Hope…or Action?

<Sept. 30/09>

I’ve been doing environmental work for 20 years now. Hoping, always hoping, that if I just worked hard enough, informed enough people, wrote enough environment columns, carried out enough projects, I’d help “save” the human race.

I’ve been in awfully fine company, I must say! I’ve had more good times than a barrelful of monkeys (several barrels-full, actually) and have made a small (no, large!) army of awesome friends. And taken part in oodles of great projects and activities I’m pretty proud of. No regrets!

Gradually, over time, hope has been harder and harder to summon up. To be honest, it’s pretty much left the building.

It’s been hard to let go of. It’s felt almost…un-Canadian, or un-sportsmanlike?? Un-mother-like? – to abandon hope.

I am thinking today, though, that as it turns out, it really isn’t hope we need.

It’s determination, energy, guts, courage, hard work, passion, inspiration – and love. For this beautiful, beautiful planet – and for all the creatures on it (ourselves included).

I’ve realized recently – mostly in reference to the personal side of my life – that it really is action that counts. Thoughts and beliefs and faith and what we (often sanctimoniously) profess to believe (or feel) – or claim we will do – are not what really counts. It’s action. It’s what we do that matters. Not what we say.

Alice Walker has said, “Activism is the rent I pay for living on this planet.”

I wonder: Are enough of us really paying our rent?


p.s. There is a very brilliant Derrick Jensen essay called “Beyond Hope” – that can be found on-online here Take a few moments and read it! It’s bloody brilliant, eloquent…& very inspiring.

p.p.s. I don’t mean to discourage people who are still “hopeful.” More power to you! I’m not saying it’s an either/or proposition. I’m just saying that, for those of us who have lost hope, and/or who believe that “hope” is not really the point, we still have something left with which to occupy ourselves. Action. And that’s a good thing – in my little world, anyway…

p.p.p.s. 'Quote of the day': “The great end of life is not knowledge, but action.” ~ Thomas Henry Huxley