#EarthOptimism in an Age of Rage

Special Departmental Seminar Event
Nancy Knowlton, Ph.D., Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History
- | SAIL room, Levin 111, Levin Building
Dr. Nancy Knowlton


An unrelenting torrent of bad news about the environment has led many to believe we have done irreparable damage to the planet. Yet social scientists tell us that if you present problems without solutions, the end result is more likely to be despair or apathy rather than action.  Moreover, the past decades have witnessed a growing number of successes in saving species, protecting places, harvesting wisely, reducing pollution, and restoring habitats. These and other examples inspired me to co-launch the Ocean Optimism initiative and more recently the Earth Optimism Summits, whose goals are to recognize, learn from, replicate and celebrate our successes. Documenting solutions that have been put into practice successfully can also help defuse conflict, making it easier for scientists to connect information with advocacy.