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Are you hopeful about the future? How do you feel about the state of the world? Are you able to see reasons for hope?

Not long ago I asked my friends these questions. Their responses were alarming: Not one person said they felt hopeful and many said they felt afraid, sad, angry, or hopeless. I am very familiar with these emotions because I have worked on environmental and social issues for almost 40 years. But I was shocked by how common they were.

Actually, I was so shocked that I decided to come up with some reasons for hope. So if you have any of these feelings about what’s happening and where we seem to be heading, I ‘hope’ these 10 reasons for hope are helpful.

1. Life inherently gives us reasons for hope

Birth always follows death. Day always follows night. Spring always follows winter. The cycle of life has gone on for billions of years and will continue to do so, no matter what happens. To live is to hope and to be hopeful is to be in harmony with life.

2. There is more information available than ever before

This is very good news because the more we know, the more likely it is that we will take action. Awareness of climate change, social injustice, pollution, and racism is increasing.  Although this does not guarantee that anything will be done, it certainly helps.

3. The future is uncertain

Although we know more than ever before, the future is uncertain. Prediction is not certainty. For instance, no one predicted the extremely rapid recovery of bald eagles in the US. after DDT was banned. Uncertainty holds opportunities and possibilities as well as threats and danger.

4. We can solve our environmental and social problems

We can solve them because we created them. It’s not as if something or someone else is responsible for the mess. No. We, the human species, did it to ourselves. Our thoughts, beliefs and actions made it happen. So there’s a good chance we can put an end to it.

5. Humankind is beginning to think globally

We are starting to understand that our problems are global. And this means that we are also beginning to grasp the scale of the changes that are needed to take effective action.

6. Positive social change is possible

The past is full of examples of ordinary people coming together to advance positive social change. Throughout human history, social movements have been the single most powerful force for progressive change.

7. Growing positive social change movements

Across the world, people from all sectors of society are standing up for what they believe in. From business leaders to activists and from artists to educators, this movement crosses national, generational and issue boundaries.

8. Hope can be learned

I know this because I have learned to be more hopeful. By exploring my own feelings about the state of the environment, I have learned to be hopeful. As jazz singer Eartha Kitt said “The tombstone will be my diploma.”

9. It is our responsibility to be hopeful

We owe it to each other and we owe it to future generations. If we are not hopeful, how can we expect others to be hopeful? If we give up, how can we expect them to keep going? Quite simply, we can’t.

10. Just because…what else would we do?

Even in tough times, human beings continue to put one foot in front of the other. Do we give up just because the future looks grim? No, we do whatever we can to make it better. Giving up is simply not an option. We are hopeful because it is the right thing to do.

These are my ten reasons for hope. What are yours? Please share some in the comments below.

Whatever your reasons for hope, hold onto them and cherish them. Hope is in short supply these days and we need all we can get. By being hopeful, we will have the creativity, courage and perseverance to stay positive and engaged – no matter what happens.

About The Author

Kate Davies

Kate Davies has worked on environmental and social issues for nearly 40 years. She is senior fellows at the Whidbey Institute, professor emerita at Antioch University and clinical associate professor at the University of Washington. Her second book, Intrinsic Hope: Living Courageously in Troubled Times has just been published by New Society Publishers.

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