Whether it's climate or another issue, you don't have to feel hope to be motivated to keep fighting for what you believe in. Find something that pushes you to do what is right even when the future looks bleak. Maybe even especially when the future looks bleak.
Oddly enough, I found the above passage*, written by first-year Stockholm University student and organizer in the Fridays for Future climate movement, Isabelle Axelson, so freeing, that it actually made me feel more energized, and paradoxically perhaps, even a bit more hopeful.
Because hope (defined by Wikipedia as being an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one's life or the world at large) is something I don't really have. Not in terms of seeing a vastly improved world for animals within my lifetime, that is. And that, I believe, held me back. Almost as if I thought hope was a prerequisite for being an effective advocate, and that if I didn't feel hopeful, there wouldn't be much use in trying.
Well, forget that! Feeling hopeless doesn't preclude taking action. Take Bill 156 (as in please, take it and throw it away), an awful piece of "ag-gag" legislation that will have its final vote tomorrow. I wrote about it to my local MPP, not because I'm hopeful they'll change their mind (it was touted as an accomplishment in their spring update), but to at least let them know that not every constituent agrees. Same thing in the follow-up email I sent to their canned reply.
Also wrote a letter to the editor of the local paper (unfortunately not yet published, if ever it will be) appealing to readers to contact their MPP as well. Again, not hopeful of results as such, but wanting to be on the record that not everyone agrees. If this bill passes, it will not be without vocal opposition, or I expect, a legal challenge.
So basically, hope is lovely, but not essential. Action, however, certainly is.
* read in the June 1-8, 2020 issue of TIME