The Reliance On Radical Hope: The Ecological Crisis is Very, Very Bad

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For my response, I decided to focus on the article “A World They Don’t Deserve,” by Allen Thompson. I wanted to use my response as an opportunity to highlight the aspects of this article that I found particularly interesting or hadn’t necessarily thought about.

Firstly, I was very intrigued by the idea of radical hope. In “A World They Don’t Deserve,” Thompson uses Johnathan Lear’s account, Plenty Coups, to define radical hope. Radical hope is defined as “courage to act in the face of devastation, with a commitment to the reemergence of the good in a form that is beyond one’s present ability to cognize or comprehend.” Radical hope can be analogous to having faith (not necessarily connected to religion). It is the idea that you may not know what the future holds, but you have faith that good will come out of the future. I thought that the incorporation of radical hope, and the connection to the displacement of indigenous populations was very interesting. Especially when this example is given, many more examples in history become clear. The goal, I believe, in incorporating the idea of radical hope was to show that no matter what the climate and ecology of the Earth becomes, humans will adapt and try to thrive because there is no other option. 

That brings me to the second point that I found interesting: making up for the ecological disaster that future generations will inherit. I will admit that I had adopted the mindset, or felt strongly about the idea that fixing the climate was the only option. I never contemplated that we had alternative options, even if they aren’t very good. The idea that humans will (or possibly will) exist in a world that has been degraded, and that if we can’t fix the ecological crisis we have created, we should make up for it in other ways. I found this idea to be very compelling. Thompson brings up the example of cancer. If we can’t solve out ecological problems, we might as well cure cancer to take one burden off of the future generations. Thompsen also mentioned access to healthcare and education as another one of these “gifts.”

The last idea that I felt that I needed to mention was the idea of geoengineering. Thompson gave examples of geoengineering in the article, mentioning solar radiation management and stratospheric sulfur injections- all of these being implemented instead of fixing the true problem. The true problem being carbon dioxide levels, which can be lowered in part by reforestation. This really reminded me of the pharmaceutical industry. We create treatment and drugs for every sort of problem that we can, but often they don’t fix what is broken or amiss, instead they work to cover up the problem. For example, if you have a headache an instinct reaction is to take a pain reliever such as advil or ibuprofen. But all these medications do is mask the problem. Your headache may have been caused by dehydration, but instead of rehydrating and resting you disregard the cause of the headache for a quick fix. This is analogous to ignoring the high carbon dioxide levels (the root of the problem) and trying to mask it with other actions.

I, overall, felt that the attitudes and ideas presented in this article were very much something Greta Thunberg would reference and preach- we are morally responsible for the climate crisis and assisting future generations.

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