Are those fresh green shoots of hope?

Date:

Ken Huggins :North Dorset Green Party

Generally I consider myself towards the glass-half-full end of the spectrum, but I must admit the events of last year had me beginning to doubt my sanity in seeing any reason for optimism. However, there are some encouraging signs for hope. Perhaps even, dare I say, the metaphorical green shoots of spring?
One is a positive shift in some of the right-leaning media, away from simple outraged condemnation of environmental protests and towards an acceptance that the climate and environmental crisis is real and must be addressed urgently. In a recent Times column, for example, the writer admits to having fumed at environmental protesters blocking roads and throwing food at artworks, but reflects that he now realises that they are entirely right to be concerned, and that their cause is actually everybody’s cause. He highlights the gulf between what almost every government agrees needs to happen, and what they are actually doing, our own government included.
Another positive note has been HSBC saying it will stop funding new oil and gas fields, and that it will expect more information from energy clients about their plans to cut carbon emissions. Hopefully it will not be just another example of corporate greenwashing.

The innate decency of humans
Something that gives me particular cause for hope is the fact that although we humans can be thoughtless, selfish, greedy and sometimes downright barbaric, we also have a huge capacity for caring and compassion. Where I live in Hazelbury Bryan, the community response during the COVID pandemic focussed on the Red Barn village store, where the proprietors Tara and Darren packed up regular supplies of food and other items for a team of willing volunteers to deliver to residents who were unable to collect for themselves.

Looking forwards
This new year will be what we collectively make of it – we all have a part to play. Let’s look out for those in need, some of whom may face greater challenges than we do, but find it difficult to ask for help. And let’s stay focussed on our capacity to care, both for our fellow humans and the natural world we all share and depend on.
Ken Huggins
for the North Dorset Green Party

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