On being hopeful…


Spring is the season of hope and I keep running across interesting articles that are hope-related. You would imagine that I am referring to uplifting and happy articles, but these are not. In fact the second article is depressing, just so you know.

Yesterday in the NY Times Simon Critchley wrote an op-ed piece, Abandon (Nearly) All Hope. It requires a certain amount of focus even though it is a short read. I was tired when I read it so had to concentrate more than I normally do when eating my granola. The upshot is that dewy-eyed hope can be harmful. For example, when we elect someone who promises things we that know are not remotely possible, why do we let the hope that ‘this time will be different’ allow us to believe in the impossible? This is true not just in politics, but in everyday life. There is a lot to be said for realistic hopefulness.

In the Times Sunday Magazine was another, longer article: It’s The End of the World As We Know It… and He Feels Fine. It is about Paul Kingsnorth, a long-time environmental activist and novelist who has given up activism—not because he doesn’t believe in climate change, but rather, he doesn’t see the human race changing in time to avert disaster. This is not a happy article.

I’ve been mulling over the ideas presented in these two articles and how well they dovetail. I am married to a scientist and I do believe that we are altering our planet, and not for the better. I would happily do my bit to change things but real change requires a collective will to make changes that none of are going to like. For one thing, it’s going to be expensive. And I live in the South… should I give up air conditioning? I would if everyone else did but I look around and I don’t believe that many of my fellow Texans would willingly sweat through our summers. What to do?

This brings me back to hope. I am an optimist by nature. I am hopeful that somehow, we’ll muddle through. I am not sure that this is a realistic hope and I can understand Mr. Kingsnorth’s point of view, but I am not going to live my life constantly depressed. Instead, today I planted flower seeds in the bare areas of my yard. (Luckily there aren’t many bare areas.) I did change the sprinkler system this year to drip irrigation. I can water less and less water will be lost to evaporation.


I’m going to enjoy this beautiful Spring  and I hope for many more. I am going to try to be willing to make hard changes when the time comes. I am going to be happy—and I hope that you will be too.


PS: My stacked rocks are beginning to resemble something (Jabba-the-Hut?) with two large front teeth. I may need to do something about that…


7 thoughts on “On being hopeful…

  1. Wanting to do our bit for the environment, my husband and I invested in solar panels for electricity. Excess electricity generated by the panels is sold back to the Electric Company. There are small ways ALL of us can do something for the environment including recycling, solar panels, etc.


  2. Thanks Becky! I choose to be hopeful too. I also planted today. It seems there is so much sadness in the world I don’t have to add to it! lol And you never know when sharing your hope is actually helping someone else. By the way, love the rocks! I think they look like a giant turtle-but everything’s big in Texas, right? lol


  3. That small sentence about changing your sprinkler system to drip sent me wheeling…. HOW many days did this take??? So many of my seventh decade projects seem to be beyond my ability and my check book. I will continue to mull on and tomorrow I will plant some seeds.

    What’s to happen as society ignores the damage to the earth. Well, historians can point us to the dark ages – different items but the same backward march of society…… they were not pretty times.


  4. I firmly believe that it is time to stop wringing our hands over climate change, and to pull up our socks and look for new solutions to deal with it. Newer, better technologies can and will mitigate the problems. And it is the inventions of a few individuals through history that have changed the world.

    Maybe you and I are not the inventors that will do that, but we can vote for politicians that support research and development, and create a climate of innovation that is focused on new solutions.

    Sometimes giving up is the best thing you can do. Hopefully now that this guy has stopped banging his head against the same wall over and over, he can turn around and see the door on the other side of the room.


  5. I remember hearing that Martin Luther was once asked what he would do if he knew the world was going to end tomorrow. He said, “I’d plant a tree.”


  6. Oh lovely your yard looks. I too am not ready to give up hope and I do try to chose joy in my life. There are lots of us left out here!


Leave a Reply to Janice Degraw Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.