About the project
Hope doesn’t come easily when your vision is clouded and your heart is lost. I am on a quest to recover my heart and refocus my sight. My journey will consist of meeting and interviewing everyday superheroes that keep going when the odds are against them. I want to see what brings them hope, what makes them think that they are making a difference, and what allows them to believe that their children will be better off than they were.
The mood after COP15
Photo: Robert van Waarden
I personally lost my hope after COP15 in 2009 when our politicians rejected science, failed their constituents, and chose inaction, leading us on the path of least resistance toward catastrophic climate change. Up to that moment, I was highly involved and invested in the international youth climate change policy work. The people fighting for our future gave me hope; seeing their passion, their love, their lust for a better future, their commitment to justice and fairness gave me hope and ignited the same emotions in me. Afterward, all of that was lost!
“If you look at the science … and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet the people … and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart.” - Paul Hawkin “Blessed Unrest”
After that disasterous December night in Copenhagen, I lost sight of the people. For many years I had stood side-by-side with people from all over the world to ensure that our politicians were aware of the moral imperative they have to act on climate change mitigation and adaptation. Maurice from Kenya, Juan from Costa Rica, Robert and David from Canada, Mei from Thailand, Anna from Australia, Cecile from France, David from Sweden, Viko from Indonesia, Marina from Argentina, Dimitri from Moldova and many, many more.
Big public protest during COP15
Photo: Robert van Waarden
I could no longer see them and their work. I could no longer find hope and optimism.
Since then I have struggled to find motivation and suffered from what I call “sad Sundays,” days where the biggest questions come to the forefront of my mind and no logical answer can satisfy them. Questions like: “Why do I act in this world, if our political system screws us over?” “What meaningful difference can I make, when any positive change will fade when compared to the immensity of the looming climate disaster?” “What gives me hope for my future kids, when the science predicts mass hunger, mass refugee streams, mass food and water shortage, mass disasters of all kinds?” I could sit and cry for hours. I still do now and again.
I have realized that giving up after the wind was knocked out of me has probably been my life’s biggest mistake. So I keep trying to re-engage... but I still haven’t recovered! I drift and slide!
I NEED hope to thrive. I need hope to keep going on days when it is hard. I need hope when facing defeat and surrendering is not an option. I need hope when I do my work. I don’t think hope randomly comes to you, I think you need to seek it out and keep it alive.
What I am looking for
Me with my three words.
Hope is a muscle that needs exercise and grows best in the company of others. We bring hope and love to each other and we all need hope to inspire, to love, to live! This is my attempt at doing just that.
I hope your stories will help me turn my gaze back towards the light and the people and reassemble my hope!
Ultimately, I hope this collection of stories will encourage you to ask people you know similar questions and help you exercise your hope muscle or reassemble your hope!
For a better future
- Bjarke Kronborg