Dave, Derrick Jensen has an all-or-nothing view of hope I don’t buy and has made it the premise of his article. At least as I read it, he says hope means you have no control. If I have hope, it does imply some lack of control, but does not mean total lack of control. Plenty of situations in life and on earth I can think of allow for partial, not complete, control.

There is almost a kind of hubris in the statement, “I do not hope coho salmon survive. I will do whatever it takes to make sure the dominant culture doesn’t drive them extinct.” No one can know that their efforts will be successful: life on this planet is far too vast, complicated, mysterious, and chaotic a system to ever be completely sure of anything. I work on behalf of the environment without being sure our work will do enough, but I retain hope that it will make a difference and determination to do the work. Another potentially hubristic and certainly oversimplifying statement: “You don’t simply hope your beloved survives and thrives. You do what it takes.” If my beloved has a deadly form of illness, I’ll do what it takes — I’ll make sure he gets whatever treatment or therapy is possible — but his survival is not all in my control. I will still be hoping for his survival, and that is not an “excuse for inaction.”

In my view, Jensen’s oversimplification makes him guilty of his own charge, of “forget[ting] that it is possible to feel many things at once.” It’s a reductionist argument.