Fostering Ecological Hope Reflections on Culture and Meaning by Margaret Swedish Really, tally it up. If you wonder about the sensation you have at times that the world is falling apart all around you, it’s not because you are crazy. Check out the planet: we are about to break the record for warmest year ever […]
We are called to a tremendous work here – to alter the culture of this nation at its core, to overturn and reshape the very ecology in which we live and move and have our being. This will require a change in our lives in the most profound terms. We must redefine who we are as a people. We cannot live on the grandiose myths anymore, those narratives created to somehow justify ourselves. We have to come at this with truth and complete honesty. We have to claim not only the children and their teachers, but also the killer, as belonging to us, of the nature of who we are.
Until we fully appreciate that global climate change means that these kinds of disasters have global dimensions and dynamics in which we all participate, we will be missing one of the major aspects of ecological hope. I can’t just fix my “environment” here locally and think the problem is fixed. Unless we engage even this fiercely local work with action and advocacy for an entirely different way of being human on this planet, our local efforts are likely to be overwhelmed by future disasters driven by these larger climate influences, along with our unsustainable demands on the planet to support a way of life that simply cannot be supported – not ethically, morally, or even physically – it is not possible.
The news is dire, but it is only hopeless if nothing changes, or, better said, if we don’t change anything. Hope is not something I can give anyone. I can’t tell you here that things will be okay. They won’t. We’re in for hard times. But hope is a work of the hands and heart, it is a project, not a sentiment. You have to work at it. You have to make it real by how you live.