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2017 FAQ


What is Earth Optimism?
The global conservation movement has reached a turning point. We have documented the fast pace of habitat loss, the growing number of endangered and extinct species, and the increasing speed of global climate change. Yet while the seriousness of these threats cannot be denied, there are a growing number of examples of improvements in the health of species and ecosystems, along with benefits to human well-being, thanks to our conservation actions. Earth Optimism celebrates a change in focus from problem to solution, from a sense of loss to one of hope, in the dialogue about conservation and sustainability.

Why is this idea necessary?
Scientists have communicated their discoveries of ever increasing damage to the species and ecosystems of the planet to a concerned public. Yet this is the beginning, not the end, of a conversation. We need to share what’s working in conservation and why, so that successes can be scaled up and replicated. Only with the possibility of solutions can the global community be engaged to address the problems we face.

What is the Earth Optimism Summit?
The Global Earth Optimism Summit will be an unprecedented gathering of thought leaders, practitioners, pioneering scientists and researchers, major civic and industry participants, national and international media, and philanthropists who make up the conservation-minded citizens of our world. They will convene to discuss and share solutions – what are the best minds, boldest experiments, and most innovative community practices telling us about how to preserve biodiversity, protect natural resources, and address climate change?
Who is this summit for?
The summit is for everyone! Proceedings of the summit will be live streamed for the public, and community events will occur around DC.  In addition to the DC summit, sister events will take place around the world.
How can I get involved?
Your thoughts are welcome as we organize for the Global Earth Optimism Summit which will focus on the pursuit of models and success stories to inspire progress at the species, ecosystem, and global level, grounded in sound science and collective experience. Please consider joining us for this historic enterprise by contributing your ideas, joining us in DC, or hosting an Earth Optimism event where you live or work.
When will more specifics be made available?
More complete information about the Summit will be available in this space soon. In the meantime, we look forward to hearing your ideas about how we can best present information that focuses on solutions for conservation success. Contact us at EarthOptimism@si.edu.
What is the Conservation Commons?
The Smithsonian Conservation Commons unites scientists from the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, the National Museum of Natural History, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, as well as the Smithsonian’s rich cultural and public-facing assets and long-standing partnerships, to tackle complex conservation problems on a global scale. This collaboration builds upon Smithsonian capabilities in four strategic conservation areas where our science, cultural assets, and convening power can have the most impact:

  1. Biodiversity-Friendly Food;
  2. Movement of Life;
  3. Working Land and Seascapes;
  4. Earth Optimism Summit (addressing human attitudes towards conservation)

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