Dear Zaria: Do you feel like there is still hope for a viable future?

Dear Zaria: Do you feel like there is still hope for a viable future?

Do you feel like there is still hope for a viable future? Recent headlines made me lose hope.

The short answer is yes.

As a Black person growing up and existing within America, I have learned a thing or two about community resilience.

There have been several moments in our history where we could have lost hope; slavery, the Jim Crow era, the War on Drugs, the Trayvon Martin case.

Members of other marginalized groups could say the same. Mexican, and other Central Americans, continue to face discrimination, for example, despite making up a large majority of America’s population.

America continues to show its lack of support for territories and former territories  like Puerto Rico and Hawaii, which the U.S. continues to exploit for profit in favor of late-stage colonialism. Such violence hasn’t stopped the people of these places from calling for change, however, or demanding better for their people.

Even throughout this climate crisis we have seen the ways communities have banded together, forming relationships with one another in place of a trusted one with our government officials, who have shown time and time again that they are unprepared and unwilling to make the necessary changes to address climate change.

I have hope for our environment’s future, because I have faith in us as a people, as a human race and collective. It’s their hope that brings me hope.

Climate change is one issue that will impact us all – if not all immediately, then eventually. Sooner or later, people will have no choice but to grapple with the impacts of this crisis because it will knock on all of our doors.

The rich can try to escape to Mars if they want to, but still they will be impacted, such a move being indicative of their desperation.

And so, one truth is painfully clear: we will have to deal with this issue whether we like it or not.

Somewhere, right now, there are monks meditating peacefully on top of a mountain. While their mind rests, I imagine a subtle and gentle smile crosses their face. They are aware of a truth that many of us forget: we are at the mercy of the environment.

Our human ego that makes us believe we can avoid, or outrun, our own planet’s potential collapse, is fickle. It will not be so strong when our homes are burning, our lungs choking from lack of clean air.

We are not stronger than nature. Perhaps this is the biggest obstacle that eventually morphs into climate denial: the cognitive dissonance that surrounds the utter surrender that lies in accepting that we are yet just another animal. And unlike a recession or a war, this problem cannot so easily be solved with pursed lips and sneaky handshakes. It must be confronted, head on, confronting one’s own role in the disaster, in the process.

Climate change is the universe’s reality check. Perhaps it's too real for some to handle. Thus, why they avert their eyes and run away. But as I said, this can’t last forever.

And so, because I believe in the power of human willpower (and organizing), and believe that in due time everyone will be a victim – and therefore eventual soldier in the climate crisis movement – of climate change, I do have hope.

Don’t allow the sensationalism of the doomism that surrounds climate change to distract you from the good work that is being done.

For every click-baity headline, there are hundreds more efforts aimed at addressing climate change to match. These strides are worth celebrating.

Allow yourself to feel all of these feelings. Just remember to come back. Always come back.

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