Discussion prompt: Is there hope in the Anthropocene? Where do we find it? Can we make it? What can we do?
Hope is a powerful feeling. It drives us through tough times and encourages us to find a solution. I believe that there is hope in every situation, whether during a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina or even climate change and the Anthropocene itself.
These two issues should be viewed similarly. New Orleans was devastated when Hurricane Katrina hit. The city was flooded, buildings were turned to dust, and people lost their lives. Despite this, boat owners in the city rescued survivors when the storm ravaged. As Solnit puts it: “None of them said, I can’t rescue everyone, therefore it’s futile […] I can rescue someone, and that’s work so meaningful and important I will risk my life and defy the authorities to do it.” Hope spurred the boat owners to take action and save lives.
This is the kind of mentality we need during the Anthropocene. We are facing a problem at a global scale, where the actions of one person might seem futile. But as we saw with Hurricane Katrina, this is not the case. Every person can make a difference, and it is essential that we believe that.
In fact, there is already solid progress. For instance, Scotland has achieved renewable energy generation of 50 percent and set a goal of 100 percent by 2020. In the United States, thirty percent more solar was installed in 2014 than the year before (Solnit 2017, p. 36). And these are only two of many examples.
I believe that there is hope in slowing down or even preventing climate change. And it is exactly that hope that causes us to act.
Solnit, Rebecca. Grounds For Hope. Tikkun, 2017, pp. 31-39.