Choose hope. Real hope. Not blind optimism, avoidance or denial, but the hope that comes from courageous assessment of reality, discernment and action.

Yes, we can choose hope. Climate scientist Catherine Hayhow points this out in her seminal 2021 climate action book “Saving Us: A Climate Scientist's Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World.”

“The bottom line is this,” Hayhoe writes. “To care about climate change, you only need to be one thing, and that’s a person who lives on planet Earth who wants a better future. Chances are, you already are that person — and so is everyone else you know.”

In “Active Hope: How to face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy,” Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone write: “Active Hope is a practice. Like Tai Chi or gardening, it is something we do rather than have…. First, we take in a clear view of reality; second, we identify what we hope for; and third, we take steps to move ourselves or our situation in that direction…. Rather than weighing our chances and proceeding only when we feel hopeful, we focus on our intention and let it be our guide.”

This sounds like St. Paul in Philippians 4:4-9 — “Rejoice in the Lord always…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things…. Keep on doing what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me then the God of peace will be with you.

And again in Romans 5:3-6 — “…but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.”

So, it’s easy to get bummed out, but we are enjoined to think, cleared-eyed about things that are true and then decide to act, “keep on doing,” while rejoicing. Welcome God’s presence, protection and leading.

It’s easy to become fearful. Atmospheric carbon dioxide has been increasing. World temperatures are going up. It’s as if we are installing triple glass pane layer atop our atmosphere, which keeps the heat inside. And we stubbornly keep adding more by burning fossil fuel, destroying the forests and oceans and using destructive farming techniques.

But we can choose hope and, if we do, the Holy Spirit empowers us and, as we work together, gives us courage, joy and hope.

In “Laudato Si’,” his 2015 encyclical letter on the planet and human thriving, Pope Francis writes: “We come together to take charge of this home which has been entrusted to us, knowing that all the good that exists here will be taken up into the heavenly feast. Let us sing as we go. May our concern for this planet never take away the joy of our hope.”

See the truth, act as the Holy Spirit leads, choose hope and enjoy the beauty here and now. Look with wonder upon the earth. Rejoice!

Hunter, an attorney and a member of The Madeleine Parish in Portland, is devising a plan in which energy companies pay to resolve climate change and mitigate the effects that already have begun.