Global Earth Optimism
#EarthOptimism Nairobi had a lineup of exciting activities and events including a Film Festival, interactive sessions on youth in restoration, and the #EarthOptimismVoices series. View the highlights on demand.
#EarthOptimism Brazil (#OtimismoPlanetario) featured live talks and debates on how optimism can inspire us to promote changes, and showcased success stories in conservation and promotion of human well-being. View the highlights on demand.
Smithsonian's #EarthOptimism hosted more than a dozen virtual "Deep Dive" sessions led by Smithsonian scientists, curators and partners on a variety of topics from climate change and connectivity to leadership and sustainable art. Explore their website.
The Society for Conservation Biology Oceania partnered with Taronga Conservation Society to host an Earth Optimism “Soapbox Science” hour at Taronga Zoo in Sydney. This featured success stories from leading conservationists in the Sydney area. View these now.
About the Global Alliance
Conservation evolved as a crisis discipline, born of environmental disasters of the past and driven by the possibility of future catastrophes. In some ways this remains the case, and there are certainly more than enough examples of bad environmental news to fill scientific journals and media stories.
However, there are growing signs of a new approach, one focused less on doom and gloom and more on solutions and success. This evolving change is itself the product of two forces: first, the recognition that fear without hope does not motivate people and indeed can produce disengagement, and second, that conservation already has many achievements to celebrate, which are not fully appreciated.
The result has been the emergence of both the need for, and examples of, a more positive framing of conservation and sustainability. Notable among these is a growth of “Optimism” efforts: over 60 Earth Optimism Summit gatherings of like-minded people and related activities around the world since 2017, mixed with social media campaigns including #OceanOptimism, #EarthOptimism, #ConservationOptimism and #ClimateOptimist.
It is now time to bring together these disparate sources of positive energy and unite them to build the Earth Optimism Alliance – a global movement aimed at fundamentally changing how we frame, discuss and deliver conservation, on the ground, in workplaces, and in our everyday lives.
Preliminary discussions have stressed the need for the alliance to foster the ability of participants to achieve their own goals related to environment and human well-being, but shared outcomes will be to:
- Activate – Move one billion people from overwhelmed to engaged.
- Inspire – Change the tone of the conservation conversation from problematic pessimism to optimism in all activities.
- Engage – Empower the next generation to replicate and scale up the successes we now have.
- Educate – Deliver public celebrations of success, including major Earth Optimism Summit events in 2020 and smaller Earth Optimism events leading up to 2020 and beyond.
- Amplify – Create a repository of credible environmental success stories from around the world, across diverse audiences, including conservation professionals, journalists, educators, other opinion formers, businesses, students, and make them available to the general public for digital sharing.
- Collaborate – Work together, across physical, academic and business borders, to promote optimism around the world leading up to Earth Day 2020 and beyond to realize as much success as possible towards global conservation goals. We need to eliminate silos that prohibit progress and share knowledge and best practices to achieve optimistic objectives.
Together we CAN do this!
Nancy Knowlton, Ruth Stolk, Andrea Santy, Smithsonian Conservation Commons, Washington, DC, USA.
Andrew Balmford, Rosie Trevelyan, Mike Rands, Cambridge Conservation Initiative, Cambridge, UK.
Olivia Adhiambo and Anthony Kuria, Tropical Biology Association, Nairobi, Kenya.
Fernanda Gomes, Agnieska Latawiec and IIS team, Instituto Internacional Para Sustentabilidade, Rio, Brazil.
Chen Feng, Shan Shui Conservation Center, Beijing, China.
Vanessa Adams, Justine O’Brien, and Belinda Fairbrother, Society for Conservation Biology Oceania and Taronga Conservation Society, Sydney, Australia