[As I’ve done for the last few years, I wanted to start the New Year by looking back on some prior years that we can commemorate as anniversaries. Leading up to this weekend post with some 2023 predictions!]
While I know full well just how fraught things—if not indeed everything—are right now, I refuse to give in to doomblogging (a close cousin of doomscrolling, natch). So here are three things I’m looking forward to in the New Year:
1) Vegetarianism: I wrote in last year’s Thanksgiving series about the vital lessons I’ve learned from cooking Purple Carrot meals over the last few years, and none of those lessons has been more striking than the significant recent (and still evolving) improvements in meat substitutes and alternatives. Indeed, at a family Thanksgiving dinner my sons and I had a truly delicious faux-turkey loaf that was as tasty as any turkey I’ve ever eaten, and I’d say the same about the Impossible Burgers I’ve tried in recent years. As I wrote in that prior post, I would never proselytize folks about anything food-related; my own personal journey shows how individual and intimate these kinds of choices always are, and we’ve all got to figure out what works for us. But I’m so excited that there continue to be more and better options for enjoying (yes, truly enjoying) a vegetarian diet, and hope that can give more and more folks the chance to take at least a version of that step this year.
2) Climate Activism: As I’ll talk about in next week’s series, this month marks five years of writing my Saturday Evening Post Considering History column and one of my favorite columns over that time has been this one on the need for critical optimism as we confront the climate crisis. I wrote that in August 2021, and it’s fair to say that the crisis has only deepened over the 18 months since. The “critical” part of critical optimism requires that we recognize that reality as honestly and fully as we can, but I continue to believe that it’s as practically necessary as it is philosophically healthy not to give in to a feeling of hopelessness about where we are or where we’re headed. And I’ve got plenty of folks I can be inspired by in my own continued arc, from the phenomenal new Boston Mayor Michelle Wu to (as I highlighted in that post) the young man who campaigned for her and is moving further into his own work on sustainability and a green future.
3) Public Scholarship: As I draft this post in early December, the future and fate of Twitter, my favorite online community for finding and sharing public scholarship, remains frustratingly up in the air. I hope I’ll continue to have the chance to share such #ScholarSunday threads there, but if not I’ve created a substack for that purpose. And no matter where it happens and where we’re able to find and share it, I remain, as I wrote in last year’s predictions post, so honored to be part of this amazing, growing, vital community of online public scholarly writers and voices.
That Saturday Evening Post series starts Monday,
PS. What do you think?