities and apathetic societies. We admire the heroes for doing what’s right rather than what’s easy, but would you do the same in a similar situation? If everyone around you calls you selfish and entitled for defending the rights of other people, animals, the environment, would you just accept it? Would you filter out the cries for help from those suffering from poverty and discrimination because it’s unpopular to go against the oppressors? It’s been said many times that there are far more of you then there are of them, so why passively accept things when we have the power to fight back, and when the other choice is the destruction of our world and the robbery of our future?

To be honest, I’d rather be out there making change rather than writing things like this. I often wonder if I too am merely a bystander, too concerned about my own life to consider others. But I write this in hopes that it may make a difference, because a ruined future looms on the horizon, and right now, we are all presented with a choice. Die, and be free of pain, or live, and fight your sorrow!