People's Stories
How do I maintain hope?
Meet Megan from Dunedin, New Zealand  
With each new crisis - environmental (floods, fires etc.), Covid, Ukraine, and whatever comes next - I hope humanity will wake up and see the opportunity we are being given to CHANGE.  

Each new crisis seems to be more dire than the previous one, has often never before been experienced by current generations in rich countries, and requires drastic action to address. Governments are being forced to enact policy that was hitherto impossible to implement, despite the urgings of many. People are being forced to change their behaviour which has resulted in some people seeing the systems they are living in with new eyes. These developments give me hope. 

However, there is a growing number of disaffected people who rage against governments enacting change which restricts their so-called ‘rights’ or who fervently believe in all manner of conspiracy theories leading them to support more extreme anti-democracy groups which advocate and foment violent dissent. This phenomenon, along with the business sector insisting we return to ‘normal’ as we move through each crisis, fills me with despair. We are squandering unique opportunities we have been given to bring about essential change.

Not a day passes that I’m not thinking about all the planetary boundaries, including climate change, that humanity is on the precipice of exceeding. Not a day passes that I think I am not doing enough to bring about change. Not a day passes that I don’t feel anxious for the future of my grandchildren. I want to rage and scream “WAKE UP, we cannot keep living this way!” 

What can I do?

March, get out on the streets, be counted! Write submissions, sign petitions, reduce, reuse, recycle in all aspects of my consumption.

Grow my own food, support other groups who are making the change, create community share, support each other etc.

Convert my land from paddock to natives and food production using regenerative principles, teach my grandchildren about our dependence on and interconnection with nature. I do all these things, yet they are not sufficient to the scale of change required for life as we know it to have a viable future.

I know we need global and systemic change. I know we must change the story and values we live by to change way we live, and this most needs to happen in wealthy countries like ours. It needs to happen fast; we are running out of time.

We seem to live at the very worst time to bring about change of this magnitude … there is more demonising of others who don’t share our views due to social media, there’s less social cohesion due to the gutting of social safety nets over the past few decades which has led to a growing distrust in governments and democracy, and there’s greater influence by those with power and money in our democracies to maintain the systems they benefit from.

Will we only change when things get so bad we don’t see any other way out, but our situation is beyond hopeless? Are we that stupid? I fear so. Despair, futility, anger, grief, tiny glimmers of hope … that is what it is like to be a grandmother who is deeply invested in the future, in these chaotic times.