Walking a Line (Between Hope and Despair)

The last few months have been anxiety inducing, as I’ve become more and more aware of the nature of the Climate and Ecological Emergency. I’ve written about it before, the decisions I made and how I decided to declare an emergency with Culture Declares Emergency.


As I’ve written in past posts, I felt like I was on my own, with a head and heart full of fear. Then Extinction Rebellion came along and suddenly the media started talking about it. David Attenborough started talking about it, and the school strikes finally started to be talked about too. Then Scotland and Wales declared an emergency and the UK Parliament followed suit, followed more recently by Ireland.

Suddenly I felt such relief. It wasn’t being ignored, the load was being shared, and as others started to feel the same fear and despair as I had, or something like it, I started to feel joy that we had a chance, a chance of making changes, and if we didn’t make them in time, at least we were in this together.


Then the protests paused, people got on with a form of business as usual, and I allowed myself to come back down from ‘alert’ to focus on day to day living.

What I’ve been feeling at last is Hope. and I have to remind myself that hope can’t be a passive thing, can’t just rest in the relief that ‘someone’ will now do something about it, but must be about Active Hope, being inspired to act with others, within the spaces created by others, to bring change about.

I’ve been reading about rewilding (including the inspirational Wilding by Isabella Tree), and I’ve been allowing myself to return to exploring how my work with people, engaging in places and noticing biodiversity, can play a role in the development of reinvigorated, regenerated landscapes.


It doesn’t take much for the despair to creep back in though, one article saying it’s ‘too late’, one scientist sharing statistics that give us only a tiny chance of keeping this earth inhabitable, and people talking matter of factly about ‘near term extinction’. Is my hope unrealistic? Is my fear overly pessimistic? It’s a bit of a roller coaster ride.


So I tell myself that:

1. We don’t actually know what’s going to happen, so although we may have a set of statistics based on the way we are living now, that gives space for hope, because if we don’t know, then we can act to shape the reality that is yet to be created.

2. If I and others give in to despair, we have no chance to imagine and create better futures.

3. I am still alive, the world is still beautiful and the more it is threatened the more I realise what a gift it is to be a part of a living, breathing, conscious web of being.

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