The Magic of Facing Reality and Choosing Active Hope

Active Hope is not wishful thinking.
Active Hope is not waiting to be rescued . . . . by some savior.
Active Hope is waking up to the beauty of life on whose behalf we can act.
We belong to this world.
The web of life is calling us forth at this time.
We’ve come a long way and are here to play our part.
With Active Hope we realize that there are adventures in store, strengths to discover, and comrades to link arms with.
Active Hope is a readiness to discover the strengths in ourselves and in others;
a readiness to discover the reasons for hope and the occasions for love.
A readiness to discover the size and strength of our hearts, our quickness of mind,
our steadiness of purpose, our own authority, our love for life, the liveliness of our curiosity,
the unsuspected deep well of patience and diligence,
the keenness of our senses, and our capacity to lead.

None of these can be discovered in an armchair or without risk.” ~

Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, Active Hope

When facing challenges, some people op for denial, some become really busy (disregarding whether their busy-ness would be more harmful than the issue they want to “fix”) and some struggle for months or even years, going around in circles and not knowing where to start. Meanwhile, the issues become bigger and more complex.

As Voltaire said: “Men argue. Nature acts.”

We are all a bit of all those reactions together, and those of us who become involved, struggle all the time with contradictory feelings: “am I doing enough?” “what if what I’m doing is useless?” “should I do this and not that instead?” but we keep going…

Many of us would choose simpler lives: I can at least speak for myself and say that many a time I think I would be much more comfortable if I just dedicate my time to work (after all, I work in social work and help a lot of people) and then relax in my own garden and with my children, my cats and dog: I love reading, hiking, camping…why am I investing so much time studying and attending meetings or pushing for community projects when sometimes that leaves me so exhausted and unable to enjoy my own family and friends? How long has it been that I don’t invite friends to my house? Watch a movie? Read a book just for fun?

But as author Arundhati Roy says: “The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”

In the past months, the roller-coaster has been huge, fast and furious: I have been thrown up, down and sideways by feelings of anger, despair, astonishment, inspiration, hope and compassion for what is happening in the world and also by watching what people are willing to sacrifice and do…

This beautifully written article woke up my intentionality about what Joanna Macy calls “active hope”: Get Apocalyptic: Why Radical is the New Normal. It was published in an excellent magazine I am subscribed to and that always report on wonderful things that are happening among all the odds: the resilient and life-oriented reaction of thousands of incredible people around the world.

And speaking about hope, this week I attended a presentation organized by Village Surrey. It does break my heart that these wonderful messages are not reaching more people (most of the time, is it the same group of people who I see attending these presentations). It is a humble but encouraging project the people at Cougar Creek Stream Keepers are doing, where Deborah Jones is the main “instigator”: thanks to her passion, North Delta has now 19 beautiful rain gardens, capturing the storm water, preventing flooding and allowing pollutants to be absorbed and transformed by plants and soil microorganisms instead of reaching the streams, killing fish and other water life. You can see their work here:

Next week, the group behind the new Ocean Park community garden (it doesn’t have a formal name yet) will have a fundraising and all are welcome to attend: the idea is to collect money so we can continue our work and start full garden operations on time for the upcoming spring season. This garden will have around 50 beds and will serve both the nearby school and the seniors and people with disabilities complex behind it. We will be delivering intergenerational workshops and tours so people can learn more about how to beautify their spaces, grow food by caring for the soils and ecosystems around them and enjoy real community.

You can check the fundraiser event here: or look at the info below:



I have small patience for those who like to focus just on collapse, depletion, pollution and all the horrible things we have been doing to our only home, our planet. I have much less patience for those who cherry pick the science or try to pass pseudo-science for true science just to make a point (whether their point is collapse or business as usual)

While I am truly hurt and feel desolated many times by how humanity has hijacked the entire planet, giving up or saying that those who do things are practicing denial or wishful thinking is (for me) intolerably cruel and even irresponsible and selfish…

I accept that my position makes me sometimes a loner: I am a “mainstream” middle age woman with a somewhat “regular” 9-5 job, with mortgage and bills and family commitments who tries to change a system that is trillions times bigger and stronger than me. I don’t belong among those who have chosen to live off the grid or outside the system, I don’t belong to those who can fully dedicate their lives to activism either, but I definitely don’t belong to mainstream “business-as-usual” meetings or lifestyle.

I may be a loner in my efforts, but I do suspect I am not the only one…

By strengthening our compassion, we give fuel to our courage and determination.” ~ Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone, Active Hope

5 Comments on “The Magic of Facing Reality and Choosing Active Hope

  1. No, you are not alone in your efforts or in your position. I too have a job and have no chance of living off the grid but want to do as much as I can to live a sustainable life.


  2. As my friend Charles said about New Consciousness, we are distinct but not seperate. I relate to you Silvia, in saying you may be a loner…. and you suspect right …. you are not alone. Lets keep up this good earth, toghether. Thanks for being where you are at, doing excatly what you are doing. I’ll never feel the same about Vancouver, knowing of the work and active hope you do and exemplify in the Lower Mainland. I appreciated the YES article link and read abit more while I was there. David korten, one of the founders, is one of my personal heroes. Take care Silvia 🙂 with love and peace – Bruce


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