Is there any hope? Are we all doomed? I write books about the climate crisis, so I am often asked fearful questions like these. But I’m being asked them more and more often and by younger people, an alarming trend not unconnected to the number of scientific reports detailing how humans are pushing the Earth’s systems to dangerous extremes.
I write about planetary-scale ecosystem destruction but, importantly, I also focus on our species’ extraordinary capacity to adapt; this has been key to our success in the past – and it is key to surviving our future. There are radical, yet pragmatic, solutions to our crises. But fear of what will happen if we don’t act is imprisoning people in a mindset that makes alternatives seem unthinkable. I am frequently told my solutions are unrealistic and will never happen; that people would rather fight each other in wars than adapt to share food and land, for instance. We make our own future, even if it’s hard to see the process. So let me try to make the case for hope.