• David Rutter

The Hope Revolution


The world can seem like a pretty dark place right now. Turn on the news and you’re assaulted with tragedy and horror. Log onto Facebook or Twitter and you will likely be bombarded by outrage upon outrage. From out of control wildfires in the Amazon and Australia to weekly climate change related disasters to the dark shadow of fascism growing in every corner of the globe, a compassionate, empathic person can be forgiven for wanting to give up.

Compassionate burnout is a real and dangerous thing.

I’m here to tell you, however, that you cannot afford to give up. Now more than ever, the planet needs the light that burns so strongly in your hearts. Never forget that the cruel villains of this world, those who harm animals and other people for their own pleasure, who push the idea that climate change is a hoax, want us to be hopeless. That is how they win.

We are not going to let them win.

As a recovering addict, I’ve spent a lot of time in 12-step recovery meetings. One very valuable lesson I’ve learned there is that when you are feeling low and ready to give up, the best thing you can do for yourself is to do something for someone (or something) else. Try it. It works every time. The sheer act of helping another, of working for a cause, takes you out of yourself and is unbelievably effective in chasing the dark clouds away. You may not be saving the planet but there is no denying that you are making the world a much better place for the person (or animal) that you are helping.

That is why we here at Arte for Elephants work to rescue one elephant at a time. This is why we use part of the money from each retreat we host to help sponsor local tribal children to get the education they might not be able to achieve without our assistance. We are able to watch our hard work translate into real, measurable benefit for the individuals we are helping. There is still a lot of darkness in the world, but it is considerably lighter for the elephants we are helping get to sanctuary, for the children we are helping get an education.

I know for a fact that we have made the world a less hopeless place for an increasing number of individuals we’re fortunate enough to share the planet with. How, then, can we be hopeless in the face of the hope we’ve helped create?

I mentioned earlier that the forces of darkness would like nothing better than our hopelessness. Hope is the weapon with which we fight back and turn the karmic wheel spinning in the opposite direction. In a time of darkness, there is no idea more revolutionary than hope.

Will you join me, my friends, in the Hope Revolution?

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