“Hope springs eternal in the human breast.” (Alexander Pope, 1733) – “It is human nature always to find fresh cause for optimism.” (https://bit.ly/4160bMI)
If true, this is indeed an invaluable protective genetic endowment for our species, and a much needed built-in source of vitality we may call upon for navigating these (still, ever?) volatile, unpredictable, complex and unsettling times.
Happily, it is also springtime – which many an artist calls the season of renewal and hope.
Certainly, we humans all need hope to survive, thrive, persevere, and lift our spirits. Whether from within or externally.
We would not be the first to remind, it is there for the asking, freely, if only we can remember to make a moment in life’s busyness, stop, and truly witness Nature’s bounty and beauty “unfurling” in our very midst.
Photo credit Lucia
We offer a few ‘spring quotes’ from the Internet, to inspire and perhaps encourage us all to get outside more often for a free Spring hope boost —
Harriet Ann Jacobs
“The beautiful spring came, and when nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.”
Lady Bird Johnson
“Where flowers bloom so does hope.”
“The first blooms of spring always make my heart sing.”
“Nothing ever seems impossible in spring, you know.”
“Happiness? The color of it must be spring green.”
Photo credit Lucia
Rainer Maria Rilke
“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
Edwin Way Teale
“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”
Spring Quotes: https://bit.ly/2OdVHzQ
This Earth Day – Signs of Hope
Lucia and I were reflecting recently that when we began our Friends4Trees4Life blog just at the start of the pandemic over three years ago, many weeks it was a challenge to find much of anything in the news being reported on about climate action, let alone articles and research presenting positive, hopeful news on the topic.
If available at all, they were either doom and gloom, hectoring and hand-wringing kinds of pieces, or, the opposite case – climate change denial reporting. And so, we set about researching, to inform ourselves and to share what we were learning.
We were motivated, in part, to be a source of optimism and hope for youth in particular, without being pollyannish.
We all need hope. After all, it is important and essential to sustain our spirits and efforts for the long haul – climate change is such a big, complex, multi-level and often daunting behemoth of a global threat, hard to apprehend in whole. Decades ahead of commitment, hard work, innovation, investment, negotiation, trade-offs, adaptation and behaviour change in order to solve. Essential to our futures. Yet, where to start? Where to focus? How can any one person (or two co-blogging friends 😊) possibly make a difference and dent on such a beast? Our response – plant a tree.
Photo credit Lucia
We chose trees as our singular focus and immediate place to start– the healing lungs and carbon sinks of the world. One tangible action to make a difference, that most anyone may do today – plant or gift a tree. And so we began our climate action and blogging learning journeys together.
Three years on, we are happy to report from our perch that the world is now awash in climate action news, and news on climate ACTION. Daily! Mainstream fare and no longer a challenge to find. This is good news to us and hopeful, even as we recognize that so much more work remains to be done on a global scale for tackling climate change.
Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute, shares a similar view – that the first step in solving any big problem “is to have the audacity to match it with an even bigger solution,” as he writes in his opinion piece for the Toronto Star on “Signs of Hope this Earth Day”.
Even as he acknowledges that “(p)roducing sustained global efforts to reduce (greenhouse gas) emissions has proved a tough nut to crack,” Smith shares why on this Earth Day 2023, he is actually “feeling pretty hopeful.”
Two signs of hope and “big nutcrackers” in his view are, the fact that the global community is cranking up the scale of solutions for biodiversity – the “30 by 30” international commitment, and, accelerating the scale of action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions – the “Net Zero by 2050” international commitment.
In his piece, we learn that “…190 nations recently agreed to protect 30 per cent of the Earth’s surface by 2030. This is a stunning escalation of ambition, and a usefully giant nutcracker.”
And, that, “(a)s of today, more than 70 countries covering 76 per cent of global emissions and 90 per cent of global GDP have formally committed to Net Zero by 2050.”
The world is acting with big solutions on tough nuts, and this “..should be the cause of some Earth Day hope and optimism for the road ahead.” For the full piece, Rick Smith, President, Canadian Climate Institute: https://bit.ly/3HHX1rA
Photo credit Lucia
Saskatoon Net Zero by 2050
Connecting the concept of “Net Zero by 2050,” to action closer to home here in Canada, this April 2023 CBC piece profiles that,
“A City of Saskatoon committee is recommending that council toughen its target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
“On Tuesday, the city’s environment, utilities and corporate services committee approved a recommendation in a report that says the city should aim to be net-zero in its operations by 2050.” (CBC: https://bit.ly/416R4vd)
Canadian Climate Institute
We appreciate and find inspiration and hope in the vision and mission statement of this climate change research organization and registered charity.
“We help shape sound public policies that enable all Canadians to thrive in the face of climate change and advance a net-zero future.”
“Our vision is ambitious but achievable: Canadians acting together on climate solutions to foster resilient communities, prosperous economies, and more just societies—sustainable for generations to come.” https://bit.ly/44xjvWg
For the website for the Canadian Climate Institute, and access to its reports such as, The Big Switch to Clean Energy: Powering Canada’s Net Zero Future, and, Annual Report 2022-23: https://bit.ly/44tcXb3
Great Horned Owlets in Edmonton April 2023 Photo credit Lucia
BBC How to Talk to Young People about Climate Change
Young people especially need and are deserving of hope for their futures. They are looking to adults, whose collective behaviours created this global threat, for signs of hope and leadership on climate change.
This short (3 minute) BBC YouTube videoclip reminds us that climate change anxiety is very real, underscoring the importance of hope and respectful communication with young people about climate action.
