Post 315.


A new year brings renewed hope. Maybe we will talk to each other about these hopes, find ones we share and support each other in achieving them
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Maybe you woke up on the first day of the year hoping that your layoff will turn into stable and sufficient income. Maybe you thanked God for your health, and that of your children, in the hope that your lives are spared for one more day. Maybe you woke up as a refugee, hoping against both odds and national policy that you will get the papers to allow you to pursue a better life, anywhere but where you left. 

Maybe you’re hoping for the relationship you always wanted to have or to finally leave the partner you shouldn’t be with. Maybe it’s instead to get justice you deserve from the court system, and the compensation you’ve been waiting on. Maybe it’s just the hope that you’ll find a way out of your debts with dignity.

However ambitious, and hinged to a new business or a promotion or a big scholarship or a new baby or becoming free from addiction, or however meager, your hopes are there, breathing strength of purpose into you like air.  

I came across fifteen-year-old Greta Thunberg’s speech at the UN Climate Change COP24 Conference. I’ve quoted it here because it was her last line, “change is coming, whether you like it or not”, that gave me hope, reminding me to aim higher than my own goals, and connect to the idea that we could be each other’s hope. 

This is especially important when such optimism is low, when the planet is under attack by capitalism and consumerism, and when this generation faces crises we’ve long nurtured, but never thought would come of age.

In her words:

“I’ve learned you are never too small to make a difference. And if a few children can get headlines all over the world just by not going to school, then imagine what we could all do together if we really wanted to. But to do that, we have to speak clearly, no matter how uncomfortable that may be. You only speak of green eternal economic growth because you are too scared of being unpopular. You only talk about moving forward with the same bad ideas that got us into this mess, even when the only sensible thing to do is pull the emergency brake. You are not mature enough to tell it like is. Even that burden you leave to us children. But I don’t care about being popular. I care about climate justice and the living planet. Our civilization is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money. Our biosphere is being sacrificed so that rich people in countries like mine can live in luxury. It is the sufferings of the many which pay for the luxuries of the few…

You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. Until you start focusing on what needs to be done rather than what is politically possible, there is no hope. We cannot solve a crisis without treating it as a crisis. We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground, and we need to focus on equity. And if solutions within the system are so impossible to find, maybe we should change the system itself. We have not come here to beg world leaders to care. You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again. We have run out of excuses and we are running out of time. We have come here to let you know that change is coming, whether you like it or not. The real power belongs to the people.”

I sat quietly on the last day of last year wondering what my hopes were. I realised I have to think about hope differently than I was doing, not as aspirations we define from within, but something we look to in others, something we are for others, something our decisions bring for each other.

If there is one thing that connects us, it is hope. I know you have a list, but imagine something greater, maybe it’s you that are the hope which gives us strength of purpose to change the way things are. Requiring nothing but solidarity and love, connecting to this in each other could be our real power.

 

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