HOPE AS A PRACTICE

IMAGE: WILL RUSSACK

Last fall, Co-Editor Kate received a Brower Youth Award for her work with Loam and Wild Walls. Listen to her acceptance speech above or read the transcript below. We so look forward to hearing your thoughts on ways we can practice hope.

 

HOPE AS A PRACTICE

Earlier in the summer, I paged through the morning paper in my brother’s sun-soaked kitchen. As I read an article on climate change, my heart plummeted. The future was untenable. The time to act, the author said, had long since passed.

 

I spent the rest of the day in mourning. I walked to the beach and watched as a laughing child ran into her mother’s arms, bursting into tears because I wondered if I would want to bring a child into this world. I waded into the ocean and thought only of acidification, of overfishing, of the trash island floating in the heart of the Pacific. When I returned to my brother’s home, I sank into his dark living room and did nothing as the world breathed in and out.

 

For those of us who absorb everything, porosity can be as painful as it can be empowering. As much as Loam is about celebrating creativity and sustainability, it’s also about discovering diverse entry points into how we can generate positive change.  

 

And so herewith, a highly unscientific three-step guide for growing your resiliency and collaborating with your community as you work, passionately and persistently, to nurture our environment.

 

I know you didn’t come here tonight to hear from a girl who once cried very publicly on a beach about what to do, but I hope you’ll find comfort in the fact that this advice has been crowd-sourced from the Loam collective—particularly co-curator Nicole Stanton, for bringing love and light wherever she walks, and Kimora Brock, for her effervescent spirit. There is nothing we do that we do alone.

 

(1)  Find Role Models

Make it your mission to connect with and learn from people who inspire you. Look to your teachers, your family, to beloved authors and fearless artists and environmental activists. Look to the incredible awardees I am lucky enough to stand next to.

 

(2)  Be Vigilant About Having Hope

Mourning a hypothetical future only breeds complacency. It is hope grounded in discipline, determination, and active collaboration that creates change. To be hopeful doesn’t ignore inconvenient truths. To be hopeful is to say that this life is worth our whole hearts.

 

(3)  Work With What You Have

Maybe you love to dance. Maybe you are passionate about geology. Maybe the only kind of chemistry you understand is the alchemical reactions that conspire in the kitchen. However you are, you have a place at the table. The environmental movement doesn’t just need scientists and researchers although we do; we need athletes too, and painters, and poets. Providing that you trust in your basic goodness and value the beautiful and complex ecosystem that you are in, your interests, whatever they may be, hold the potential to spark a movement in your corner of the universe.

 

We can choose to live in the future, we can choose to be in the now.

 

We can act from genuine anguish and anxiety.

 

We can act from peace.

 

We can act from hope.

 

The reasons why don’t matter so much. What matters is that you do.