One of the worse things an adult can quip is “…well, it’s your responsibility now; your generation will fix it.” Sadly, one statistic cited in the clip is that 46% of the youth surveyed felt unheard or not taken seriously by adults when they expressed their concerns and fears about climate change. The vast majority of responding youth are affected emotionally and report climate change as “frightening”.
https://bit.ly/414DgBC (3 minutes approximately)
Photo credit Lucia
Spurring Action Through Hope
Scientist Katharine Hayhoe speaks with Matt Galloway in this CBC The Current podcast about how ‘climate change fear can be paralyzing, but you can spur action through hope.’
“Katharine Hayhoe said that people might think addressing climate change is the work of politicians or CEOs, but ‘the reality is we all have something to contribute.’ “
“People may feel paralyzed by the UN’s latest stark warning on climate change, but real action can come from meeting that fear with hope, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe.”
” ‘Real hope’ involves being ‘convinced that there is a better future possible if we do everything we can to get there,”’said Hayhoe, a professor in the department of political science at Texas Tech University, and chief scientist for the non-profit organization Nature United.”
” ‘The science shows — and this IPCC report shows — that the solutions are at hand and our choices matter,” she told The Current’s Matt Galloway.”
Photo credit Lucia
(Matt Galloway: If people … hear about this report, they hear that language and they either think, ‘Well, I’ve heard this before,’ or ‘It’s all too difficult and I don’t know what to do about it.’ … How would you reach those people who pull back at that language but also pull back at the scale of the effort that’s going to be needed to address the crisis? )
Hayhoe: “I wouldn’t be surprised if people did pull back because fear often paralyzes us. It causes us to freeze rather than take action, especially the type of action that requires much more sustained investment.”
“It’s not about running away from the bear, it’s about changing the entire foundation of our society as quickly as possible in order to ensure our own survival. And that doesn’t just take fear. That takes hope. And what is hope? Hope is not, ‘Oh, if I just bury my head in the sand, everything will be fine.’ “
CBC Radio · Posted: Mar 21, 2023 https://bit.ly/3p7A3Uu
Hopeful Garden and Tree Quotes
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.”
Photo Credit Lucia
“All the flowers of all the tomorrows are in the seeds of today.”
“Happiness held is the seed. Happiness shared is the flower.”
Spring Quotes: https://bit.ly/3LUrcyi
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
Nelson Henderson (https://bit.ly/3AWjXQf)
One Tree Planted – Projects
Biodynamics – Raise a Glass of ‘Feel Good’ Cheer
Living apart, Lucia in Edmonton, and Catherine in Toronto, we look forward eagerly to the rare opportunities to visit with each other in person. Often times, we might enjoy sharing a meal and raising a glass of good cheer together in friendship and celebration. Now that we are learning about Biodynamics in wine-making, we are looking forward to our next visit and toast together even more– this time with Carbon Neutral wine – who knew?!
We plan on toasting with a Gerard Bertrand wine, whose 17 estates are all certified after a 20-year commitment, and on path to be ‘certified Carbon Neutral by 2024.”
We are just starting to learn about Organic, Biodynamic and Sustainable farming – The Drinks Business Green Awards is one source of profiles on viticulturalists leading the change for a better, sustainable future, with tasty, “guilt-free” wines! (https://bit.ly/42mHIww)
The LCBO’s Food and Drink website offers a good place to start learning and exploring, with a primer on the difference between organic, biodynamic and sustainable certification. https://bit.ly/3Vxtbf4
These excerpts offer a “flavour” of what you will find —
“In wine regions around the world, eco-minded producers are adopting organic, sustainable and biodynamic practices and proving that green is good for the planet and your palate.”
Napa Valley before the wildfires Photo credit Lucia
“Wineries don’t go “green” on a whim; the expense and time demanded when adhering to organic, biodynamic and sustainable viticulture regulations is considerable, but the payoff is a legacy of environmental and economic viability encapsulated in wines of the highest possible quality.”
“Biodynamic and organic winemaking follow a similar approach. For example, chemical or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides and fungicides aren’t permitted in either. However, biodynamics takes organic practices to their highest levels. Biodynamics cares for the vineyard as a single organism, emphasizing biodiversity and taking a holistic view of the land and the creatures and plants on it. It’s tuned to astrological influences and lunar cycles, with planting, pruning and harvesting determined by, and coordinated with, the phases of the moon.”
“Sustainable winemaking takes an even broader approach than organic or biodynamic winemaking, though many producers practice all three. The overarching philosophy here is to create the best wines possible while striving for economic viability and social responsibility, all in an ecologically responsible manner that ensures a positive environmental legacy. Sustainability looks beyond the needs of individual vineyards to the employees, communities and even people who visit the winery. Not surprisingly, many of the practices overlap with organic and biodynamic farming; the use of integrated pest management, cover crops, composting, recycling, the preservation of local ecosystems and wildlife habitats, and water and energy conservation are all key elements of a sustainable approach.”
Each Spring, Catherine looks forward to neighbourhood walks in hopes of catching her favourite tree in bloom – the yellow magnolia. Enjoy this year’s “sighting”!
Photo credit Catherine
It seems to make everybody happy, you know…..
Finally, we leave you with a smile, sharing this CBC piece on “Victoria’s teacup tea brimming with beauty – and inspiration – in spring”. As the tree owner, Rory, says in the piece – “It seems to make everybody happy, you know.” (CBC- https://bit.ly/3AVjVYN)
Happy Spring To All!
Sam Cooke, “That’s Heaven to Me”
“A little flower that blooms in May / A lovely sunset at the end of the day / Someone helping a stranger along the way / That’s heaven to me.” https://bit.ly/3LUrcyi
Photo credit Russ