If you read, watch or listen to the daily news – and most of us do – it can be hard to stay positive about the future. For me, this is especially true when it comes to environmental news. The intense storms of the last few weeks, the push-back against renewable energy sources and so much more. Earlier this year, I was invited to write a short essay on how Vermont might look in 25 years. It still bothers me that the first thoughts I put down were nothing but negative, negative, negative. I let the daily grind of bad news erode away my hopes for the future.

So, I have been shaking up my routine and looking for hidden treasures. The daily news is still in my routine, but I’m also making sure that I see more of the things that make life on this planet amazing. Research highlights in my inbox now jostle with pieces on the things real people are doing to make the world a better place. Technical articles pop up next to articles on the joy of a daily walk in your neighborhood of 30 years. I’m working to alternate the sci-fi I love, often dystopic and stark, with works that focus on joy and the wonder that can be found every day if you take the time to look.

I’m also stepping back from some of my commitments as others have crowded in. One of those is writing pieces for Wise About Water. After more than 10 years sharing water-related thoughts, it is time to let a new voice share their perspectives. This post will be my last. Thank you for reading along all these years as I explored and shared things that caught my eyes.

Someone, I can’t remember who among the many authors I read, noted that we shape the future by talking and dreaming about it. As I listen to and talk with others, I see this happening. Our conversations too often focus on the bad and the sad. I know I’m guilty of sharing gloom and doom almost every day. Let’s change that, shall we? Let’s find and share something every day that shows the world to be a place of wonder and our future full of hope.

White trillium flowering in the woods. Image: Angela Shambaugh

Treasure! An uncommon trillium seen in the woods this spring. Image: Angela Shambaugh

There is always a resource….

I have one immense resource to share with you that might help you kickstart those conversations and get you thinking about a more hopeful future. Paul Hawken has written a book and built a website called “Regeneration”. With other researchers and activists, he believes that we can create a better world for all and deal with climate change at the same time. He also believes we can do it within a decade. The book and the website lay out the many ways we are breaking natural cycles and processes around the planet. Gloom and doom, yes, but these folks also point you to the real people taking steps right now that lead to a better future. Some don’t resonate with me, but other perspectives get me thinking. All of them share hope for a future beautiful world. Take a look!

As I end this last post, I want to share a bit of wonder. There is a tiny wasp out there, the fairy wasp. Smaller than the size of the period at the end of this sentence, you’ll likely never notice it. Yet it has a big role to play in the world of growing plants for food. In the grand scheme of the world, we’re like this tiny wasp – not noticed much, but the collective outcome of our individual actions shape the world. Make your actions thoughtful ones!

Thanks for all you do for in the water world.