What gives you hope these days?

The fact that younger people are definitely better than I was when I was their age, and that they are entering into the equation. The fact that my generation will little by little go away and leave them in charge.

The fact that quite a few important companies (either out of a sincere change of heart or from absolutely cynical reasons) are beginning to take climate change seriously, and that several countries are starting to take it seriously as well (as an example, recently a Dutch court ordered Shell Oil -which is headquartered in the Netherlands- to cut CO2 emissions by 45% on 2030, with respect to 2019 levels – Shell ordered to reduce CO2 emissions – DW – 05/26/2021
Will it happen? Will it be effective? I do not know, but the will to do something is there, and that is already quite a bit).

Related to this, the fact that more and more installed base for renewables is being built around the world. It is not yet near enough, but it is happening. Rome was not built in a day.

The fact that, year by year, the rate of increase of the world’s population is going down, slowly but surely - from 2.1% per year on 1970 to 1.1% today.

The fact that both my daughters are engaged (in their own way) in wanting to leave the world better than they found it, and doing what they can for that, and that they are not the only ones. Will they be able to do it on their own? Of course not, but every little bit definitely helps.

The fact that science and technology is definitely advancing in ways we could have never imagined even 20 years ago. The fact that we already have a planet populated by robots. The fact that we already have reusable rockets that are flying routinely. The fact that I can talk with my friends in New Zealand in almost real time basically for free.

The fact that we have been able, in the face of a tremendous pandemic, to limit the potential damage and we also were able to develop vaccines in a matter of months when, in the past, it took at least 5 years. The 1918-1920 flu pandemic killed enough people that, if the proportion had been the same nowadays, would have left us with close to 500 million people dead.

The fact that in my internet exploration I find more people who take seriously the situation and get vaccinated than paranoid conspiracy theorists and antivaxxers. Also, the fact that the former do not hesitate to call the latter what they are.

The fact that the EU survived rather nicely the UK leaving it (and -if I may wax semipolitical for a moment- the fact that Tim Martin, boss of “Wetherspoons” and biggest brexiter after Farage is now asking Boris Johnson to create special EU worker visa to encourage EU migration in order to help staff bars. This gives me pleasure and mirth to no end).

The fact that, in general, people are decent and caring more often than they are horrible and selfish. It is just that the latter makes for more “interesting” news.

The fact that my cat loves me and my family, and that my sister’s dog is the cutest, derpiest, biggest, woofiest thing in the world.

The fact that I have a handful of fast friends that I would trust with my life.

The fact that I can still help others and do something for other people. That I have the energy, the health and the means to be able to do so.

And many more things, really.

To close this post, I have the feeling that the OP is writing this from a rather US-centric perspective. Although the US is the most influential country in the world, the US is not the world. And although the US is going through rather convulse times, it will get itself out of them in time. Somebody said that in the end the US does the right thing, after having tried everything else first.

Seriously: Trump lost.

Light-heartedly: A Loki series is coming.

I’m reminded of this lyric

“I’m losing my edge to better-looking people with better ideas and more talent.
And they’re actually really, really nice.”

  • LCD Soudsystem, ‘I’m Losing My Edge’

Well, today it was this girl. A high school valedictorian in Texas decided to scrap her approved speech and talk about abortion instead. Maybe kids like her will turn this shitshow around.

I don’t understand all the “sweet release of death” responses. That’s not hope; that’s a certainty. Hope involves a degree of uncertainty.

One thing gives me hope is the incredibly rapid development of COVID vaccines-- a testament to what can happen when thousands of scientists focus on an issue with enough funding and focus.

My generation has given them the gift of a very low bar.

No kidding right? Nazis, climate collapse, and oligarchs. If the next generation just manages to figure out how to make a great tasting, low-cal soda, they’ll be light speeds ahead of what we accomplished.

The mundane gives me hope. The driver that lets someone else merge in front of them, the person who holds the door open for someone else, the person who tells someone else that they dropped something without noticing - all of these little things give me hope; not because they’re remarkable, but because they are unremarkable. We take all of these little, random acts of kindness for granted because we consider them normal. The assholes and loudmouths and haters get all of the attention, but that’s because they’re abnormal. We stare at them like we’d stare at a traffic accident, but just like we take for granted all of the safe journeys and talk about the accidents, we take for granted all the kindnesses and talk about the assholes. So, I take hope from the idea that the bad things are not the norm.

I disagree that the times are increasingly scary. Almost all children live to adulthood. Most adults take it for granted that they will live into old age. This isn’t something people could expect a hundred years ago! We also live our lives with a level of comfort, convenience, security, and access to interesting and varied experiences that go far beyond anything our ancestors could have dreamed of. And, as for “unprecedented assaults on democracy,” they are unfortunately very much precedented; sixty years ago, the state where I live – along with most of the rest of the American South, was a virtual police state where almost half of the population was completely disenfranchised.

