Opinion guest column

Why I am #ClimateStriking instead of attending the career fair

Our planet is in a climate emergency. We don’t have time for career schmoozing

On Friday, Sept. 20, a peculiar ritual will come to MIT. Hundreds of the world's most powerful corporations will flock to our ice rink, basketball courts, and indoor track, handing out T-shirts and water bottles and fancy bottle openers and meaningless trifles. They are after our résumés, after our endless hard work, after our human capital.

This arrangement is good for me, the world says. It is a way to start my career, they say. Behind the cheap swag, each of these companies dangles the promise of fulfillment, of money, of security.

For any other generation before ours, perhaps that was the way to go — to invest in our futures. But for us, a climate emergency looms: our future has been stolen, and there will be none to invest in. Our children will ask us, why were you so obsessed with that job offer when you knew what was to come? Why were you sitting on the sidelines? Why didn't you do something?

The current climate and ecological crisis calls for nothing short of rebellion. The least I can do is to take a stand against those stealing my future, our future, and the future of humanity. That is why, on Sept. 20, instead of ingratiating myself before institutions of exploitation and extraction, I will be participating in the global #ClimateStrike. The MIT strike will begin at 10:45 a.m. on the steps of the Student Center, but you can find a strike anywhere across the globe near you at globalclimatestrike.net.

I hope to see you there.

Kevin Li is a master's student in city planning at MIT and a member of Extinction Rebellion Massachusetts.