Hope and Climate Change
by Alexandra Theodosopoulos
Hope. It is what keeps us curious, emotional human beings going through our lives, and it gives meaning to our actions. It is a powerful concept, which has been at the center of many of the world’s most pivotal moments—the catalyst for powerful change throughout history. In the modern-day world, there seems to be an ever-increasing number of overwhelming issues looming around every corner. One such issue is climate change and the threat of a climate disaster not too far down the road. Most of the population has had some exposure to the information that the planet’s climate is experiencing rapid and drastic changes, and that all the scientific research points to a man-made cause. Whether people choose to believe this, or better yet, choose to act on it, is the question which is key to preventing the destruction of the home we all depend on to survive. In my personal experience, I have met people who are aware of global warming and the human threat to the planet, and believe the science is accurate. However, many of these people use plastic water bottles recklessly, forgetting to even do the simple act of recycling, print a myriad of unnecessary pages, and drive their cars multiple times every day.
In a recent article by National Geographic magazine, the need for hope and a belief that your actions matter is highlighted as a means of encouraging climate action by empowering the public. According to France’s climate ambassador Laurence Tubiana, “this notion of a turning point—that’s super important”. This “turning point” she refers to is a combination of the Paris climate summit coming up this December and decreasing prices of renewable energy, among other factors. Right now, the combination of these factors have the ability to make this a vital moment in the world’s course towards potential climate disaster. The hope described by this article comes in the form of new data on developing countries adopting renewables due to lower costs, and the new approach the policy makers are using to steer the world towards a more sustainable future. The message that what was previously done was not effective enough has finally been heard, and important changes are underway.
The article ends with a metaphor used by novelist E.L. Doctorow to describe his writing process, “It’s like driving a car at night—you never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” We can’t see every step ahead on the path towards a more sustainable future, but the actions we take now, both on an individual level, and on national and international levels do have the power to change our current course.