Given the tumultuous political events of the past few months it’s perhaps understandable if this Friday 13th we feel more than little anxious about the world around us. But it’s not all doom and gloom: 2017 marks the launch of a new, global movement celebrating what is working in conservation and why. #EarthOptimism brings together people from around the world; people united in their desire to celebrate our fantastic planet and motived to become more involved in the efforts to protect it.
Earth Day 2017 (22nd April) will be a focal point for EarthOptimism. Earth Day in Cambridge will see the Cambridge Conservation Initiative host an #EarthOptimism event for the general public at the David Attenborough Building. During the one-day event Jane Goodall, primatologist, conservationist and UN Ambassador for peace, will start the inspiring talks with a message of hope, and renowned Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker will close by examining how society can change for the better. An impressive line-up of leading conservationists, popular naturalists and celebrity figures will present stories of success throughout the day. Running parallel to the talks will be an activity-packed ‘Solutions Fair’, providing practical information about the choices we can make that will have a positive effect on our planet. #EarthOptimism provides the opportunity not just to learn about and share stories of success, but also to step up and join those who are making 2017 a positive year for our planet. Similar events will be taking place in a number of places around the world, including Washington, London and Panama.
“The most precious thing we have in this world is the natural world,” said Sir David Attenborough, after whom the venue for EarthOptimism Cambridge is named. “As we enter 2017, it gives me great hope to know that the global movement, #Earth Optimism, will be sharing conservation successes and the actions we can all take to protect our planet.”
At #EarthOptimism Cambridge you’ll be able to find out what is happening in the countryside and at pioneering British schools, take a trip to the Essex oyster beds, and listen to the call of pied hornbill while drinking tea that is helping to protect it. Hear about how people are bringing critically endangered species back from the brink, restoring forests, fenlands and coral reefs, and removing waste from the oceans. And find out what actions we can all take in our everyday lives to make a real and lasting difference. As David Gibbons, Head of Conservation Science at the RSPB and Current Chair of CCI Council says, “The story of nature conservation is often one of loss. But there are many successes, too, and in 2017 I will play my part by celebrating these whenever I can, giving hope that loss is far from inevitable.”
The deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon have slowed to a third of that in 2004 – let’s slow it down more this year by choosing what we buy and eat. Carbon emissions have not risen for a third consecutive year – let’s make 2017 the year they go down. Numbers of some of our rarest creatures, from blue whales to bitterns, are on the rise – let’s support projects that save more! The combined size of the marine protected areas created in 2016 is almost 15 times the size of the U.K. – let’s keep the momentum going.