Hope in a Time of Plague

The climate crisis is the single greatest concern that all of us have to face. Because it can foretell annihilation of our human race. This agonizingly painful process is gathering pace. And the world’s poorest communities—the people of the global majority—are right at the sharp end of the spear.

The forces of brute capitalistic greed have deliberately created the illusion that we in the most privileged communities are safe. That we can continue living our comfy safe lives, and our governments will take care of us. But this is pure illusion. The only people who can face, and are facing, this quickly approaching catastrophe are you and me—us. The individual citizens of every single global community.

If we let ourselves look directly and unblinkingly at this whole prospect, it takes on terrifying dimensions. The very idea of attempting to combat it seems a hopeless and daunting task. Us save the world? You’ve got to be kidding.

But I believe there is every reason for hope. I also believe that the opposite responses—hopelessness, cynicism, helplessness—serve no useful purpose. Such states of mind are understandable—but they are of no value in this movement to reverse the escalating and very real threat to our human race.

The only thing to do with these feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that disempower us is to shed them. They drag us down emotionally—and they block our clear thinking about what we can and must do. So how do we shed these dreadfully negative feelings? We share them with others. Other people who are of like mind, and who are eager to share their own feelings with us. It really does work to take this step. To find like-minded, attentive, loving fellow humans, and to share our grief, our anger, our despair. Take courage—it won’t hurt you, and it might just help you—and our human race!

A very real reason for hope is the multitude of kind of gatherings of people that are happening all over the world right now. They are both actual and virtual. I have recently attended several virtual workshops organized during COP-26 in Glasgow, without leaving my own house. They were hugely inspiring, well-organized, and full of hope. And at the same time I have taken to joining actual weekly gatherings of several dozen of my friends and fellow citizens outside the town hall of our small university town here in Nova Scotia. We gather there to protest, to talk, and to urge each other on. These are simple actions and they cost little, but they hold immense power. The power of the people!

A global mood is emerging—it’s surging—and it will not, cannot, be held in check by the brute forces of human oppression. Building alliances between us is the most powerful thing we can do. Because it is from just such gatherings of allies that the power emerges to stand up, to realize our courage, and to know the most powerful actions for us to take. Should you ever get to feel helpless, and hopeless, and cynical, again—and I expect maybe you will—simply turn your gaze down the road towards the tipping point. Towards that point, that place, at which the forces of truth, of good, of boldness, of love, will finally and permanently overturn the pseudo-powers of greed and addiction to monetary gain, of isolation and oppression.

On a sunny day in a Nova Scotia, you might just catch a clear glimpse of that place. It’s out there waiting for us.

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