The Ecology of Hope

“Morality is integral to the ecology of hope because it locates social change at a level at which we can make a difference through the acts we do, the principles by which we live, and the relationships we create. It sees us as something other than replaceable parts of an economic system; it grants us a form of independence from the whims and passing interests of others. Within a moral community, marriage gives permanence to love. Loyalty gives strength to parenthood. Education becomes a conversation between the generations. Kinship and covenant link us to our fellow human beings so that they know they can rely on us and we know we can rely on them. The knowledge that we are strangers teaches us to reach beyond the boundary of ‘us’ and extend friendship and reciprocity to ‘them.’ The knowledge, too, that the earth is not ours, that we are temporary residents, heirs of those who came before us and guardians for those who will come after us in turn, steers us away from the destructive impulse – whether to war or premature genetic intervention or excessive exploitation – which may sometimes come to those who have no stake in a future beyond their lifetime.”

The Dignity of Difference