“Hope just means another world might be possible, not promised, not guaranteed. Hope calls for action; action is impossible without hope.”
(Rebecca Solnit: Hope in the Dark)

The Thriving Planet group at Snook meets every week, to develop our practice in working sustainably and to share things we’ve found useful and inspiring. It can be easy to feel paralysed by things like the IPCC reports and some world leaders’ continued unwillingness to commit to targets. But giving up isn’t an option. As designers (and fellow earth dwellers!) we can all do our bit to generate hope and galvanise action.

This is a brief list of things to watch, read and share that we’ve found recently. In a world of confusing information and frightening news, we want to promote the power of positive action, the belief that our actions matter and foster hope for a better future.

a photo of Matthew Taylor onstage taken from the video 'The Power to Act'

Video: Matthew Taylor ‘The Power to Act’ 

Principal Service Designer Tom White recommended we watch this talk hosted by The Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. It’s half an hour well spent – setting out how we come to feel disempowered and how important it is that we fight this tendency and regain our sense of agency in the world.

Top banner of the online blog The Marginilian. Under the title there's a subtitle that reads Hope, Cynicism, and the Stories we tell ourselves' then a quote: 'Critical thinking without hope is cynicism. Hope without critical thinking is naivete.'

Blog: Maria Popova: ‘Hope, Cynicism, and the Stories We Tell Ourselves’

Luca Piallini (who’s also one of the service design team) shared this article about the need balance in the news and storytelling we consume.
The fact is, bad news is already ‘stickier’. We need to actively work on counterbalancing our brain’s natural tendency to retain negative information longer by consuming information that fosters hope and action.

Jamil Zaki onstage with the TED talks logo behind him

Video: Jamil Zaki: How to escape the cynicism trap

More on cynicism and how to fight it in this TED talk from psychologist Jamil Zaki. He presents fascinating research findings that make the scientific case for optimism and shows us how to break out of the cynicism trap.

a photograph of the magazine 'Positive News'. The cover illustration shows people building words that say 'Together we will thrive'

Magazine: Positive News

Our creative content writer, Melissa Gates always recommends reading Positive News to anyone who’s sliding into cynicism and despair about the future. It does what it says on the tin. A source of reliable information about initiatives and advances that inspire hope. If you follow them on Instagram you can click through to stories in the bio. And you can subscribe and get a real magazine posted to you (printed on recycled paper of course).

Film: Don’t Look Up

A couple of months ago we had a lively discussion about the film Don’t Look Up – to quote director Adam McKay ‘ a big, ridiculous comedy about two scientists trying to warn the world that a death comet is going to hit.’ It got very mixed responses! And it’s been noted, that despite all the media furore, very little has happened in the wake of it. This is a great interview with the director where he explores his motivations, influences and commitment to driving hope. 

“You know, you can take the red or the blue pill in The Matrix. Well, some people just take the black pill, which is ‘everything is cynical, everything’s a lie’. And that may be the most destructive road we could ever go down.”

a photo of a young woman blowing dandelion seeds from her hand

Article: Cara Buckley: ‘‘OK Doomer’ and the Climate Advocates Who Say It’s Not Too Late’

In this article, Cara Buckley –  a Pulitzer-winning climate reporter with the New York Times – reports on a recent investigation on social media focused on the trend of climate doom-ism, the notion that it’s too late to turn things around. Her journey revealed an incredibly diverse and vital community of influencers using their platforms to flip the hope narrative to focus on rallying individual action and concrete solutions.

“Underneath doomer-ism and hope-ism is the question of ‘Are we going to win?’…That’s premature at this point. We need to ask ourselves if we’re going to try. We don’t know ’til we try if we’re going to win. Whether or not we do, it will still have been worth it.”

We want to hear from you

Snook’s commitment to a better future for people and planet is written in our DNA. We regularly discuss what happens in the world and how design can make the sustainable thing the best thing. 

We’re using this knowledge to help big clients consider the environment at every step and combining our end-to-end expertise to boost smaller companies and build more sustainable services through our Spotlight program.

We’re in the business of change. And we know that together we can make a better world. One where people and planet can thrive together.

If you’re thinking about the impact of your business and believe in a better future, get in touch.