Hope? A Letter to a Young Ally by Carolyn Raffensperger

raffenspergerOver the years I’ve had many young people come up to me and ask how I do this environmental work without collapsing in despair.  They are acutely aware of how desperate the situation is.  They doubt that the rain forest or ocean or jaguar will be salvageable by the time they are able to dedicate their full gifts to the cause.  I’ve even had some students ask why they shouldn’t accelerate the destruction and put the Earth out of her misery.

Many friends and colleagues have written about hope.  Derrick Jensen, Rebecca Solnit, Paul Hawken, and Wendell Berry have all said interesting, wise things about hope, pessimism, and optimism. I am grateful for their thoughtful contributions.  They have informed my thinking on the problem of hope.  And it is a problem because of the avalanche of bad news.

I received a letter a couple of weeks ago from a young woman named Jennifer asking me to write a letter about hope to her friend Kyra.  Here is her query and my response.

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Premiere of the new Global Spirit program: SACRED ECOLOGY

e91faba5-9d43-4d32-bb28-bb1a52110744Sunday, July 13,  6:00pm PT / 9:00pm ET
with Joanna Macy and Dr. Michael Tobias.

The program will be streamed globally at  www.GlobalSpirit.tv  and broadcast nationally in the US on satellite channel Link TV
[DIRECTV Ch 375 | DISH Network Ch 9410]

Following the program premiere, tune in for a LIVE WEBCAST  where you can join the conversation with the program guests, send comments and ask questions.

Please watch program excerpts HERE and submit your questions or comments in advance to  info@cemproductions.org.

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Initiating/Facilitating a WTR Workshop

Initiating/Facilitating a Work that Reconnects Workshop or Group in Your Community Revolving Around the Book Active Hope. Notes from a Conversation with Claire Maitre, Work that Reconnects Facilitator, Ann Arbor, Michigan.


How did you get involved in the Work that Reconnects?


After I took my first workshop with Joanna Macy, I knew my life had begun again. Since the year 2000, I have participated in about 5 Intensive workshops with Joanna, including a Facilitator Training. I knew I wanted to facilitate this work, but it took a while to build my confidence and then get it going in my community. I wanted a co-facilitator before I began, but didn’t have one in my community.  This was the source of much delay on my part!  I’m not a “natural” when it comes to putting myself in front of a group of strangers.  I’ve had to get passed significant inner resistance.  My passion for WTR and my love of this world won out! Read More


Joanna Macy at Evergreen 2014