One of the most common questions around Environmentalism is “is there any hope?”
Most of us are hopeless. Climate Change seems like a barreling certainty, and our society seems distracted, lacking the determination to unite in common cause and address our major challenges (including nuclear obliteration).
So, many of us, if not most, are hopeless. That’s nihilism.
Nihilism is too easy. It allows us to stop caring, to give up, to be simultaneously depressed fundamentally and to stop caring about the little things, day to day. Why care about a to-go coffee cup (bleached, plastic-lined, not recyclable or compostable) when the whole world is going to hell?
We need a spiritual rolfing. We need to have hope where we are hopeless, and care where we have ceased—in our busy hunt for joy—to care.
As Yvon Chouinard said, to paraphrase, we may be effed, but I’ll wake up and do my damnedest to save what I can in the morning.
We can and must feel our sadness and fear, not push it away. And in remaining tender and open, we will find bravery, and the resolve necessary to peaceably confront our very real but workable problems.
We can do it. And we must, for we are losing ground fast.
I’ve been in Seattle for 5 days (check the stories on our instagram accounts), with my mother. She lived here a half-century ago, when it was a bohemian paradise for many.
Only 50 years ago, Seattle’s skyline was all water and sunshine. The tall buildings were beautiful. Now, we have built houses and highrises over most of this rich nature. Still, locals are getting priced out of their own home. Community and arts are imperiled. And yet, at the same time, there is progress in equality and housing, in many areas.
Historic preservation. Compostables instead of plastics. Equality instead of yuppie development. Eco tourism instead of chain stores and online shopping. Let’s walk our talk, and have fun doing so.
“Frodo : I can’t do this, Sam.
Sam : I know. It’s all wrong By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were, and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy. How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened. But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something. Even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo : What are we holding on to, Sam?
Sam : That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo. And it’s worth fighting for.”
Engage in Right Livelihood and be a part of the solution, and have fun doing so: elephantjournal.com/academy