Green is the colour of hope – of growth and renewal. It’s the colour of nature, of ferns and fecundity, in all its hues from emerald to chartreuse. My favourite colour has always been green, as far back as I can remember as a child, from when I chose green over pink for my first puffed sleeve party dress.
Michael Gorra’s book Green, The History of a Colour, makes for fascinating reading. Although green has always been a symbol of life and of hope, Gorra points out that it is also associated with poison and decay. He highlights green’s history as an unstable colour, difficult to produce, that evoked ambivalent feelings. Only since the Romantic era has green been so strongly imbued with positive associations such as hope, he says, that have led to its current status as being ‘entrusted with the impossible mission of saving the planet’.
Hope is a necessary catalyst for change to occur. Hope is about possibility. Being able to imagine the possibility of change opens the door for action. In the year ahead, global dilemmas confront us: climate catastrophes, increasing inequality, continuing wars, to name but a few. The long term outlook for humanity is dire if we do not take steps towards change. Amongst the doom, we need to find images of hope, ideas for living together more sustainable and harmoniously, if we are to survive. There are already signs of large groups of ordinary people coming together across the world to demand change that is positive for humanity, rather than focused on short term economic factors or political games.
The photo above is of lichen covering a rocky knoll in the rainforest of Binna Burra, near a stand of ancient Antarctic Beeches. The most northern stand of such trees in Australia, they have grown from a remnant of an earlier age, when Australia was part of Gondwanaland. I was there recently. Being in that ancient silent space reminded me of hope in the same way that Arunditi Roy’s writing does. In a speech she gave at a conference on Life After Capitalism in Brazil, she says: ‘Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing.’ And I could.