Unconventional Optimism: Lessons from Climate Change Scholars and Activists

I call these framing strategies “unconventional optimism” – forms of optimism that are not grounded in a firm belief that victory is nigh or even highly likely, but that emphasize aspects of the future or the present that are nonetheless motivating.

Is There Hope?

If there is any hope worth having, in a time when we are rightly haunted by the thought of an ‘uninhabitable Earth’, then I don’t believe it lies in the triumph of reason, nor in the recovery of an imagined past. If I have any clue where it lies, I’d say it’s in the difficult work of learning to feel and think together again; to come down off the high and lonely horses that some of us were taught to ride, to recognise how much has been missing from our maps, how much has gone unseen in our worldviews.

Abandon All Hope: Moving Toward an Existentialist Environmentalism 

Let’s put our hands in the earth and our shoulders to the wheel.  Let’s live up to the standards we set for each other and forgive one another when we fail. Let’s cultivate new relationships with one another and the land that honor the dignity of both. Let’s take it easy, but take it.

The Varieties of Hope

No single thing, and quite possibly nothing at all, can get us out of the epic mess we’ve made this time.  Let’s stipulate that at the outset.  It’s pretty obvious that situations like “the Anthropocene” and “climate crisis” are here to stay. Yet try we must, and try we do. Let’s stipulate that too, at least for some of us.

Constructing Hope: A Discussion of “Green Earth”

Neither hope nor its cousin joy are to be confused with optimism. The latter tends to be more a quality of temperament than a realistic assessment of prospects. As for the former, well, you have to go looking for them, or even, laboriously, construct them for yourself, at best in the company of other people.