Vision of hope for the future …

DSC_1001The late and great Carl Sagan said: “The visions we offer our children shape the future. It matters what these visions are. Often they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Dreams are maps”.

I have a vision of hope for the future. It was a photograph I once saw of a man attempting to stop the slaughter of seals in Canada. The man was kneeling awkwardly on ice shielding a pure white baby seal within the cup of his bent-over body, and as he knelt doubled over on the hard frosted ice authorities were harassing him and attempting to arrest him for interfering in the brutal business of slaughtering seals. However, what made the photograph so heartbreakingly poignant was not the selfless act of protection itself, but the unmistakable intensity with which the man was sheltering the little seal. It was obvious that every fibre of his being was intent on keeping the baby seal alive, regardless of the cost to himself. And if one man could care so much for the fate of another living creature that he was willing to sacrifice himself for its protection, then other people must feel the same way. And therein lies, I believe, the hope for our world and ourselves in this century.

The man in the photograph was a Greenpeace activist and he may well have lost his David and Goliath struggle on that freezing day, with the bably seal meeting its fate at the end of a brutal club. However, the essence of the struggle as a metaphor for the saving of the natural world is the important issue here. For although the struggle was probably unsuccessful, which as a metaphor bodes ill, the fact that there was such an intense effort by such a determined man on behalf of another species, is where I believe hope lies. Because it is only by saving the natural world that we will ultimately save ourselves and history has shown that the resolute actions of one person can have the power to rally multitudes of people until a miracle has been accomplished. My vision of hope for the future lies in the fact that I believe miracles are well within our human repertoire.