Liz Cunningham: True Hope is Like True Love

Posted by – November 30, 2016
Categories: Guest Post

I’ve been thinking a lot about hope this past week. Like so many, I’ve been asking, Where is the hope in this? And asking myself if the hope I write and speak about still holds.

My answer to both questions is yes. I’ve been realizing something though—slowly, like the roots of potato plants growing underground, hidden from view: true hope is like true love.

There are many kinds of love—flaccid, delusional, obsessive, violent even. But then there’s the Golden Fleece: true love. True hope is like true love. It evolves when the going gets rough, or worse yet, circumstances seem impossible. It’s in those moments that hope, like love, strengthens.

Like true love, true hope involves risk. There’s no “satisfaction guaranteed.” Fact is, people risk their lives for love. And we know this is one of the noblest actions.

The parallels keep coming: true hope is one of the most powerful and beautiful expressions of the human heart. There can be moments when we live it out through our actions, when we find the capacity to transform ourselves and the world we live in. In those moments, it’s an expression of our deepest life force. And in that sense, we share this with so many other creatures that inhabit the world. What’s an animal doing when they protect their young or their territory? They know, “There is something I can do.” And they do it. Whether it’s Islamophobia, racism, ocean conservation, or climate change, there are so many things we can do—and we need to do them. And do them more. And strengthen our determination to do them. And do it together as communities.

Here are some articles I’ve been reading that I recommend for more ideas:

We Need Hope That’s Gritty and Grounded” by Omid Safi

All is Not Lost on Climate Change” by Eric Holthaus

A 12-Step Program for Responding to President-Elect Trump” by Nicholas Kristof

The Election: Of Hate, Grief, and a New Story” by Charles Eisenstein

And the book Act of Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone, is all the more relevant to our times.

Article originally posted on

Tags: Liz Cunningham
About the Author

Liz Cunningham’s mission is to inspire and empower others to join the effort to forge a sustainable and more just future. She writes and speaks to audiences about conservation and the traits we need to be effective stewards of our earth. She is the author of the award-winning book Ocean Country: One Woman’s Voyage from Peril to Hope in Her Quest to Save the Seas and Talking Politics: Choosing the President in the Television Age (Greenwood Publishing Group, 1995). She is active as a public speaker in schools, universities, community-based conservation events, and at large public venues such as the Commonwealth Club, the New England Aquarium, and the New York Times Building. More information about Cunningham’s work is available at