Last semester, I studied abroad with the School for International Training – we analyzed the causes, impacts, and politics surrounding climate change in Vietnam, Morocco, and Bolivia.1 This program was simultaneously one of the most depressing and yet one of the most inspiring experiences I’ve had. Our lectures, discussions, and readings focused on the politics behind capitalism (and the numerous challenges behind dismantling such an oppressive system, most importantly power and privilege), neoliberalism, the global North/South divide, and various other ways in which we are screwing over the world right now. We witnessed the disastrous effects of sea level rise on coastal villages in Vietnam, of desertification on food security in Morocco, and of shrinking glaciers on water availability in Bolivia. All of this quickly became overwhelming – how can we combat climate change and “save the world” if there are so many problems that need to be addressed?

However, somewhere along the way, we also found hope: from a tiny village in northern Vietnam that is implementing climate-smart agriculture practices,2 to community resistances against dune development in Morocco,3 to community-operated wastewater treatment plants in Bolivia.4 Despite numerous challenges, such as lack of education and funding, people across the world are fighting for the future of their homes, communities, and ecosystems. Although dystopias (and “apocatopias”) easily give us an excuse to not take action (we’re all doomed, so why bother?), these communal efforts show us the possibilities and benefits of addressing climate change, one problem at a time. So yes, there is hope in the Anthropocene; it lies within communities.

Ma Village, Vietnam: Villagers are testing climate-smart agricultural practices after experiencing drastic yield decreases due to climate change (PC: Savannah Whaley)


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