OPINION: Dr Airdre Grant discusses the importance of maintaining hope even in the face of grimness.
OPINION: Dr Airdre Grant discusses the importance of maintaining hope even in the face of grimness. ThitareeSarmkasat

OPINION: Maintaining hope in the face of grimness

IN THESE treacherous times when governments are erecting walls, building restrictive legislation and firing water cannons against their people, it seems more important than ever to remember to be kind.

My recent encounter with the medical system and has shown me that kindness is abundant.

Of course I have come across plenty of insensitivity, careless cruelty and people who thought it was funny to imitate my limp and laugh at my fears (take a concrete pill! harden up!) but on the whole I have been treated with generous and loving support from friends, strangers and healthcare professionals.

We need more of this.

Much, much more.

And don't we need it in our leaders?

The Prime Minster of New Zealand Jacinda Arden said words to effect of "empathy and kindness can drive social change and these are more than sentiments these are tools.”

It is my wish that our political leaders demonstrate compassion, wisdom and love for their citizens and their country, instead of working to a manipulative agenda driven by economic models that disempower communities, build fear and see the environment as something to utilise in the name of 'growth'?

I just don't get why we are told we need growth, growth, growth at the expense of everything else?

What about stronger, healthy, respected and respected communities where the natural environment is seen as precious and important (rather than an as yet untapped resource).

The clumsy and brutal deportation of a Sri Lankan family, the intransigence of the Minister, the drying up of the rivers, the pressure of the drought, the ceaseless deluge of plastic, the potential collapse of the Great Barrier Reef - well, it all gets too much.

I begin to wonder why I even bother my pathetic little recycling activities, and if I should completely give up watching the news, (as so many of my friends say they have done).

And then I think about what Jacinda said:

'Empathy and kindness are tools' and I renew my commitments in the face of all the gloom.

I have to.

The choice that or give up on the world.

I can't do that, for my children and grandchildren.

And the world.

So, here it is: I will pray for rain, play nice, overlook casual cruelties and keep up with the recycling.

It's going to take some effort.

As I said, no choice but to keep striving.

So, excuse me now, I have to go and do some ethical, local shopping with my portable shopping bags.

A drop in the ocean but a drop nonetheless.

It's all I have.