The Potency of Hope


I shared an article via social media recently, one of many I read on the tangible impacts of climate change borne witness by earth scientists. In a sense, it does not matter which article, but here it is, for those interested. It isn’t good news… brutal, in fact. So I felt the necessity to counter any despair and anger generated, at least to those who comprehend the full gravity and consequence, especially if little action to adapt and mitigate is immediately apparent.


My father showed me the ultimate value of hope in the Hospice, a place of sanctuary where he spent his last five weeks before succumbing to the maleficence of lung cancer. Even the smallest hopes of achieving the small things drove him on, despite all the pain and anxiety he was experiencing ~ hopes of a visit home or even just to the day room, hopes of enjoying another bowl of jelly and ice-cream or simply of having his pillow adjusted to settle more comfortably ~ he believed in himself, despite his incapacities, to work on achieving these goals. And he did.

He recognised that hope needs effort, action and, sometimes, help in order to nurture goals to fruition. And he showed gratitude to everyone along the way. I learned much from my father, right up until the end.

I know we can’t eat hope for breakfast, but it is within us for a very good evolutionary reason. We have the capacity to imagine better things, and then to aim for them, despite uncertainties (of which there are many). It’s a kind of built-in optimism and we’d be fools to deny its potency. But we need to be more articulate in defining our hopes, to take ownership of them. Then we can begin to work towards them, despite any risks of failure, rather than just waiting for a lucky strike.

Those who shun hope lock themselves into oblivion. Human hopelessness cannot be cardinal, given all we are now being told by the scientific community on the rapidly changing state of the planet.

My hope is that more people truly understand what these observations mean, not just for themselves, but for all life. I hope that more will realise the incredible beauty of the complexity of all life, and then take steps to reduce their impacts. And outcomes may even be beautiful. Hope Springs.

Above all, I hope that people love this Earth enough to want to make those changes.

The next one hundred years will see many Earth-shocks, some of which we cannot even predict. Our hopes of today could mean better outcomes for all. We are mirrors shining into the future. The next one hundred years are the reflections in our ‘hope’ mirrors ~ and we might pause to imagine, our grandchildren (and indeed their children), will be looking at them very closely.

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