Why I Am Hopeful

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It’s easy to feel despair in these difficult times. But Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is having none of it.

I have been an animal advocate for more than 25 years, and I see enough cruelty every day to have a pretty bleak view of the world: And yet, I have hope.

No, I’m not a mythical creature. No, I’m not delusional, and yes, I’m paying attention. So much so that I’m quite aware, for instance, that in the U.S. every year, over 9 billion animals are brought into this world only to be killed for human consumption. Elephants are killed in their homes for their tusks. And wild animals face the consequences of global warming.

And yet, I have hope.

I have hope because I focus on what I can solve rather than what I can’t.


I have hope because there’s much to be hopeful about. History gives you great perspective if you just step back.

I have hope because outrage doesn’t change the world. Vision and vigilance do — along with the political, technological, economic, and moral forces that drive progress forward. I’m hopeful, because:

I live in a Democratic country, I can criticize elected officials, I can vote them out, and I can exercise my power and privilege to help those who have neither.

Scientific advances and technological breakthroughs, such as cellular agriculture, have the potential to save billions of animals from misery and death.

I live in an economic system that empowers visionaries to test their innovations in the marketplace and that gives me the choice to support companies and products that reflect my taste and ethics — and reject those that don’t.

My hope is not delusional; it’s rooted in facts, science, reason, and statistics.

My hope is not complacent; it’s provisional. It’s the difference between wanting things to change and taking action to facilitate that change.

My hope is rooted in joy. We don’t have to be angry all the time to demonstrate we care. We don’t have to be outraged to show that we’re conscious. We can be acutely aware, actively engaged, politically minded, and still have hope.

And so I'm hopeful, and I hope you are, too.

With a Perspective, this is Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.

Colleen Patrick-Goudreau is an author and animal advocate living in Oakland.