It is easy to be overwhelmed by feelings of hopelessness. We humans have destroyed the balance of nature: forest are being destroyed, deserts are spreading, there is terrible pollution and poisoning of air, earth, water. There are too many humans in some parts of the world, over-consumption in others. Yet I do have hope. Let me share my four reasons.

1. First, the amazing human brain-which has created modern technology, much of which has greatly benefited millions of people around the globe. Around the world, innovative solutions are being developed to many of the problems we have created, e.g. renewable energy, sustainable farming, and so on. And, as individuals, leaving lighter ecological footprints.

2. Secondly, the resiliency of nature, if given a chance, her ability to repair the wounds we have inflicted. With more people becoming so passionate about protecting the environment, we’ve shown again and again the places we actually destroyed can, with a bit of help or just time, once again, nature can reclaim them and life can come back. And those on the brink of extinction can be given another chance.

3. My third reason of hope lies in the tremendous energy, enthusiasm, and commitment of young people around the world. The energy, commitment, and hard work of young people once they understand the problems and are empowered to discuss and ACT upon solutions. Which is why I devote so much time to developing our youth program, Roots & Shoots.

4. My fourth reason for hope lies in the indomitable nature of the human spirit– the people who tackle seemingly impossible tasks and won’t give up. One such was Don Merton, who saved the black robin, though he was told he was wasting his time. Some are iconic figures – like Nelson Mandela who emerged from 17 years of hard physical labor (21 years in prison) with the amazing capacity of forgiveness so that he led his nation out of the evil regime of apartheid without the bloodbath most people had predicted. In fact we find this indomitable human spirit all round, if we bother to look. And it is very inspiring.

5. My most recent reason for hope is the power of social media. For example, the organizers of the recent climate march in New York expected maybe 100,000. But everyone tweeted and twittered and posted news of it on Facebook, urging their friends and colleagues to join. And there were closer to 400,000 (actually more were joining but the police closed it down). I was one of them!

Let us develop respect for all living things. Let us try to replace violence and intolerance with understanding and compassion. And love.

With excerpts from Mongabay.

Photo Credits: Michael Neugebauer, Michelle Valberg, JGI Canada, Mike Graeme

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