This is about how we respond to the Climate Crisis and the relentless bad news about it-with despair, or with hope. I’ll tip my hand and say it is really about how to fight off despair and find hope for the future.
It’s not easy to find hope. For thanks to the climate crisis, the prospects for a livable future just keep getting worse.
I’ve written many times about the Climate Crisis over the past several years on various community blogs, and I notice several repeated reactions in comments. Some offer their favorite solutions, or write about what they are doing personally to limit their carbon footprint. But many responses are more emotional.
There is fear, partly the product of quite natural denial-not denying the reality of global heating, but staying in denial about it as much as possible, while obsessing on much smaller issues. There is anger, about how we allowed this to happen, etc. And there is despair: the world is coming to an end, and there’s really nothing we can do about it.
Despair, like anger, is another expression of fear. But it is not entirely irrational. How can it be, when we do face the real possibility of catastrophe?
People have basically two reasons for despair: they believe that in its present state, humanity won’t meet this challenge. There are too many political, economic and cultural barriers. Humanity isn’t smart enough yet, mature enough, enlightened enough. And then there’s human nature: greed and fear will overcome.
The second reason for despair is that resistance is futile: that the tipping points have all been passed, and there’s nothing humanity can do anyway to prevent catastrophe.
It’s hard to argue with either of these reasons. They may prove to be true. But there are also counterarguments to each of them.