2021 Programme

We had a jam-packed programme at #EarthOptimism 2021. There was 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 was 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. All of this content was first shown at the Cambridge Festival but you can catch all of the talks and activities on demand.

There are four main areas of content at #EarthOptimism 2021 which you can find more out about below:

  1. Stories of Hope – inspiring talks by leading conservationists, popular naturalists, and passionate celebrities
  2. Solutions Fair – ideas and activities for making a difference in our everyday lives
  3. Film Festival – documentaries and films showcasing conservation successes
  4. Global Earth Optimism – highlights from other Earth Optimism events around the world

There is hope. There is Earth Optimism.

Stories of Hope

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
  • Why should we be optimistic about nature's future? A Q&A with Chris Packham, chaired by Rosie Trevelyan. The recording of this Q&A is available on demand

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
  • How can we choose sustainability? A Q&A with Emma Garnett, Heather Koldewey, and Siobhan Anderson and Hugo Richardson (from the Tyre Collective), chaired by Seth Daood. The recording of this Q&A is available on demand

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
  • How can we innovate for conservation? A live Q&A with Gautam Shah (Rafael Mares colleague) and Mark Spalding, chaired by Veronica Pickering. The recording of this Q&A is available on demand

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
  • How can we save species? A Q&A with Jon Paul Rodríguez, Dan Danahar (from the Dorothy Stringer School) and Mariana Martinez del Rio, chaired by Mike Maunder. The recording of this Q&A is available on demand

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
  • How can we make space for nature? A Q&A with Georgie Bray and Georgina Mayhew (from ELP), chaired by Tony Juniper. The recording of this Q&A is available on demand

Hope for our Planet

  • Welcome to Hope for our planet - Liz Bonnin
  • In conversation with Sir David Attenborough. Liz Bonnin discusses with Sir David Attenborough his hopes for our planet before asking him some of your questions.

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. There are 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.

Find out more

Film Festival


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.
Please note, this is not available on demand.

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.

Our Gorongosa

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

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.

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. This was aired live and was followed by a short presentation from Rohan Cleave, then a live Q&A with Rohan and Asher Flatt.
Please note, you can watch on demand Rohan's presentation and the Q&A, however, to watch back Stuck on a Rock, you will need to rent it from Amazon Prime.

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.

Find out more