Know anybody out there who might need some encouraging words, a little realistic help bucking up in the face of scary prospects involving the climate and … whatever? Here are four good short pieces to help us all stay upbeat.

Start with Rebecca Solnit, whose reminders that the future is unknowable and that good things do happen are always bracing: “I don’t know exactly if or how we’ll get to where we need to go, but I know that we must set out better options with all the passion, power, and intelligence we have. A revolution is what we need, and we can begin by imagining and demanding it and doing what we can to try to realize it. Rather than waiting to see what happens, we can be what happens.”

If your best hope lies in large, relatively impersonal forces such as the global or national economy, Alex Stefan offers some believable optimism: “Powerful forces strain against this status quo, and torque is building for a snap forward in climate action …. To understand why, we must consider the shifting global politics of the climate crisis, the unprecedented acceleration of the clean economy, and the carbon bubble we live in.”

'Rather than waiting to see what happens, we can be what happens.' Click To Tweet

For what we might think about day-to-day, Auden Schendler and Andrew P. Jones remind us that “Historically, we’ve tackled the biggest challenge – that of meaning, and the question of how to live a life – through the concept of ‘practice,’ in the form of religion, cultural tradition or disciplines like yoga or martial arts. Given the stark facts, this approach might be the most useful. Practice has value independent of outcome; it’s a way of life, not a job with a clear payoff. A joyful habit. The right way to live.”

And for a funny, bracing, fierce, and surprisingly encouraging idea about how we might break the massive climate change task into yearly bites, Kathleen Dean Moore lays out a 12-year plan, just one job a year, starting with 2019, “The Year of the Girding of the Loins.”


This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

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