#243 Be hopefully naïve


Sign pointing to village of Hope, Derbyshire UK, photo by pol sifter, via Flickr Creative Commons

I blog for Care2 Causes. You can find my tirades and occasional upbeat posts here. Reading through them, you might wonder if I’m being truthful when I write on this site, “Still, on the great balance scale of life, I have a hunch the good far outweighs the bad.”

Bill McKibben’s essay in YES! gave me a lot to ponder and reaffirmed my mission to post 1001 reasons for optimism on this site. I love his title, “Why I’m Giving Up Cynicism for New Year’s”.

For me, the important difference between cynicism and optimism is the possibility for change. I believe change is possible.

Governments around the globe are sliding toward the right. Multinational corporations are wielding unprecedented power. The environment is straining under the weight of our carelessness.

And yet… People are erecting tiny libraries on posts and stocking them with books they want to share. Tiny Moab, Utah turned out in force for a 2011 Gay Pride parade. Photographer Jen McKen took a stand against bullying when she refused to take graduation pictures of girls posting cruel comments on Facebook. Billionaires are speaking out against tax cuts for the rich.

Every post on this site, every link on This Gives Me Hope’s Facebook page and Scoop.it site is my way of affirming my unwavering belief that we are not condemned to accept the way things are, that we can bring about change, that each one of us can make a difference.

These two sentences from Bill McKibben jump out at me: “I don’t want to be hopelessly naïve. I want to be hopefully naïve.”

That’s what I want to be so I’ll continue speaking out on issues that feel important to me. I’ll also keep celebrating small victories, quirky stories, successes, and beauty. And I hope you’ll join me.

Share your reasons for hope.


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Michael Dahl - January 14, 2012

What / who gives me hope?

1. There are more of us than there are of them.
2. Not too many years ago wealth was not as concentrated, there wasn’t as much homelessness, and people had much more confidence in institutions’ ability to support the common good. We can learn some things from the past.
3. Today, we have more knowledge, are better connected, and the forces that create despair have been outed much more than they have been in previous years. We can take advantage of much of what and who we know now.
5. Scott Dibble, Julia Dinsmore, Adam Robinson, Kenza Hadj-Moussa, Ben Weiss, Alice Hausman, Cathryn Wellner, all my former interns, John Marty, John Lesch, Marcia Avner, Margo Hurrle, blue-haired Mary, Sam Glover, Monica Nilsson, Rick Podvin, Patrick Ness, Richard Sondah, all my friends at HOME Line, and scores of additional people.
6. Minnesotans United for all Families, the League of Women Voters, the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits, the Minnesota and National Coalitions for the Homeless, the Higher Education, Consortium for Urban Affairs, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and countless other organizations fighting for justice.
7. Gardens and nature.
8. Dark Chocolate
9. Progressives, activists, good parents, thoughtful people,
10. My wife and my puppy Carlos.

… I could keep going, but you get the picture. There are so many reasons to be hopeful.

    admin - January 14, 2012

    You’re so right, Michael. There’s no end to the list once we start naming the reasons for hope. Wonderful list – and thanks for including me. 🙂

Elizabeth Bastos - January 16, 2012

Daffodils before they bloom, when they are just green promises. Also ditto, Michael, dark chocolate. My kids playing together for more than half an hour without fighting, peace is possible, I think. Mothers. Soup in a big pot. Inviting people over. Being invited over to other people’s. Sharing recipes. Sharing favorite books. Having a favorite book and re-reading it, and changing your mind on which characters speak to you most.

If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Cicero

    admin - January 16, 2012

    I love your reasons for hope – and after scooting over to you blog I have one more source of delight. Your writing shines!

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