…as if the future of the world depends and belong to us, and it does. That is scary, truly terrifying. But it’s people like you that make us feel confident and proud of that. This give us the willpower needed for that change. You not only says that we have to change, you believe that we can make it. You have faith on us. And sometimes that’s the only thing I need to carry on-M_ccon, yesterday
I was messaging my co-worker, friend, and fellow climate nerd Henrik about the blog post on optimism I wrote yesterday when we began digging into comments people have left on our videos and blog posts. The quote at the top of this post was left as a comment on yesterday’s post, and it perfectly embodies what I would like to talk about today: Hope, and why it is so important.
Think back to the last time you heard a piece of bad news. Something about COVID, perhaps, or maybe climate change. Probably both, in the same day. Every day. Ugh. It’s horrible, and it’s demotivating, and when the majority of what we hear every day is negative, it causes us to lose one thing that we all have, even in the darkest and most uncertain of times – hope.
Think of a still pond. Now imagine a single drop of water landing on the pond from above. What happens? A ripple spreads out all around, and several smaller drops fly into the air, splashing down a short time later themselves. From that single drop, not only was the calm of the water disrupted, but those several other drops finally found a way to fly and make their own ripples. But, eventually, the pond settles back down, and everything is calm again.
Now imagine a slow, steady stream of drops coming from the same spot. With each drop landing, a new, similar ripple is formed. The water around where the drops are landing is energetic, and any calm that arrives soon disappears whenever the next drop hits. Yet still, the majority of the pond is calm aside from the area where this stream is landing.
Finally, imagine it starts raining. Drops all around, landing on different parts of the pond. No part of the pond is calm, waves are crashing into other waves, building upon each other. The edges of the pond cannot contain the largest waves, and with enough rain, the pond grows in size, making way for the next rainstorm to continue this process of growth and perturbance.
In case it wasn’t clear by now, a single piece of hope is a single drop in the pond. A single piece of hope, like one drop of water, can disrupt everything, and show people a new way of thinking. Being that first drop of water takes courage, though, especially when everyone around you has accepted the calm-pond-status-quo.
Especially in today’s society, where we’re inundated with negativity and bad news all the time that so often feels so much bigger than any one of us, it can feel pointless and tiresome to be that single drop of water. Trying to create a wave of positivity as a single drop can be exhausting, thankless, and often feels pointless. It isn’t pointless, but it can definitely feel that way, especially when previous efforts really feel unsuccessful.
I struggle with this feeling of ‘pointlessness’ a lot. When a post I put a lot of heart and thought into gets 1% of the traction of a Minecraft meme I tweet, it certainly doesn’t help. But that 1% is far more important than the 99% that don’t see it, because for every person in the 1% that comments on or shares what I created, they are spreading the hope and positivity. That 1% is why I do it. Even if that 1% was just my mom and dad (hi Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this!) – I would still do it, because they deserve to feel hope, too.
Why hope is valuable
Love Tropics started out as a passion project between a few friends who wanted to give back. We set out on a whim to raise $3,000 for people affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. To date, we have raised over $155,000 for several causes, we have a community of 700+ people and growing, and we had over 26,000 people stop in during last year’s event.
What does this tell me? People believe they can help make the world a better place. Why do they believe that? Because Love Tropics showed them they can. Love Tropics gave people hope. Love Tropics is a great example of positivity feeding positivity. Do you think people would volunteer or donate to Love Tropics if our tagline was “We don’t think what we’re doing will help, everything is pointless, and the planet is doomed”? No, probably not.
Here’s another reason why hope is important – because your hope will most heavily affect those close to you. If someone you know sees your passion, they will be more likely to consider your point of view. Similarly, if someone you know sees you being negative, they might find it easier to feel negatively as well.
Why do I talk about hope for the future so much?
Everybody is different. Some people are intrinsically motivated, some extrinsically. No two life situations are the same, and no life stories are the same either. I can’t possibly know what most people are going through, nor is it really my place to know. But I do know this: hope is what defines the future. Hope refers entirely to to events that have yet to transpire, and that’s what makes it so magical. Hope means opportunity. Hope means growth. Hope means even if there is a 0.0000001% chance of success, well…
One problem with that type of hope is that when the odds feel so small, the obstacles so insurmountable, it can feel like anything we do along the way isn’t really making a difference. But if you take away anything from this post, I want it to be this: A single act from you, no matter how small, does make a difference. The world will be better off because of your small act, even if you are the only person that ever knows about it.
I know it’s easy to get lost in the negativity of today’s hyperconnected society. There have always been, and always will be, naysayers, doombringers, and harbingers of bad days to come. What I recommend: Take the valuable information they have to offer out of their negativity, store it away, then put a proportionate amount of positivity back into the world. Pet a cat. Open a door for someone. Tell someone you care about them. Hug a sloth. These are all drops, and the world is the pond.
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”Jane Goodall
My final piece of advice – find other drops of positivity and surround yourself with them. Whether this is a news site focusing on good news, or a close friend who you share a positive passion with. Find ways to take these positive feelings you have and nurture them. Create hope for each other, and remind each other of the better future you’re working towards.
I will keep fighting for a safe, sustainable, equitable, inclusive planet with a healthy climate. In doing so, I will make sure that I share my positivity with anybody willing to receive it. All I ask in return is that you nurture the glimmers of hope that appear in your life, no matter how small. It makes a difference. I have faith in you.
Take care <3