Bird image - painting by Arvindh Baburam (detail)

Hope in disturbing times

‘Hope is something you make every day.’

Basma (refugee, single mum, student – Libyan)

We’re in more trouble than ever before: climate change, economic injustice, war, over-consumption are plunging us into a global crisis affecting every part of the world, but especially the poorest. We need hope, but what does that mean?

‘You have to face the tragedy of the world’.

Basma again

We know that despair is not hope, but neither is expecting the future to be rosier than the present – that’s just optimism.

Hope means something else: knowing that there is something to live for now, whatever may happen later, and living for it – and to do so knowing the tragedy of all our collective violence.

What is worth living for? People close to us, of course. But people we don’t know, and the earth, all belong to the ‘promise’ of our world too. To live for this – and to resist its violation even when that costs us our comforts – is to be in hope. That’s one way of understanding it, anyway.

When you start to look, hope is everywhere. It’s there in people‚Äôs movements: land-workers creating small ecological republics, refugee solidarity groups, liberation movements around the world, activists challenging the institution of war or trying to curb our violence against the earth. And hope is there in any act of hospitality, and any job more generous than harmful.

‘Once we start to act, hope is everywhere.’

Greta Thunberg, activist

Hope lives or dies in the choices we make. There’s room for us all to make hope’s work our own.