Building Hope During Climate Despair and Collapse

Climate collapse

And no, I don’t mean the work capitalism requires of you to survive everyday. I mean now—in this outrageously scary and demoralizing moment—is the best time to learn that new skill, create an organization, build community with the people around you, and do the work you’re passionate about and that sustains those you love. Last August I wrote this post about grief and why everything feels especially hopeless right now in a time of collapse. However, if there’s anything I’ve learned from the past few years of following the great Mariame Kaba‘s abolition work, it’s that hope is a discipline (and one that takes a lot of practice and gentleness to work toward) that we must exercise every single day in all scenarios. And because hope seems like a rare noun in this time, I’m realizing that we must work in community with each other and get into the dirty work. Last year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—a body of world-renowned scientists—released a report warning of extreme and unprecedented change on the planet over the next 30 years. The report basically exclaims we are in a “code red” situation of collapse where although there’s no turning back what we’ve done to the planet, we can still choose what our world will look like for future generations. In a NYTimes article on the report, Piers Forster, a climate scientist at the University of Leeds and one of hundreds of international experts who helped author the results says, “We can expect a significant jump in extreme weather over the next 20 or 30 years. Things are unfortunately likely to get worse than they are today.” Many have taken to giving up since the regular person can’t positively affect the climate on an individual basis, but like I mentioned before, Mariame Kaba continues to teach us that defeatism doesn’t help anyone. The earth won’t fully heal without the complete abolition of capitalism and the military (specifically from the US), so we need to fight to defeat these monsters before they collapse our world. Yes it’s easy to read reports like the IPCC’s one and deny all odds of our collective survival, but building toward hope with each other does far more for the community at large. It’s still easy to feel like anything we do on an individual basis is not enough to create the world we want to live in, but especially in this time, I’m finding hope is in the community and the people we struggle alongside because there truly is no future without each other.