Hope is Just a Four-Letter Word

Summer 2023

Embrace the Power of Hope in the Battle Against Climate Change!

Introduction – In the battle against climate change, it is important to recognise that anger and fear have their place and many of us feel that way every day. But above all, it is hope that can truly propel us toward a sustainable future. While anger and fear are powerful emotions, they burn hot and fast (ironically just like fossil fuels), often leading to abrupt or short-lived responses. In contrast, hope offers longevity and resilience, allowing us to overcome obstacles and inspire collective action. This piece explores the transformative power of hope in the fight against climate change, highlighting its ability to unite, motivate, and create positive change and ultimately concluding why it’s the weapon of choice at Oxygen Conservation.

Nature of Anger and Fear – Whilst I know anger and fear are very different emotions, they are so often used together when thinking about what we’ve done to the natural world. I will use both almost interchangeably here. Anger and fear are intense (and understandable) emotions that can ignite powerful reactions. However, much like fossil fuels, they tend to burn out quickly, leaving us drained and unable to sustain long-term efforts. These negative emotions are also unpleasant to carry, such that our biology often seeks to shed them, leading to a temporary motivation rather than a lasting commitment or drive for change. Hope, on the other hand, offers endurance and perseverance, allowing us to navigate the challenges of climate change with a sense of possibility and optimism.

From Stopping to Inspiring – Anger and fear are often associated with a desire to stop or prevent certain actions or behaviours – very much a feature of the Just Stop Oil campaigners. While this is crucial in addressing climate change, and of course we need to stop the use of fossil fuels, hope is what takes us a step further by inspiring action and innovation. Hope creates an atmosphere of possibility, encouraging us to imagine and create more sustainable and regenerative solutions. Instead of focusing solely on what needs to be stopped, hope motivates us to think about what can be achieved, driving us towards positive change and a brighter future – think about the transformative impact of Tesla in the electrification of vehicles and the effect that has on the wider industry.

Unifying Power of Hope – Anger and fear can be divisive, pushing people away and limiting collaboration. In contrast, hope unites and inspires collective action. When we share a sense of hope, we can come together, form alliances, and work towards common goals. Hope transcends boundaries and encourages individuals, communities, and nations to collaborate, as well as pool resources, knowledge, and efforts to address the complex challenges of climate change and the biodiversity crisis. By fostering a shared sense of hope, we can create a global movement for sustainability, amplifying our impact to find a future for this and the next generation.

Endurance of Hope – Motivation fuelled by anger or fear is often temporary. It lacks the resilience needed to sustain long-term action. Hope, however, has the power to endure, in many ways just like renewable energy. It becomes part of our identity, shaping our beliefs, values, actions, and collaborations. By cultivating hope, we create a lasting commitment to positive change, persevering even when faced with setbacks or slow progress. Hope inspires continuous learning, adaptation, and growth, driving us toward a sustainable and regenerative future.

Choosing Hope – In a world filled with reasons to be angry and scared about the state of our planet, some believe that talking about, never mind choosing, hope becomes a radical and courageous act. We believe in talking about a positive future, about being the world’s first unicorn-focused conservation company, knowing that if we achieve this goal, we will have helped create a whole natural capital ecosystem that cannot fail to produce a more regenerative way of life.

By embracing hope, we hope to inspire others to do the same, fostering a collective mindset that empowers individuals and communities to take action. Choosing hope does not mean ignoring the challenges we face, nor never being angry or scared; it means believing that change is possible and knowing that our actions matter in achieving that change.

At Oxygen Conservation – Every day at Oxygen Conservation gives us hope in so many different ways. The incredible people we’ve been able to attract to support our ambition to Scale Conservation, both experienced professionals and perhaps even more excitingly the talented new generation of environmental professional who astound me with their knowledge, creativity and passion. The scale of investment we’ve been able to mobilise thanks to an amazing group of investors; and the multiple offers of additional, transformation investment wanting to help deliver change at a landscape scale. Then there is the interest, positivity, support and recognition we’ve attracted from so many individuals and groups helps demonstrate the power of momentum and continues to build hope!

Conclusion – We believe hope is our most potent weapon in the battle against climate change. While anger and fear have their roles in highlighting the urgency of the crisis, it is hope that sustains our motivation, unites us in collective action, and paves the way for a sustainable future. Hope offers endurance, resilience, and inspiration, allowing us to envision a world where humanity and the environment thrive together.

By choosing hope, we reject the notion of helplessness and embrace the power of individual and collective agency to build a more resilient and regenerative world for ourselves and for future generations.

It’s your choice, but we choose hope!


Rich Stockdale
Founder & Managing Director