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Hope for the Future; Today

A good thing happens.

Then, inevitably, a conversation begins as to whether or not this good thing is really all that it is cracked up to be. We seem to be more at ease arguing about the pros and cons of something than we are at enumerating the factors of hope it entails.

One of the most recent good things to happen to us on earth is The Paris Climate Accord talks. The overwhelming vote, “yes” has demonstrated that it is possible for nations to come together to work for the well-being of all.

In fact 196 nations, despite enormous differences, have agreed to begin to work toward making real and positive changes to business as usual. These changes are not just intrinsically motivated, noble modifications defining how nations should exist. They are necessary transformations for how nations must exist.

And it is important that we applaud this message of nearly universal commitment to do better tomorrow than we did yesterday.

The message of the Climate Accord agreement signifies a global willingness to orchestrate impressive amounts of willingness to help one another. It marks a paradigm shift in thinking.

The nations of the world have joined together to protect not just marked, particular, homes, but our single most important place of habitation: the collective home.

When I was a teenager I was obsessed with a deep sense of doom. I thought that there was no way out of my dying in a nuclear war before I was 20. If that didn’t kill me, then I was sure that I would have to adapt to a planet without wilderness.

My coping mechanism was to give up the crowded east coast of North America for the Bering Sea of Alaska. This was my way of avoiding the housing developments that stole the wild fields and forested woods away from my youth.

This was also my way of never again having to face malls or interstates, traffic, and mega-stores. While I worked the sea, things were at work in the world, of which I was largely unaware.

The Cold War era had ended. The Internet had begun to grow. I slowly came out of hiding. I opened an email account. Then I left for Antarctica.

But this time I was not running away. I was going to a place where cutting edge scientific research was going on amidst a pristine and protected wilderness. I was contributing, by means of my labor, to climate change studies. Ironically, some would think, this also marked the juncture of my turn towards hope.

Today I have become a die-hard optimist. Suffice it to say that experience, curiosity and imagination, along with an urgent, gasping need for universal equality for all people, places and beings, helps drive my profound sense of hope.

Ten years ago my neighbors were burning plastic buckets of used motor oil and moldy couches. Today the same neighbors market herbal health remedies and recycle their garbage.

The internet connects myriads of communities and enables scientists across the planet (as well as from satellites in space), to share and interpret and record data. We are finally willing to make great efforts to learn how to share our home with each other. Good things do happen.

We just need to have the courage to say, “Yes.”

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