The first challenge regarding hope in the Anthropocene relates to the comment made in class by Sam, in which he suggested that hope and realism were in opposition, or that one negated the other. I believe this thought reflects the assumption that hope is beyond the realm of possibility, that people only hope for the impossible. This assumption can be easily dispelled by considering the example Professor Gould provided, that of Flint, Michigan. While I am sure the people of Flint have a long list of grievances and many hopes, one most likely stands above the rest: hope for water. The situation in Flint is extreme, but the manifestations of hope are regular, and show that one can hope for something within the realm of possibility, or even something that another might take for granted. This dichotomy between the practical and impractical, hope and realism, is crucial in building communal hope for how society will adapt to climate change.
As we’ve seen in our readings, narratives of the earth’s future must accept climate change as a force that will be as much a part of our reality as anything else. As such, what we hope for ought not to be to find a way to turn back the environmental clock, but rather for ways to adjust to realities that may be uncomfortable but are no longer avoidable. Not only must society accept that climate change is real, but we must reconcile that climate change will have effects that we can no longer prevent. If our hope is grounded in this reality, then we will avoid the dangerous dichotomy between hope and realism, and be positioned to imagine honest futures.