Signs of Hope from 2019

by New Dream   |   December 18, 2019

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As we looked back on this year, 2019 seemed to offer it all: moments of deep concern, and persistent challenges to our safety and well-being, alongside meaningful signs of hope that are taking us into 2020.

10. Youth movements demand climate action. 

This year, we saw global youth activism on the rise, with children and young people all over the world engaging as powerful social, political, and economic actors for change. The Sunrise Movement, Extinction Rebellion, Earth Guardians, Earth Uprising, and Fridays for Future (started by Greta Thunberg) are just some of the amazing youth mobilizations that have taken action in 2019. (And it’s not just our young people: elders like Jane Fonda are getting arrested for our planet, every week.)

9. Children are safer online. 

Thanks to New Dream partner Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, the Federal Trade Commission reached a landmark settlement with YouTube and Google that will ban behavioral advertising and limit data collection on child-directed channels—hopefully just the beginning of holding major companies accountable for the ways they target our kids. 

8. Sharing more stories, from more perspectives. 

This year, our Question Consumption Stories Project showcased people from all walks of life sharing their real lived experience, and challenging themselves to focus on "more of what matters.” And we’re not alone! There is a global movement of story sharing happening, led by young change makers all over the world. These stories show just how much connects us beyond perceived differences and how much we each can contribute to our collective well-being. 

7. Social justice is showing up in the classroom. 

More teachers and educators are finding new and creative ways to help their students develop the critical thinking, collaboration, and self-reflection skills necessary to foster a better and more inclusive society. From re-framing how we learn our history, to understanding the systems of power and privilege we all experience, to exposing inequities in the classroom, to discussing the most pressing issues of our time, education is consciously evolving!

6. Divestment from overconsumption is gaining momentum. 

With the rise in global support for the environmental movement and increasing awareness of consumption footprints, governments, universities, big retailers and other brands are recognizing the impact of consumerism on societal well-being, and are being challenged and pushed to change their behavior.

5. Support from you. 

Because of you, our dedicated community of New Dreamers, we have been able to continue the work of building connection, conversations, and learning around consumption in 2019. The year ahead holds so much more, and your gift supports intergenerational dialogue, more storytelling, online and offline workshops, and a podcast, so we can collectively find deeper connection, more meaning, and real well-being in our lives and communities as we take action to address and avert crisis. We are so grateful for your contribution, and your ongoing support for what we do. 

"Your gift supports intergenerational dialogue, more storytelling, online and offline workshops, and a podcast, so we can collectively find deeper connection, more meaning, and real well-being in our lives and communities."

4. Used stuff = the best gifts. 

Once a taboo, buying and gifting secondhand items is now increasingly seen as a savvy way for shoppers to save money, discover harder-to-find items, and reduce their carbon footprint. In the age of fast and disposable fashion and mass overconsumption, the market for pre-owned and used goods is now a space for people to actively and thoughtfully reduce the environmental impact of their consumption. 

3. Consumers demand action on plastics. 

It’s all around us, all the time, and even inside us—plastic. We are getting real about the costs and impacts of the plastics industry, and what “convenience” and “disposability” actually look like: environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, under-nourished and toxified populations, and unhappy, disconnected people. Fortunately, there are so many small and large efforts underway to protect biodiversity and human health, while promoting a deep understanding of the inextricable connection between the health of humans and all other species. From normalizing a “straw-free” world for those who can choose that; to personal reduction of plastics use; and country-level policy shifts underway in different parts of the world, people everywhere are demanding an end to plastic pollution.

2. Transitions in power underway everywhere. 

From political transitions, including a U.S. Congress that's the most representative in history and Finland electing the first all-female coalition government; to energy transitions and increased clean energy production; to economic transitions, with leaders like New Zealand’s President Ardern redirecting the national budget to center well-being; to workers asserting their power, walking out to demand livable working conditions and fair wages, and rejecting corporate control—2019 offered so many examples of new forms of leadership at a time when we are seeking new ways of managing shared challenges.

1. The solution: connection bridges divides. 

The solution to the many deep-seated challenges that lie ahead in the next decade is connection. It’s clear that we will not make progress until we fully resist the urge to “other” people who think and live differently from us, and that we envision a livable and thriving future for all humanity, not just some. Our democracy depends on it, our planet depends on it, our resilience depends on it, and New Dream remains committed to this collective and deeply connected well-being. 

As we head toward 2020, what gives you hope? Email us with your thoughts, at