The future can seem scary and uncertain, but these answers highlighted some of the great progress already made, how resilient and prepared to make positive change our up-and-coming generations are and how much there still is to feel hopeful about.
“My children are growing up in an era where racism, sexism and intolerance is being called out in real time.” — Bonnie Young, 36, Orland, Calif.
“The progress each generation is making to care about mental health. It’s becoming more normalized to talk about it and this improvement can lead to progress in many other issues like addiction and crime.” — Bernabe Cesena, 29, San Diego
The kids I know are pretty damn all right
— Emily Banks, 23, Ridgeland, Miss.
“I’m hopeful when I see so many people unionizing against gigantic corporations like Amazon and Starbucks. Maybe there will be corporate accountability and good wages and affordable rents in the future.” — Elsa O’Callaghan, 33, Tucson
“This is the era of accountability. With the Internet, and especially TikTok, exposing different ways of life worldwide we are starting to see that we are not that different. Separation and ostracization is becoming less prevalent and it’s leaving room for welcoming and acceptance. It makes me excited that we’re not just sticking to the status quo. We are holding people accountable for their viewpoints and attitudes.” — Daynah Mansour, 31, Columbus, Ohio
“A Black woman was nominated to the Supreme Court, a Black and Indian woman is our vice president, public transportation is becoming more available and the kids I know are pretty damn all right.” — Emily Banks, 23, Ridgeland, Miss.
“I work for a nonprofit and my girlfriend does as well. I know there are people who want to make sure the next generation receives support and services during this difficult time. The people who every day go out and make a difference by supporting youth who have experienced trauma or may not have access to services anywhere outside of school. Those people give me hope.
“Another thing that does is witnessing those younger than me stand up and take a stand. Seeing 18, 19, 20-year-olds take a stand up to combat climate change, transphobia, homophobia and corruption. I don’t remember seeing it on this scale when I was that age. I can’t wait for them to run for office soon, because they will get this country back on track more than my parents and grandparents could.” — Aaron Stern, 28, New York
It gives me hope that the solutions to the current climate crisis are sitting in classrooms all across the country.
— Alan Cook, 40, Edgewater, Md.
“I teach 8th grade science and a lot of what we cover during the year involves climate change and environmental challenges. Kids want a better future. They want these issues to be addressed. It gives me hope that the solutions to the current climate crisis are sitting in classrooms all across the country. What we need to do now is encourage that enthusiasm and allow today’s students a place to voice their thoughts; let them see that they can change the world.” — Alan Cook, 40, Edgewater, Md.
“If I think about the vast majority of climate problems, I despair pretty quickly, so I try not to think about that. Instead I think about the little personal things I can do. Like gardening — using native plants, growing my own food. In the future when I have property for it, I want to have a composting system and honey bees. Generally, I try to make the largest impact in the smallest areas, because that’s the only place I can manage it.” — Anna Ehlers, 21, Pittsburgh
“Growing my own vegetables gives me hope that I can be more independent and feel a bit more stable. I live in the country and love spending time outdoors, watching birds, working in the garden and planting trees.” — Mae Lewis, 30, New Zealand
I’m sometimes a little awed by the tenacity of my friends. Rather than being jaded and resigning ourselves to a catastrophic future, we are fighting for change.
— Hannah Johnson, 21, Tucson, Ariz.
“I am about to graduate college and I’m entering a world that is kind of scary. For my thesis, I’m doing tropical rainforest research, and studying how inevitable drought and high temperatures may affect different tree species. It all gets pretty overwhelming sometimes, but my classes also give me hope.
I am surrounded all day, every day by people who want to help. My peers want to save the world, and they are determined to do so. I’m part of an organization on campus that’s advocating for the university’s endowment to be divested from fossil fuels. We meet once a week to do research, plan and organize. Fifteen undergraduates versus a $64 million investment in fossil fuels. When I sit in our meetings, I’m sometimes a little awed by the tenacity of my friends. Rather than being jaded and resigning ourselves to a catastrophic future, we are fighting for change. So, even when I learn about a new climate change catastrophe that is so enormous I can hardly comprehend it, I still have hope. I believe my classmates will save the world — and I’m excited to be a part of that.” — Hannah Johnson, 21, Tucson
“I look to the past to feel hope about the future. I’m immensely inspired when I think of the strength of my ancestors. They endured so many challenges and overcame so much adversity — in times equally as tough as, if not tougher than, present day. When I am struggling, I feel their power and resilience deep down in my bones. I draw on their collective energy to motivate me to be the best person I can be on a daily basis. Their roots keep me grounded and humble. The many unknowns of the future can seem daunting, but knowing that my family before me has walked this path gives me faith in what lies ahead.” — Krystal Ramirez, 33, Arlington, Va.
There’ll be endless times when who, what and where I fall in love with will change the way I see the world.
— Natalie Goel, 16, Alexandria, Va.
“I think I have a lot of hope in general and I do not need to search for it. But what gives me power and what makes me feel optimistic is my family — loved ones. Knowing we still have so many beautiful years together in front of us. So many memories to make. So many dinners to cook together. So many stories to share. Thinking of this makes me feel strong. And nobody can take this from me.” — Katerina Vodvarkova, 25, Prague
“Having true friends and finding my type of people who I truly connect with in my future. Knowing that I will be meeting different people and seeing new faces is always an experience to learn from, and always gives me a sense of reassurance. When thinking about my future, thinking of the people I will meet along the way always gives me hope.” — Domenik Maxton Suchecki, 15, Wilmington, N.C.
“There are countless places I haven’t been to yet. Innumerable people that I haven’t met. There are favorite songs I haven’t heard, foods I haven’t tasted and books I haven’t read. There’ll be endless times when who, what and where I fall in love with will change the way I see the world. There’s a lot of darkness in the world, but there’s a lot of light, too.” — Natalie Goel, 16, Alexandria, Va.
What gives you hope about the future? Share your response in the comments below.