The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
News

A Millennial Asks: Are We Screwed?

Recession, climate change... imminent collapse? New Tyee series probes the big question of my generation.

By Geoff Dembicki 13 Mar 2014 | TheTyee.ca

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate change for The Tyee. Find his previous stories here.

Funding for this article was partially provided by the Climate Justice Project of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, with support from the Fossil Fuel Development Mitigation Fund of Tides Canada Foundation.

I don't need to tell you how grim the future can sometimes look from my 27-year-old vantage point. You know all about climate change and deforestation and mass extinction and historic drought and ocean acidification.

How the global recession as felt by my overeducated and underemployed millennial generation never really ended. And that the one-per-cent's stranglehold on our future seems to asphyxiate any serious efforts at making the world a better place. So are we screwed?

Well, first let me introduce myself. Like many millennials I was raised in a middle-class milieu more trustful of creativity than authority, and told if I pursued my dreams money and recognition would follow. Yet after pursuing them through four years of journalism school I graduated disoriented and broke into the recession. Among my cohort I was lucky to land steady work with The Tyee, and in addition to living through one global crisis after another, I now began to chronicle them.

After six years of writing about ecological collapse, industrial greed, and a political system hostile to change, hope for the future was the last thing I expected to find. But recently I started to sense its faintest glimmers. The global grip of polluting companies is slowly slipping. Sustainability is becoming a cultural norm. Millennials, self-obsessed though we may be, are seeking alternatives to the consumer lifestyles that created our current mess. These felt to me like tremors of a generational shift.

What's to come?

Still, I wanted to be certain. So I persuaded The Tyee's founder and editor-in-chief David Beers to let me drop all other reporting commitments and pursue the big -- yet often unspoken -- question of my generation: Are we screwed? Over the coming months I'll be prospecting for hope on the frontlines of a cultural transformation led to a large extent by millennials like myself. More and more these days, I'm finding, those frontlines are being reconfigured in ways strange, fascinating and exciting.

Who would have guessed a generation ago that some of the most effective fixes to our planet's troubles might be found in the vast troves of digital data we create each hour, minute and second? But that by extracting previously unknowable patterns from this data we risk destabilizing the foundations of human identity? I spoke recently with globetrotting futurist Gerd Leonhard, whose views on the promise and peril of "big data" are explored in part one of my series, which runs on The Tyee next week.

Are we screwed? Not necessarily, he said. Nor do those attending the Globe 2014 sustainability conference in Vancouver later this month believe so either. I'll also be there, paying close attention to paradigm-shifting trends like the circular economy, biomimicry and stranded assets. Then, two weeks later, I'll be filing dispatches from Bloomberg New Energy Finance's invite-only energy summit in New York, featuring the likes of Michael Bloomberg, U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz and European climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard.

New emphasis

As my series progresses you won't hear so much about the high-level politics around oil pipelines, national carbon policies or a global agreement on greenhouse gas emissions. That's not because I think those arenas aren't important -- they are, and my colleagues at The Tyee are doing a great job reporting on them. But progress on such issues is for now slow, halting and bitterly disputed. I'm more interested these days in the rapid changes underway elsewhere in North American culture.

Like, for instance, the rise of a "collaborative" or "sharing" economy, led by 18 to 34-year-olds, in which people buy access to networks of goods and services instead of owning things outright. More than 40 per cent of Canadians already take part in this emerging sector, recent research estimated -- one whose size may double over the next year. Could such a shift create stronger communities better able to shrink humankind's ecological footprint? Or is it just neo-liberalism in nicer clothing?

Internet of Things. Distributed generation. 4D printing. Smart cities. Net-positive design. These and other trends I've described above are the types of cultural changes I hope to track and better understand over the coming months. Taken together, I sense the potential for a generational shift towards a less constrictive future, one more respectful to planet Earth, and where the individual actions of millennials like myself have meaning. So what do you think: Are we screwed?  [Tyee]

Read more: Rights + Justice,

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Are You Concerned about Rising Support for Canada’s Far-Right Parties?

Take this week's poll