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VideoCultivating Hope for the Future

Cultivating Hope for the Future

Social ecology expert Dr. Nicole Ardoin explains why a positive outlook on the future helps us become more effective climate activists.

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Hope is something that's incredibly important for us as human beings to have and to hold onto, especially when dealing with climate anxiety. But what exactly is hope? (pleasant music) Hi, I'm Dr. Nicole Ardoin, I'm the Director of the Social Ecology Lab at Stanford university. We study people's relationships to the environment. (pleasant music) All definitions of hope share a common theme, having a positive outlook of the future. In our work in the Social Ecology Lab at Stanford, we add another element to this definition. Hope is the feeling that even if our dreams for the future seem increasingly unlikely, we still believe that it is possible and we have some power to make it happen. And what connects hope to action is a concept called efficacy, or the feeling that one's actions both as an individual and as part of a group will be effective at addressing the issues at hand. So when you think about it, hope really is an important aspect of taking action. An example of self-efficacy might be someone deciding to join a climate protest, such as the ones around the world for the Global Day for Climate Justice. They might know that they are only one person, but they believe in their impact by joining many others advocating for climate change mitigation. Self-efficacy might also be when a person purposefully chooses public transportation or decides to walk or bike somewhere, rather than driving, to reduce their carbon footprint. Of course, the problem of climate change is much bigger than just making small personal choices. That's where collective efficacy comes in handy. Collective efficacy occurs when members of a community come together to address an issue, and believe that their work can be effective. For example, local government officials in a local university worked with over 1,500 residents in Anchorage, Alaska to develop a climate action plan for the coastal city. Through a series of workshops, events, town hall meetings, and collective brainstorming sessions at libraries and museums, community members led the charge in shaping plans to reduce carbon emissions. I invite you to take a moment this week to consider the following, what's needed in your community? And how can you take action that's most aligned with your community needs? What are the gifts, skills, or knowledge that you bring to the table? There are also so many different ways to conceptualize what community can look like. So let's make sure we're bringing in the diversity of our communities in the fight against climate change. For example, effective engagement is often found in dynamic demographics, like a mix of younger and older people. Community work can be found with your family, your friends, friends that are your family, through your work colleagues, through your kid's friend's parents, and different social and meetup groups. Now what can you do if you're finding it really hard to hold onto hope? Well you've come to the right place because meditation can help. My lab is...


Duration4 min

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