Positively optimistic for 2020

It has been another year of uncertainty and anxiety for many of us; the UK seems to be having a collective nervous breakdown; France, having voted for Macron and hence change, is now digging its collective heels into the ground to resist anything changing at all and, while the dire warnings of global warming is finally filtering through to many people at an individual level, countries and governments seem to be putting their heads in the sand for political reasons.

There has been almost a sense of hopelessness this year that world events are out of control with nothing that we can do individually (I think this is why that infamous ‘take back control’ slogan in the Brexit campaign was so successful and appealed to so many; the idea that it is possible to be in control). While control per se may not be possible, we do have the power to make positive changes, as the likes of Greta Thunberg has proved; change can and must come from the bottom up rather than from the top down.

In terms of politics and the environment, we need to tackle things, as the French would say, petit à petit. Brexit looks as if it is now unstoppable and I, along with most people I know, am heartbroken but we need to now accept and trouver le positif, to steal another French expression. We also need to start listening and understanding the viewpoints of others and step back from the argument and conflict which seems to have become the norm. For example, the Brexit campaign has, for many of us, increased our loyalty to Europe and to multi-cultural societies. In terms of the environment, our little corner of France is already way ahead in its commitment to living lightly on the planet; buying locally produced goods and services, using hydroelectric and solar power and turning away from consumerism and commercialism. All over France, I see a general change in attitude (still small but growing fast) to a move away from plastic, trying to waste less, to fly less and use public transport and car sharing wherever possible (the car sharing firm BlaBlaCar was the first billion Euro internet start-up in France.)

So I am going to end this year and start the next decade feeling optimistic and positive for the future; I may not be happy about Brexit but democracy at work is still preferable to the alternative and now is the time to understand why people voted against Europe and how to ensure that things get better not worse. And for the environment, I am putting my faith in the growing grass roots movement, the fact that the message is getting through and, most importantly, that the next generation is just so far ahead of us in understanding that we have to make huge changes in our lifestyles right now in order not to self-destruct. We need to support and encourage them and trust that they will put back on track a world which has already partly derailed and, in the meantime, we all need to make every effort we can on a daily basis; this is so important, these small, cumulative actions and for this we all need to feel optimistic that we can create positive change long-term.

So, to end on an optimistic note, there are plenty of places in the world that have got the balance right and are achieving great things at a community leveI; I just wish we heard more of all the positive. I must admit that I am very glad to be living in very old-fashioned (used to be seen as backward but I think the opposite is in fact true), rural France right now; that’s not to say that everything is perfect here but it is clear that this type of local economy is the future as well as the past. I see more and more people looking to move to this part of the world, to change their lifestyles, to pollute less and give back more and to find more meaning for themselves and their families. So for 2020, I am working at putting together a team of experts in every field to help advise people on how they can successfully make that move and how to live here afterwards with those goals in mind.

On that note, I wish you all a very bonnes fêtes and I look forward to helping you with your search in 2020.

Comments are closed.