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Fighting climate-despair with Hope - TNK Green

Fighting climate-despair with Hope

Fighting climate-despair with Hope


Climate despair, also called Ecological grief is defined as “the grief reaction stemming from the environmental loss of ecosystems by natural and man-made events.”[4] Another definition is “the grief felt in relation to experienced or anticipated ecological losses, including the loss of species, ecosystems, and meaningful landscapes due to acute or chronic environmental change.

It is easy to become overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending stream of bad environmental news and due to a seeming lack of urgency from governments and corporations but hope is a powerful emotion that can help us create positive change.

The Reality of Climate Despair:

It might feel that not a week goes by without news of some climate disaster somewhere in the world. Just this past week there was severe flooding in central eastern Africa that displaced millions of people and killed at least 30 people. Simultaneously storm Ciaran hit western Europe bringing with it breaking winds, heavy rain, and flooding.

In a 2021 medical study by Hickman, Marks et al titled ‘Climate anxiety in children and young people and their beliefs about the government response to climate change; a global survey’ they found that 59% of all participants were very to extremely worried leading to emotions of sadness, anxiety, anger, helplessness, and guilt.

News of heatwaves, wildfires, drought, flooding, severe snowstorms, and volcanic eruptions can overwhelm us all as 2023 is set to become the warmest year on record. It might even feel like we are fighting a losing battle leading us to despair.

The Power of Hope:

Hope is a powerful emotion. Defined as a noun as a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen, or a feeling of trust and as a verb as wanting something to happen or be the case. It is an emotion that requires action and can act as a catalyst for people to rally behind.

Climate action in the past couple of years has been mainly driven by urgency and anger but lacks the emotion of hope alienating millions of people who want to take action but don’t want to be too radical. If people come together with a shared vision of a more sustainable future, hope can become the driving force that propels us toward positive change.

Throughout history, there are multiple examples of how collective action was achieved driven by the underlining emotion of hope.

A Brief History of Hope in Action:

A prime example is the story of the Montreal Protocol signed in 1987. Believe it or not, this is not the first climate disaster we collectively face. In the 1970 research started to show a massive reduction in the ozone over the poles.

Research and studies indicated the widespread use of CFC also known as Chlorofluorocarbons, which were widely in use in refrigerators and aerosol spray cans, was the cause of this ozone depletion and by collective action by governments and industries across the globe we changed our industries and solved the problem.

Similarly, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, the pea soup fog incident in London in 1952 rallied people together and resulted in the Clean Air Act of 1956, a mere four years after the incident.

In the past 20 years, the rise of the wind and solar energy market illustrate the industry’s willingness to address the current problems and provide our world with the means of cleaner more renewable energy source and the widespread adaptation by consumers are driving down instillation cost making it a truly alternative solution for energy security.

These acts, protocols, and industries illustrate the effectiveness of hope as a societal driving force for change.

Individual agency and collective action:

It’s easy to feel small and insignificant in the face of the crisis ahead, but every individual has the power to make a difference. By creating a community of like-minded individuals and advocating for sustainable principles we can create a groundswell of positive change. Recognition that you are a key player and not inconsequential is a key to combating climate despair


Moreover, the impact of collective action cannot be overstated. When communities, businesses, and government unite in a common purpose the potential for positive change becomes exponential. From city-wide regreening and renewable energy initiatives to international agreements and collaborative efforts fueled with hope can shift the tricectory of the planet.

Building a sustainable future:

Hope is not blind optimism; it is a commitment to action. By envisioning and actively working toward a sustainable future, we can overcome climate despair. Embracing innovation, supporting eco-friendly technologies, and demanding accountability from leaders are crucial steps in the journey towards a healthier planet.

Education and Awareness:

One of the most potent tools in the fight against climate despair is education. Raising awareness about the realities of climate change, its consequences, and the available solutions empowers individuals to make informed decisions. Educational initiatives, whether in schools, communities, or through media, play a vital role in cultivating a sense of responsibility and hope for a sustainable future.



In the face of climate despair, hope emerges as a beacon of light, guiding us toward positive action and a sustainable future. By acknowledging the challenges posed by climate change and embracing the power of hope, we can overcome inertia and work together to create a world where the environment thrives, and future generations inherit a planet rich in biodiversity and beauty. As individuals, communities, and societies, let us choose hope over despair and take meaningful steps toward a brighter and more sustainable tomorrow.


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