A Brief Note of Thanks, Why Jeffrey James is a prisoner of Hope, plus the Global Footprint Network.
A Brief Note of Thanks, Why Jeffrey James is a Prisoner of Hope, The Global Footprint Network
BRIEF NOTE OF THANKS
A big thank you to the Stubblefield Institute for inviting me to participate in their American Conversation Series: “US Climate Change Policy: Who Pays, Us or Our Children” this past Monday night.
Really enjoyed the insight of fellow panelists, Danny Richter, VP of Government Affairs at Citizen’s Climate Lobby and Sean Kevelighan, President and CEO the Insurance Information Institute. We were moderated by the brilliant and ebullient Sarah Isgur, and Greg Fields, Acting Director Stubblefield Institute for Civil Political Communications, and his team, for making it all happen. You can find it on the Stubblefield institute’s FB page.
THE GLOBAL FOOTPRINT NETWORK
It’s been said in one way or another, “What gets measured gets done.” Global Footprint Network is an international non-profit organization that promotes a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a tool that makes human demand on nature measurable.
This is one way for individuals and small companies to meaningfully measure their eco-impact and from that, make changes. Like a carbon disclosure project, but for the rest of us. Or as the GFN likes to say, “Measure what you treasure.”
The Ecological Footprint was created by Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees in the early 1990s as part of Wackernagel’s PhD research at the University of British Columbia. Over the years, the Ecological Footprint concept has grown and the term “footprint” has become synonymous with human behavior and its impact. From 2003 to 2018, Global Footprint Network calculated the Ecological Footprints and biocapacity of countries for each year that UN data has been available.
Over the years, data from the National Footprint and Biocapacity Accounts has been included in reports by organizations like the World-Wide Fund for Nature, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), UN Environment, and the European Environment Agency.
Why does the Ecological Footprint matter to us? It’s become one of the most widely used policy metrics in the world and is the only tool that comprehensively measures human demand on the planet against what the planet can supply.
Also, given that humans use as many ecological resources as if we lived on almost 2 Earths, it’s vital we have a universal tool with which to measure our consumption against Earth’s capacity for biological regeneration.
DEEPER DIVE: Global Footprint Network
WHY I’M “A PRISONER OF HOPE,” BY JEFFREY JAMES
Going to take a brief moment to give a big thank you to the Stubblefield Institute for inviting me to participate in their American Conversation Series: “US Climate Change Policy: Who Pays, Us or Our Children” this past Monday night.
Dr. Bill Stubblefield asked the last question of the evening: whether if we could go back in time, if we do the same thing or would we change the way we communicate climate change in a way to be effective. I gave my answer in that moment
Upon reflection, here is also what I think. 98% of all stories on climate change are gloom and doom, according to many surveys, which is overwhelming. It not only causes division, it also, more importantly causes paralysis and overwhelm.
We started The Climate because I wanted to do something to move the needle even the tiniest bit on climate change so that my worst fears wouldn’t come to pass. That’s why we focus specifically on stories of strength, hope and courage. Positive stories that are reality-based and solutions-oriented because those are the kind of stories that give hope; stories that bridge what I call the Hope Gap—the abyss between the despair people feel around climate change and an imagined future with solutions worth fighting for.
Should we contemplate turning back time? No. We are where we are. And where we are is in the midst of the beginning of the era of Climate Change. No more time for wishful thinking. It’s time for us all to be here now, in this present moment. It’s time to embrace this reality and It’s time to join me–and the other 1,300 plus people and organizations we’ve reported on–in looking forward– with hope– to an imagined future worth fighting for.
I know some of you out there will counter, “But Hope is not a strategy,” to which I say nay nay! And here’s why:
The great American philosopher Cornel West once spoke on the difference between hope and optimism. He said, “Optimism tends to be based on the notion that there’s enough evidence out there to believe things are gonna be better. Much more rational, deeply secular. Whereas Hope looks at the evidence and says, ‘It doesn’t look good at all. Doesn’t look good at all. Gonna go beyond the evidence to create new possibilities based upon visions that become contagious, to allow people to engage in heroic actions, always against the odds, with no guarantee whatsoever.’
Going beyond the evidence to create new possibilities…you know what that sounds like to me? Making a plan. Creating a strategy. That’s why when I hear people say, “Hope is not a strategy,” I say Hope is a strategy—because it’s going beyond the evidence to create new possibilities and visions that become contagious, to allow people to engage in heroic actions, always against the odds, with no guarantee whatsoever.
That’s Hope. And that’s why I’m a prisoner of Hope. Just like all the great people and organizations on whom we’ve reported and will continue to report. Just like you fabulous listeners of our podcast, thanks ot you, I’m a prisoner of Hope. Thank you for being prisoners of hope. And thank you Dr. Stubblefield for inspiring this reflection.