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Blog: Can Hope Heal Humanity?

At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, on January 25, 2019,  the young environmental activist, Greta Thunberg , spoke about hope and the global need for immediate action. On October 2018, she tweeted: 

“When we start to act hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope - look for action. Then the hope will come.”

I found her words particularly stimulating, as have many, as she speaks in harsh truths, acknowledging that action is needed in order to heal the hurts we have inflicted on our world. My doctoral research is on the living experience of hope in the current world context. Greta's approach to hope, action and responsibility aligns with questions I am asking myself:

What is hope?

Why is hope so important for human beings?

How & why do we experience hope? Is despair necessary for hope to arise?

What does hope look, feel, and sound like?

What is the relational nature of hope?

What is hope's connection to action and activism?

These are some of the questions I am exploring with my co-researchers.

In the context of today’s world it feels as though Hope is needed for us to heal. In reality, healing our planet is a choice. We need to feel the suffering that will come if nothing is done, and acknowledge the suffering that has already been wrought upon us by the drastic environmental impacts of our past actions. We need to open our eyes, and awaken from our cosy slumber in order to act with the urgency needed to support life on this more-than-human world. 

We must shift our perspectives and embrace a different sense of urgency; if we discovered an asteroid hurtling towards earth that would obliterate our planet in twelve years time, all space agencies, governments, businesses would combine to attempt to find a way to change the trajectory. Climate Change is that asteroid - and it is accelerating. Why waste our time and resource fighting against our neighbors instead of working collectively to harness our ingenuity to protect what we have before it is too late? 

Hope is about all of us having the courage to call out the nonsensical nature of current attitudes. We’re focusing on the wrong things and distracting ourselves with a myopic interpretation of issues that surround us already.

Time to wake up, open our eyes, and answer the question with intent, with hope, and with action:

"What did we do once we knew?"

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