Hope in the Discussion of Climate Change

360 by bike

When people talk about climate change, they talk about hope. They discuss prospects, ifs thens, and perceived inevitabilities. In the end or from the very beginning the chatter settles around two questions, asked as synonyms:

Do you have hope?

Are you hopeful?

Around two months ago I was couchsurfing with a woman in Guilin (桂林), one of the backpacker centers of China. It had been a long afternoon of tea and hot sun. Around evening two other couchsurfers returned to the apartment. They were brothers from Germany. The smaller one, who somehow seemed the elder of the two, had studied public policy for a semester in Beijing, and he and I began talking about 360bybike and his work. Eventually he popped the question.

Are you hopeful?

he asked, meaning

Do you have hope?

It happens on occasion with new acquaintances, that a whole conversation winds around a central difference of perspective. Hidden…

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