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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Hopeful Fiesta

Air Date: Week of December 22, 1995

Living on Earth hosts a "virtual reality" holiday party where "guests" discuss why they are hopeful about environmental improvements in the year ahead.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Well you caught me. I'm having a little sip and a bite now because hey, it's Living on Earth's virtual holiday party!

ROCKEFELLER: Hi. I'm Ina Jaffie Rockefeller.

FRENCH: Hi, my name's Hillary French. I work with World Watch Institute in Washington.

ANDERSON: I'm Nancy Anderson. I'm 73 years old.

CURWOOD: Hey Nancy! Hey Hillary! Abby!

(Music plays: "Come Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen")

CURWOOD: Things are a little bit thin this year, okay? You know, with austerity? So we weren't able to throw a real party. But radio is magic, right? And we've brought some of the people we've talked to through the year into one room.

(Ice clinks)

CURWOOD: Now, there's plenty of champagne and eggnog and hors d'oeuvres, if you use your imagination. And believe it or not we've got some good cheer. I know, that's kind of surprising for a bunch of activists and policy makers and writers. They spend most of their time grousing about toxic sludge, pesticides, holes in the ozone layer and burning rainforests. Between you and me, they could be a pretty dull bunch. But actually I see lots of smiles.

WOMAN 1: Well what gives me hope is that I spend my time, really all my time, with people all over the world who are working for the world for nature, for the ability of people to have a good life in balance with nature. And they're doing everything. And they're farming, doing new energy systems, designing cities, new transport.

CURWOOD: Hm, is it the punch or is it that we asked them to talk about hope? Okay, maybe so. But these folks do genuinely seem upbeat.

WOMAN 2: And the good news is, there's zillions of ideas out there. There's immense creativity. In every country I've ever looked there are people who are working on this. That's what gives me hope.

MAN 1: There is a whole new class of people emerging that feel a sense of global citizenship. Feel a sense of global connection.

ABBY: I'm known as the person who brought the clivus multrum composting toilet to the United States from Sweden in 1973. When I first did it I would say people laughed or giggled at the very mention of this idea. People do not laugh now.

CURWOOD: Don't look at me -- I'm not laughing, Abby. Let's squeeze past this bowl of melon balls and go over to that corner. Hey, isn't that Lauren Dillie Platt of Citizens Against Pesticide Spraying? Uh oh, she's not eating the cucumbers. You look pretty energetic tonight; what keeps you going?

PLATT: When I find out what other people have done, and the changes that they have brought about because they had a conviction about something, it inspires me to do the same thing.

MAN 2: I think we're moving to an era in which we are creating a whole new kind of global human intelligence.

WOMAN 3: Well there certainly is a growth in grassroots environmental movements around the world, which again is very encouraging because it points to the fact that a demand for strength in environmental policy is something that's really coming from within societies.

WOMAN 4: I think it was Margaret Mead that said something to the effect of, you know, if you don't as a single individual try to effect change, then it simply won't happen at all. And part of what it takes is one person to start it. And I think that you just have to continue; you never win, and so someone says you never win. However, if you continue to fight, you will hold the line, which is the important thing. And what happens is, as you're trying to institute change and you're trying to get a point across, you make all these friends. And everything kind of starts to come together, and it kind of gets woven together. And you end up with this just very rich kind of tapestry of people and organizations that are working towards one common goal.

(More music and mingling)

CURWOOD: Hm. If this were real champagne I'd think it gone to their heads, but it's not even a real party! (Laughs) Maybe it's the imaginary munchies, who knows? Anyway, over there by the crudites, there's that writer, Sy Montgomery, stuffing her face. Sy, swallow those potato chips and tell us what makes you hopeful.

MONTGOMERY: What makes me hopeful? Oh -- kids have raised all this money to buy land in South America, to preserve land that regular adults don't seem to be capable of taking care of.

MAN 3: I feel hope whenever I see my sons Erin and Benjamin feeling hopeful themselves. I know that in some way, the worst apocalyptic fears that I have had looking at global environmental problems, those dark endings will not come to pass.

MAN 4: I wanted so much to figure out how to protect the recovery that was going on in our woods, because I felt very strongly that surge of hope. Hope that the future could be as rich in some ways as the past. Hope that my daughter might grow up where I live and hear a wolf howling there some day.

MAN 5: Much of the richness of our evolutionary heritage is damaged, and much is going. But at the same time, much of life will continue with us or without us, and it's there for us to see and enjoy.

CURWOOD: Yeah. And L'chaim. Salud. Sehat. Nasdrovia. Cheers. (Glasses clink) Here's to a hopeful and sustaining New Year.

 

 

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