The social practice of hope


Many media outlets are calling this federal election the climate election. With many holding hope for the future of the political movement on climate action, our internal experiences may be complicated: this is the election result we may have been hoping for, and this is the election result we needed ten years ago….

Whether you find yourself feeling hopeful, hopeless, or at some more multi-layered in-between, I offer an exploration into hope as a practice we engage in on a social and relational level. Neo-liberal logic thrives on individualism as the foundation for change but considering hope as a radically relational act might help us to journey into the “culture of care” that Sally Weintrobe considers a crucial foundation of climate action. Keri Day explores hope as something which exists in our everyday and must live within our social rituals for engaging in the world even as we envision something better, she writes,

“Hope is not merely abstract theorizing but is rooted in the messiness, complexity and ambiguity of lived experience, practices, desires, and longings for alternative worlds located in the present”

Hope is a practice that occurs within and between people. Hope both requires a real contact with what is, and a wild imagination for what is possible. Frederick Bird explores how, specific to the climate crisis, hope entails the capacity to both imagine the best outcome but then ground next steps in what is plausible for the current reality rather than the utopian future that may be being envisioned. For him, this entails resourcing yourself with the opinions of others, both with similar and oppositional views to you, of what is possible. This also calls for a balance between immediate solutions and deep time.


  1. Get imaginal about what you want for climate future, what do you hope from this election outcome? Take 5 minutes to write it down or draw it just for yourself.

  2. Voice this hope or vision to those around you. Get into conversations with people who you know and love, get into conversations with those who may have other ideas. Get their feedback as you dream up what is possible.

  3. Come right back to this current moment in history and this moment in your own life, and decide what you can put your energy into right now. Hope becomes practical when we distill it into the next step we can take and are willing to invite others into the process.


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