When a bunch of climate scientists were asked recently about where they derive their hope in the face of climate despair they didn’t cite scientific innovation.They cited the striking students.“The problem we’re facing, it’s not a technology problem. It’s not a science problem,” said one of the scientists, Professor Will Steffer, Emeritus Professor at the Fenner School of Environment and Society at ANU.“It’s a problem with the human side of things, with our socio-political values.”You see, the scientific solutions actually already exist (which is hopeful). But we’re not accessing them.
“The neoliberal economic system we’ve bought into is completely at odds with how the Earth works,” Professor Steffen continues. “We have to change this value system that we operate under. We need a social tipping point that flips our thinking, before we reach a tipping point in the climate system.“I think Greta Thunberg could turn out to be that tipping element.”
Hope is unhopeful word, often.
It’s so wish-washy to have little effect as a solution.
I used to think that. But it’s the idea left standing when you summise where we are at.Rebecca Solnit says in her book Hope in the Dark that hope is the third way.
There’s optimisim – “everythig will be ok” and pessimism – “everything is so bad, why bother trying”. Both give you a leave pass from acting. Hope, however, paves a path. A nonnegotiable path. If you hope, you must act.
But it’s not just hope and blind faith in “something out there”. Nope, the hope we need is a kind most of us are not used to. It’s deeper and somehow magical.
The hope isn’t in innovation or sequestiring or some new tax. It’s in some sort of unknown magic that will happen when we reach a tipping point. When the human spirit gathers a particular kind of momentum and everything shifts. In ways we can’t imagine.
Richard Flanagan wrote in a similar vain a few months back about The Franklin fight in Tasmania. “At every step it looked like we had lost, and yet, what we could not see was that at every stop we were growing stronger…. These things happen because at a certain point enough people say there are things that matter more than politics or money. There is no power on this Earth that can resist an idea whose time has come.”
This revolution will have to be psychosocial.
It will have to be a revolution.
We will need to get activated to take critical mass to 3.5 per cent.
And then keep going to enrol everyone around us.
My hope exists in the fact that it’s in us to do this. And it’s going to be the greatest accomplishment of the human spirit if we can dig through the layers of our fear and resistance to pull off this complete about-face.