On hope

Although any political discussion should not only analyze a problem, but also try to find solutions, I think discussions around climate “hope” (aka “hopium”) are dangerous.

First, it frames the climate crisis as something beyond one’s agency. For example, I do not “hope” that I will go for a jog tomorrow morning, because it is ultimately my decision. This applies to personal life-style decisions (eg stop flying, stop eating meat), but also systemic changes (eg join political protests).

Second, there is an assumption that only “successful” and “nice” people provide “hope” because it indicates their self-perceived personal qualities (ie losers have no hope) and their social orientation (ie want to make people feel better, avoid “scaring” them). However, this leads also to an overestimation of one’s level of control and an underestimation of the size of the problem.

Third, decision-making is a dynamic, living process with multiple phases including one’s with negative feelings, which are necessary to build up the strength for understanding an issue and taking action. By focusing on the positive sides, this path will be blocked and limit our potential to analyze and act.

If there is a wolf in your house, it is wrong to tell your guests that you are not worried because it is just the neighbor’s dog howling and invite them to have some dessert …