Still, at the end of every hard day
People find some reason to believe

Reason to Believe, Bruce Springsteen, 1982

Hope is often misunderstood. People tend to think that it is simply passive wishful thinking: I hope something will happen but I’m not going to do anything about it. This is indeed the opposite of real hope, which requires action and engagement.

The Book of Hope, by Jane Goodall, 2021

Ok, admit it, you don’t see these two paired very often, but read on.

Walking the dogs the other day with a neighbor, I responded to her question about the climate crisis with an offhanded “we are in trouble” (not exactly what I said, but paraphrased for our family audience). The follow up question was, “then how do you do what you do?” My answer was a combination of what choice do we have, and I am not ready to quit.

Reflecting on that conversation and the year just about to end, it is clear that we face enormous challenges. Globally, there is a relentless flow of stories that drive home how quickly the world’s climate is changing. Nationally, we seem politically broken in two, not even able to agree on a common set of facts or view of reality upon which to base our policy debates. Locally, as evidenced by APCC’s recently updated State of the Waters: Cape Cod, we continue to see declines in water quality due primarily to nutrient loading from inadequately treated wastewater. These are all big problems that reflect long term ills and challenges whose effects we are finally beginning to grasp.

So yes, that is all weighty and can be depressing. And no, I don’t have a great deal of optimism at the moment that we are on track to solve our global and national problems, but locally I do have optimism that things are changing for the better. We are seeing towns take on their water quality problems, we are seeing additional funding, first from the Commonwealth in the form of the Cape and Islands Water Protection Fund and now from the federal government thanks to the Biden infrastructure law, and we have unprecedented awareness and commitment from the public to take this issue on. It is at the local level where I know I can make a difference, where APCC knows it can make a difference and it is where you can make a difference, too, if you choose to.

To loop back to where this all started, it really doesn’t matter if your motivation is rooted in the faith Springsteen speaks of or in the form of hope Goodall describes or in just a desire not to let the bad guys win; make it your business to do something about it all in 2022. If you are still reading it means you, like us at APCC, are not ready to give up or give in.

Happy New Year and best wishes to the extended APCC family
for a happy, healthy and productive year ahead.