What Do You Hope For?

As we slip into May, this year passing so fast, I can’t help but wonder at how quickly the world seems to change. Here in America, such a sense is at least somewhat inevitable with a new and discontinuous administration driving our national and foreign policy in new directions. But even setting aside the political disruptions experienced of late, it still feels as though the tipping points are arriving faster and faster. As decline accelerates and continues to push the United States and a number of other nations and regions into the early stages of collapse, I can’t help but believe the world is going to be dramatically and irreversibly changed in the coming decades, with a good number of incredible challenges staring us in the face.

It’s a sobering reality, but it’s also an opportunity to stop and reflect on what hopes we hold for the future. I know that can feel like an odd statement to make at a time that feels quite dark. However, in the times like these that challenge us, hope strikes me as more critical than ever. There is little question that we face a harsh future; yet such an impending reality demands from us an honest hope to make the world better than it otherwise might be through hard work, perseverance, an honest appraisal of where we are heading. John Michael Greer once wrote that hope “is the quality of character and the act of will that finds some good that can be achieved, no matter what the circumstances, and then strives to achieve it.” There is little question to my mind that now is a time for such efforts.

With that in mind, I turn to you good readers with a simple question: What do you hope for? Given the state of decline and the harsh futures facing us, what is it that you hope to do or see to make the future better than it might otherwise be. Much like the stories in Into the Ruins, I ask that the hard realities facing us not be dismissed or glossed over: please don’t write that you hope for an easy solution, or for something to happen to allow us to continue to live our lives as we have been, skating by the consequences of our idiotic and destructive decisions. No, given the realities of climate change, economic and political dysfunction, war, poverty, environmental destruction, and all the other troubles facing us, what do you hope for? It can be something at the personal or societal level, local or global, rooted in physical action, mental contemplation, spiritual practice, or something else.

My favorite responses I plan to publish as letters to the editor in the upcoming fifth issue of Into the Ruins. You can provide your thoughts either by commenting on this blog post or by emailing me directly at editor@intotheruins.com. If for any reason you do not want your thoughts to be considered for publication as a letter to the editor, please make a note of it in your comment.

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

3 thoughts on “What Do You Hope For?

  1. The only hope for all life on this planet is for the human economy to collapse globally and utterly in the near future, paving the way for a substantial decrease in human population through natural attrition. Once consumerism is stopped and human population reduced, the present consumer capitalist society will have insufficient resources to return to its present destructive level of consumption.

    Without such a revolutionary change, the human population will decline slowly, dragging the rest of the living world with it, resulting in massive extinctions of non-human species. It will take many thousands of years for the biosphere to achieve equilibrium after the demise of “Homo consumensis” becomes a fading memory.

    In a world of less than a billion humans, scattered esthetically across the landscape, we can all return to our bioregional roots, living in kinship based villages, in local economies responding to local cycles of resource availability, with trade and social connections to neighboring bioregions. Humans lived this way in the Earth for millennia, and will live so in the future, else we face the long decent down the porcelain parkway of ultimate extinction.


  2. A renewed emphasis on local economies, strong communities based on social capital, an appreciation for our reliance on the gifts of nature, and a willingness to persevere through tough times. A deep understanding of the principles of resilience and sustainability as a basis for ethical societies.


  3. I hope to make a difference, that the world will be a slightly better place because of my passage through it. While I understand, in the context of deindustrialization and the long decline, that “the system cannot be saved” — and I will admit this acceptance has been a difficult, emotional, but vitally necessary inner journey for me — I do believe that I can act locally to mitigate the impact upon my community of this storm that is coming, and to aid, if only in some small way, the birth of a renaissance, centuries hence, that I will not live to see.


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