It’s temptingly easy to sit on the sidelines, or the couch, feeling overwhelmed, waiting for a sign that it’s okay to be hopeful. Needing some evidence that it’s worth the effort of rousing yourself. But I love this straight-talking pep talk from Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg. She comes by the straight talk honestly. Having been diagnosed with autism, she is, as she says, prone to seeing things in black and white. So a climate crisis is a pretty black and white matter to her.
“For those of us on the spectrum almost everything is black or white. We aren’t very good at lying and we usually don’t enjoy participating in the social game. Climate is the most important issue of all, and yet they just carry on as before. I don’t understand that. Because if the emissions have to stop, then we must stop the emissions. To me that is black or white. There are no gray areas when it comes to survival. Either we go on as a civilization or we don’t.”
The crux of her talk, for me, though, was her feisty decision not to end with platitudes and “helpful things you can do” like changing lightbulbs to give people a sense of hope.
No. She’s not going to gloss over the scale of the problems.
Instead, she just urges action.
Once we start to act, hope is everywhere. So instead of looking for hope, look for action. Then, and only then, hope will come.