What's on

We have a jam-packed programme at #EarthOptimism 2021. Join us for a series of talks from some of the world’s greatest thinkers, celebrating the victories being won and alliances being formed in protecting the future of our planet. Our programme is filled with a variety of content, from online films to live Q&As and from presentations to activities we can all do to make positive changes in our lives.

There is hope. There is Earth Optimism.

Running throughout the Festival:

Solutions Fair

The Solutions Fair is a dynamic, interactive series of digital activities for all ages, providing information about the choices we can all make in our lives to take positive actions for the planet. Come along to find out what you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, increase biodiversity and live more sustainably. We have stalls from a wide range of people, from local eco-businesses to international conservation organisations. Together they cover everything from eating more sustainably and making our gardens wildlife friendly, to using our pensions to tackle the climate crisis, participating in citizen science, and re-connecting kids with the natural world.

Global Earth Optimism

Earth Optimism isn’t just happening in Cambridge – it’s a worldwide movement. There are fantastic things happening across the globe with people celebrating conservation success stories and sharing solutions. We’re highlighting some of the best stories being showcased by Earth Optimism activities around the world. For example Earth Optimism Nairobi is presenting inspirational stories of hope from the front line of conservation in Africa. These show how young people are taking action for nature and climate; successful approaches to conserving iconic species and habitats; and how communities are managing their natural resources for the long-term.

8pm Friday 26 March - 2040

Motivated by concerns about the planet his 4-year-old daughter would inherit, a filmmaker embarks on a global journey to meet innovators and changemakers that are working to create a hopeful future.
Registration required.

2pm Saturday 27 March - Threatened plants with a ‘Ray of Hope’

Join us to meet a selection of plants growing at Cambridge University Botanic Garden with inspirational back-stories.

8pm Saturday 27 March - Our Gorongosa

Find out about Gorongosa National Park and how it has managed to become a model for both wildlife conservation and community development.

2pm on Sunday 28 March - Conservation Success Stories at the Museum of Zoology

Explore the Museum of Zoology with conservation experts and discover the wildlife conservation success stories behind the animals on display.

8pm on Sunday 28 March - Stuck on a Rock

Stuck on a Rock tells the extraordinary tale of how one of Australia’s greatest conservation blunders was transformed into a fantastic victory, as well as the human story that is so inseparably tied to it. It will be followed by a short presentation from Rohan Cleave, followed by a live Q&A with Rohan and Asher Flatt.

Monday 29 March - Reasons for Optimism

  • Welcome to Reasons for optimism - Andrew Balmford and Rosie Trevelyan
  • The importance of the natural world - Chris Packham
  • Responding to the biodiversity and climate crisis - Junayd Islam
  • The Wicken Fen Vision - Sarah Smith
  • Why nature inspires optimism - Helen Macdonald
  • Saving the crane - George Muigai
  • 8pm: Why should we be optimistic about nature's future? A live Q&A with Chris Packham

Tuesday 30 March - Choosing Sustainability

  • Welcome to Choosing sustainability - Seth Daood
  • Reducing an organisation's footprint - Amy Munro-Faure, Nick White & Emma Garnett
  • Bringing peatlands back to life in Belarus - Anna Trofimtchouk
  • Ocean optimism in a sea of plastic - Heather Koldewey
  • Driving for change in plastic pollution - The Tyre Collective
  • Stubborn optimism - Tom Rivett-Carnac
  • 8pm: How can we choose sustainability? A live Q&A with some of the day's speakers

Wednesday 31 March - Innovating for Conservation

  • Welcome to Innovating for conservation - Veronica Pickering
  • Activating new wildlife enthusiasts via games - Rafael Mares
  • Forest to furniture: a sustainable journey in home improvement - Caroline Laurie
  • How the tuna saved the shark - Lisama Sabry
  • Big data, big ideas and the big blue ocean - Mark Spalding
  • Anegada rock iguanas - National Parks Trust of the Virgin Islands
  • 8pm: How can we innovate for conservation? A live Q&A with some of the day's speakers

Thursday 1 April - Saving Species

  • Welcome to Saving species - Mike Maunder
  • Lessons from the dodo: saving species and rebuilding ecosystems - Carl Jones
  • Reversing the Red - Jon Paul Rodríguez
  • Making waves for ocean conservation - David Gill
  • Butterflies as agents of change within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve - Dorothy Stringer School
  • How many species would have gone extinct without conservation action? - Stu Butchart
  • Women of the Land: conservation of golden eagle in Mexico - GEF Species at Risk Project - Mariana Martinez del Rio
  • 8pm: How can we save species? A live Q&A with some of the day's speakers

Friday 2 April - Solutions Fair

This Solutions Fair is a dynamic, interactive series of digital activities for all ages, providing information about the choices we can each make in our lives to take positive actions for the planet. Come along to find out what you can do to help reduce your carbon footprint, support biodiversity and live more sustainably. This is running throughout the Festival but we have the following live events happening on Friday 2 April:

  • 2pm - Pension power. How can our pensions be used to tackle the climate crisis?
  • 8pm - Bringing nature in - biophilic and living design. In conversation with an expert panel, sharing their experiences of integrating natural solutions with homes and workplaces and looking to the future of living design, followed by an audience Q&A.


Saturday 3 April - Making Space for Nature

  • Welcome to Making space for nature - Tony Juniper
  • Lessons from transforming UK landscapes for wildlife and people - Martin Harper
  • Recovering India's megafauna - Krithi Karanth
  • Farming for biodiversity - Georgie Bray
  • Conserving tropical rainforests - Steve Backshall
  • Restoring landscapes for life - Endangered Landscapes Programme
  • 2pm: How can we make space for nature? A live Q&A with some of the day's speakers

Sunday 4 April - Hope for our Planet

  • Welcome to Hope for our planet - Liz Bonnin
  • 2pm: In conversation with Sir David Attenborough. Liz Bonnin will be discussing with Sir David Attenborough his hopes for our planet before asking him some of your questions.