It’s getting better. It doesn’t feel like it’s getting better because most of the big, dramatic events that makes the news is negative and positive changes tend to be incremental and non-dramatic, but they’re still very real. (Also, I think we have a tendency not to think at all about the stuff we don’t have to worry about any more – like, say, polio – while the stuff we ARE reasonably worried about in the moment looms large.)

The current state of teenagers gives me a great deal of hope. Here are the current trends for risky behaviors among teens. With the exceptions of not eating their veggies (not sure why this is even in the chart), every trend is a good one:

Another chart showing changes from 1995 to 2016:

So they’re mostly not smoking cigarettes, getting arrested, getting pregnant, fighting, drinking, doing drugs, carrying weapons, and more are going to college and doing athletics. That’s pretty cool!

Charts from Kevin Drum blog posts here and here.

My own son, despite being a California slacker, has a 2-year degree so far and doesn’t smoke or drink and looks down on anyone who does.

The infinite living breathing exquisite complexity of the skin of this planet gives me hope.

Humans beings and their works? No. Evil walks, and is taking ever-larger steps, destroying everything, including the few tiny hope-flags of the just and the kind. Fuck us. Can’t poison ourselves into extinction soon enough for me.

Holy cats, that there’s a badass thing to do.

Unprecedented? Maybe in a strict sense: people haven’t attacked democracy in exactly the same way before. But we in the USA (let alone the rest of the world) have seen plenty of attacks on democracy in the past—for example, people killed for trying to vote, for example.

So, one thing that gives me hope (perhaps paradoxically) is a knowledge of history and how bad things have been in the past. This is hardly a uniquely bad time, and some things have definitely been getting better.

“Show me a man who can keep his head when all about him are in a panic and I’ll show you a man who doesn’t understand the severity of the situation!” :slightly_smiling_face:

So IOW, the first generation to be lamer than their parents. :thinking:

It’s kind of like my comment to squeegee’s links. Yes, you are right that the world is trending towards being safer, more convenient, more interconnected. But I don’t think that makes me more “hopeful”. If anything, it makes me feel like we are trending towards a world that’s dull, sterile, overanalyzed, and superficial. Constantly connected, yet disconnected. Think along the lines of the dystopian “utopias” portrayed in works like Brave New World, Logan’s Run, or Demolition Man.

I can agree with that.

I’m not entirely ignorant of the facts. I’m just, in a general sense, an optimistic person.
Always, I look for the good in a situation or a person.
Just how I roll.

Haha. Nope. Can’t say it was but we live in a time when one of those people with the “The end is Nigh!” signs on the street is not automatically nuts. It could be a climate scientist having a breakdown

Climate scientists try to stay positive and have a happy warrior attitude but they are feeling not just depression and grief, but rage…And what they are feeling now, we will all feel down the line. They are the canaries in the shit mine. I don’t relish feeling enraged at obvious mistakes happening today, 10 years ago and 20 years ago.

Death brings me no comfort nor knowing it’s all meaningless in the end, or that mankind and joy will survive. I was rooting for mankind to become better and greater, with fewer conspiracy theories and human hippos, not more.

Some folks are encouraged by the progress of science.

As a scientist, I feel science is going at an increasingly slower pace because of the ever-increasing complexity of remaining problems and the ever-increasing amount of skill needed to contribute, while human lifespans and brains remain the same.

I’ve witnessed the slowdown of science advancement in my lifetime. The fastest-advancing tech, computer chips, saw progress slow down to a near-halt and killed Ray Kurzweil’s singularity dreams.

Some folks are encouraged by today’s kids. I agree. Young brains provided with a great education and the opportunity to excel are our most important resource by far.

The real issue is time.You can’t do miracles if you have 3 seconds left before the basketball game is over and the opposing team (Death & Morons) has 7 points advantage.

There is no plan for a day to come when the Global Scientist Council gathers and says:

“We’ve officially ran out of time. Ya’ll fucked up. Earth is doomed. Enjoy the consequences of your own actions!”

But that day DOES indeed exist in retrospect. If aliens existed, Some alien historian will say, one day “The scientific consensus is that the point of no re-return for the (foolish, extinct) humans was around 1980-2010”.

The point of no return was before 2020. What can we do?

Yeah, I figured. It was the main cause of my post; it seems to me that few people ask this kind of question unless they’re really asking, “look, I’m feeling a bit down about the future of myself and my loved ones; can anyone think of something that might lift my spirits at least a little?” To then respond with “nope, everybody is doomed, the only thing your children have to look forward to is the sweet release of death” seems a little…cruel, even if you do genuinely think so.

I’m no optimist but–

  • The vaccines are great!
  • The kids are alright. Dropping teen pregnancy. Dropping drug use rates. More volunteering.
  • Increasing public support for electrifying transportation, more solar in the grid, dropping use of coal for electricity. Slowing population growth. Maybe we won’t destroy the world in my lifetime.
  • The US elected a Democrat who actually wants to make the world and the country better. This is partially offset by Republicans making gains in the House but I have some hope we won’t lose too many more seats in the mid-terms.

Yeah, I recognize the world isn’t all sunshine and light but I look for hope where I can find it.